The oldest and fiercest rivalry will kick off the NFL’s 100th season when the Green Bay Packers visit the Chicago Bears in an NFC Central tilt. Chicago made a surprise run at the division title last season and is the favorite to repeat. However, the Bears won’t be sneaking up on anyone this year and the Pack is ready for a return to the postseason after two straight years of inactivity. The health of Aaron Rodgers is key to Green Bay’s success, as is his relationship with new coach Matt LaFleur. The season opener is set for Thursday, September 5, 2019, from Soldier Field and will air on NBC at 8:20 p.m. ET.
NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu
Green Bay Packers +3
Chicago Bears -3
Green Bay at Chicago Odds Analysis
The Bears opened as a 3.5-point favorite and there’s been little movement on the line. The public likes the visitors, wagering the spread down to its current Chicago -3. It’s a different season, however, the Bears were a NFL-best 12-4 against the spread last season and will rely on their staunch defense to suppress Rodgers and Co. Money has been evenly wagered on the total with a slight increase to 46.5 from its opening of 46.
Green Bay Odds
A second straight playoff-less season sparked changes in Green Bay with the ouster of long-time coach Mike McCarthy the biggest casualty. The Packers turned to inexperienced LaFleur, who spent one season calling plays in Tennessee, as their guy. He does come from the Sean McVay coaching tree, which is a plus, but you can expect Rodgers to be a coach in the huddle. And although Rodgers started all 16 games last year, he never was completely right after sustaining an injury in the opener against the Bears. He did lead a miraculous comeback in that game, but the Packers struggled to a 6-10 SU and 6-9-1 ATS record.
Things should be much tougher for the Bears in 2019 after going 12-4 SU and ATS a season ago. They had one of the easier schedules based on their lack of success in the final year of the Jim Fox fiasco and took full advantage in Matt Nagy’s first season. We’ve seen it a number of times over the years where a club has a marvelous season only to fall into obscurity after that – the Jaguars are a recent example. However, Chicago’s defense should keep them in most games after holding opponents to an average of 11.6 points over the final five games of 2018 and cashing the under each time.
Led by Khalil Mack, the Bears showed their Monsters of the Midway defense last season boasting the NFL’s best scoring and rushing unit. A lot of that success was based on the team’s ability to create turnovers. The Bears led the league with 36 takeaways and 27 interceptions and had at least one takeaway in all but two games in 2018. The Bears intercepted Rodgers twice last season and forced three turnovers in the two games, which the team’s split. The architect of that group, Vic Fangio, left to take the Broncos head job leaving former Colts coach Chuck Pagano to handle the D coordinator chores. Pagano said he’s not going to change much, and why should he. The Bears have all the components in place to be a top unit again in 2019.
The teams split the series last year with the Bears going 2-0 ATS. Rodgers returned from what looked like a serious injury in the opener to lead a stirring comeback as the Pack pulled out a 24-23 home win as a 6.5-point favorite. The Bears returned the favor in Week 15 with a 24-17 win as a 5.5-point fave. Rodgers didn’t play in the preseason and it’s likely going to take him a few series to get in the flow, especially against a defense that’s geared to stop him. I’m not convinced the Bears’ offense is going to be much better in 2019 and the defense will have to be the team’s bread and butter and that has me leaning toward the under. And with plenty to prove in 2019, don’t bet against Rodgers.
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