We had no problem turning a profit from the first week of the NFL preseason, cashing in a couple of totals to start the NFL season off at 2-0. You’re only as good as your last win, or so they say, so I’m looking for another profitable week from the NFL preseason card. Remember, don’t go to crazy in the preseason laying down huge wagers and just make it a small or normal size play. There are edges to be found in the preseason, but it is always frustrating losing a big bet on a preseason bet. You’ll probably be left thinking “what the hell was I doing?”. Regardless, it is always nice to pad the bankroll a little bit to get ready for the real deal in a few weeks. Now let’s move onto what you’re all interested in.
Did you just hear that giant exhale coming from the Boston area? If you did, that was probably from Patriots’ fans breathing a giant sigh of relief. Tom Brady left their scrimmage with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers early as a result of getting his knee nicked up. At the time speculation was swirling for hours, but it seems all is well in Foxborough, as Brady only suffered a sprain. Odds were immediately taken off the board for future Patriots’ wagers as we were all left wondering if it was going to have an impact on the regular season. While the injury to receiver Malcom Floyd of the Chargers doesn’t have the same impact as an injury to Brady, it does certainly bother the Chargers organization. Let’s take a look inside the Chargers week 2 preseason matchup with the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.
Chargers vs. Bears Betting Odds:
San Diego Chargers +5.5(-110)
@ Chicago Bears -5.5 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Chargers vs. Bears Pick:
After firing head coach Lovie Smith and hiring former Montreal Alouettes head coach Marc Trestman, the Chicago Bears are looking to get over a hump that has been hindering them for the last several years. The Bears are sick of mediocre play, and are looking to send a message to the rest of the NFL that they are still an elite team in this league. Regardless of the head coaching decision, whether it is a successful season or not, the praise or blame will go all on quarterback Jay Cutler. Cutler is entering his fifth season with the Bears after spending three in Denver. Cutler has enjoyed success with the Bears considering what he has to work with. I’m mostly speaking here about the atrocious offensive line which he has had to work with under his tenure here. Coming primarily last season, Cutler spent most of his time with happy feet just waiting to get ploughed from an incoming defender.
The Bears will be adjusting to a new offense under Marc Trestman, which should come with some growing pains. It could pose some problems for the team as their offensive line issue doesn’t seem to be going away. They should be better than last season, but I have my doubts with this bunch. Cutler will have his favorite target Brandon Marshall back for his second with the Bears. Marshall didn’t really take games over last season, but he is the most attractive receiver the Bears have had in awhile. Cutler will also have talented running back Matt Forte in the backfield assuming the starting role. Much like the rest of the Bears offensive in 2012, it was a little bit of good and bad all rolled into one with Forte. The Bears should lean heavily on their starting offense Thursday night, as they attempt to work out kinks to get ready for the regular season. This is a new playbook in which the starting offense needs to get some work in. Following Cutler, Josh McCown will take over from there. McCown has plenty of experience as quarterback in the NFL, so he shouldn’t find any trouble against a second-string Chargers squad.
I think for the Bears to be successful this season, it’ll need to come from their defense, like it normally does when they are considered a great team. The Bears lose Brian Urlacher to retirement, but they should be the same opportunistic defense we are accustomed to seeing from them. The starting unit and second string started the preseason off on the right foot, forcing three turnovers including a 51-yard pick six from linebacker Jonathan Bostic. They’ll need some of that and more in the regular season to give Trestman a successful first year with the Bears.
The Chargers have a new starting head coach of their own in Mike McCoy. It was a long time coming, but Norv Turner finally got the axe after promise filled seasons that led to nothing but heartache for Chargers’ fans. Like Cutler, it is time for Philip Rivers to shine as he enters a pivotal point in his career. Rivers looked great last week, passing for 45 yards, completing 5-of-6 attempts. He will get a nice stingy test against a good Bears’ defense on the road. I expect Rivers to play most of the first quarter before giving way to former Seahawk Charlie Whitehurst. Rookie out of Southern Utah, Brad Sorenson, will finish things up for the Chargers Thursday night. Between all three quarterbacks, the Chargers only managed to muster up 10 points against the Seahawks last week. Sorenson being the most impressive, passing for 86-yards and a touchdown.
I usually don’t spend much time trying to read lines in preseason NFL games, but I’m going to make the exception here. The line opened around -4.5 at most shops, and is currently situated at -6. That is a fairly high line for a second week preseason game. I think the oddsmakers are on to something here, and I think we will see the Bears beat the Chargers comfortably enough to make this an easy cover. Cutler and the first team should see much more action than they did last week to get more experience with this new offense and the stout defense should do well in their first game at home. I’ll lay the 6.
PICK: Bears -5.5 (-110)