After a game that saw many football bettors push their wagers on opening night, hopefully some winners are in the cards for what is always an entertaining Week 1 of NFL action. First up, we’ll focus on a key divisional showdown, with a rivalry rooted deep in tradition. The depleted and banged-up Packers will travel to the Windy City to take on a Bears team that is admittedly facing a transitional year. Chicago ended last season with a sour taste in their mouths, and even though this is a team with bundles of talent on offense, anything outside of a 4th place finish in the NFC North would be somewhat of a surprise. Still, this is a Week 1 divisional match-up that will have Chicago and their fans all jacked up. It will not be easy for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, especially without his most prominent target in wideout Jordy Nelson. It should be an intriguing one from Soldier Field in Chicago, and as always your betting needs are covered at The Sports Geek. Read on below for a full game breakdown and the first official Sunday selection of the NFL regular season!
Packers vs. Bears Betting Odds:
Green Bay Packers -7 (-115)
@ Chicago Bears +7 (-105)
Over 49 (-110)
Under 49 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Packers vs. Bears Pick:
While many may look at the current plight of these two teams and immediately think a Packers romp, let’s recall the amount of Week 1 stunners we’ve seen in recent years. Week 1 has a tendency to go against the conventional betting norm, and can definitely surprise bettors. I am by no means suggesting the Bears are going to put it to the Packers in this one, but in a divisional showdown and with the Bears being in their home opener, let’s not discount the talent and the pride of this squad early in their season.
You can bet Jay Cutler has heard the criticism and is undoubtedly tiring of it. For all of the chatter surrounding his decline, Cutler is still a talented quarterback in this league and has a plethora of weapons that can still hurt any offense. We all recognize how elite and explosive Rodgers and his offense can be, but Green Bay’s fate in 2015 will ultimately be decided by the play of their defense. With key cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Davon House leaving in free agency, the secondary of Green Bay’s looks vulnerable and for Chicago, is an area that can be exposed on Sunday. One department that Chicago knew they needed to upgrade this off-season was their offensive line, and they did go out and do that. To what extent exactly remains to be seen, but the Bears should be able to give Cutler more time and space in 2015, and ultimately put him in more favourable situations.
Look for Chicago to have success moving the chains on opening day. The Packers were weak against the run last season and nothing should change against this year. Especially when you consider they’ll be facing veteran RB Matt Forte on Sunday. Add in the fact that Green Bay has a real deficiency at inside linebacker besides Clay Matthews, and look for talented tight end Martellus Bennett to take full advantage. Despite the criticism the Bears have faced in recent years, look for an efficient outing in Week 1 vs. the Packers.
On the other side of the football, there truly is no real way to stop Aaron Rodgers. The guy is as elite as they come and much like the Bears should move the chains on Sunday, the Packers too should be able to put up some points. The Bears were not good on defense in 2014, and though they were competent stopping the run, their pass defense was especially poor. However the off-season brought fresh faces and much needed upgrades. Veteran strong safety Antrel Rolle was brought into the fold as well as Tracy Porter. Key signee Lamarr Houston was obtained from Oakland to work as a formidable pass rushing duo alongside Jared Allen. That’s where the Bears should hold a key advantage and look for the Chicago pass rush to be on full display Sunday. Getting to Rodgers is always tough, but with reinforcements in the Windy City, the Bears defense should do just about enough to disrupt Rodgers with regularity and prevent him from a typically dominant outing.
While I wouldn’t expect a big Bears upset victory in Week 1, laying a full touchdown to a divisional rival on the road is just too much for an often volatile first slate of NFL action. The Bears aren’t an awful team, and with all of their weapons on offense, should be able to keep pace with the Packers in a high-scoring contest. As of Saturday afternoon, it’s expected that Chicago’s top wide receiver Alshon Jeffery will give it a go, and that only further improves the Bears chances in this one. Go with the home dogs early on tomorrow.
PICK = Chicago +7 (-105)