Add a former Defensive Player of the Year award winner in his prime to your roster and watch your odds of winning the Super Bowl increase dramatically. That’s what happened to the Chicago Bears after swinging a blockbuster deal for Khalil Mack. The former Raider joins a defense that has the talent to be one of the best. But we still don’t know about Mitchell Trubisky and the offense since he didn’t play much during the preseason. The longest and nastiest rivalry in the NFL just got much more interesting and begins a new chapter in Week 1 when the Bears visit the Green Bay Packers.
Watch this Week 1 NFL regular season matchup live on Sunday, September 9, 2018, at 8:20 p.m. ET at Lambeau Field.
NFL Opening Odds at BookMaker.eu
Chicago Bears +7.5
Green Bay Packers -7.5
The addition of Mack didn’t sway the line, which stands at Green Bay -7.5. But it did push money to Chicago with 60 percent of the action favoring the visitors. If the spread hasn’t moved by now, it’s unlikely to change by kickoff. Nearly 74 percent of the betting public is wagering on the under for a total that currently stands at 48.
Aaron Jones – Emerging as an important piece in the Packers backfield, Jones is expected to be a major contributor in 2018. His contributions will have to wait until at least Week 3 as he was slapped with a 2-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. A fifth-round pick last year, Jones rushed for 448 yards and four touchdowns while averaging 5.5 yards per carry in 12 games. He’s probably the best pure rusher on the club and is expected to split time in the backfield with Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams.
Player to Watch
The Bears are expecting big things from Trubisky and the offense now that the shackles placed on them by John Fox have been removed. Matt Nagy had plenty of success last year as the offensive coordinator in Kansas City, and has a similar group to the one that averaged over 375 yards and 26 points per game. By contrast the Bears averaged nearly 100 fewer yards per game and were the fourth-worst scoring team with only 16.5 points per outing.
Trubisky is the unquestioned leader of the offense as he enters his second season. It’s not fair to analyze his stats from last season when Fox directed the most boring offense in the league. He played in two preseason games and had a nice showing in his second outing completing 9 of 14 for 90 yards and a touchdown. Trubisky has grasped the offense and he has the confidence of the team, which goes a long way in the huddle.
Matchup to Watch
Aaron Rodgers has dissected some of the best defensive backfields in the game, and the Bears are far from one of the best. It’s been nearly a year since Rodgers last played a regular season game at Lambeau Field, that coming last September when the Packers ambushed the Bears 35-14. Rodgers picked apart the Bears defense with an assortment of short passes, a strategy necessitated by an offensive line that was without its starting tackles.
Rodgers completed almost 70 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and a passer rating of 128.0. The yardage total was low, but it kept the Bears pass rush from doing any damage. Chicago’s defense will have a different look this time with first-round pick Roquan Smith and newly-acquired Mack almost certain to see some action. If that’s the case, we could expect a similar game plan in the passing attack.
Free ATS Pick
The Bears are building for the future, but unfortunately the future isn’t now. The addition of Mack is a huge move as the franchise looks to end a string of four straight losing seasons and last place finishes in the NFC North. The defense was a top-10 unit last season and should be better with Mack and Smith. However, we aren’t so sure about the offense. Nagy is a former QB and has a great relationship with Trubisky, but we haven’t seen the unit play that much.
That’s not the case on the other side. With Rodgers back after his collarbone issue and a loaded group of receivers to throw to, the Packers should have enough to win this game. I like the Bears, however, and I think they will surprise a lot of people down the road. But the first game jitters for a new coach and rebuilt roster will make it tough to get a win. I like the visitors and the points, but the total is too high.
NFL Betting Odds: Packers 26, Bears 20
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