Today’s MLB card is ugly. I was digging to try and find plays I liked for you guys. But why force it? This was a sign! Football season is here!
So we’re calling an audible and going with some best bets for the NFL season-opener between the Packers and the Bears. Here’s what I’m looking at Thursday night.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
CHICAGO BEARS VS. GREEN BAY PACKERS (8:20 P.M. ET)
David Montgomery OVER 59.5 rushing yards (-112)
We saw pretty limited reps from the rookie in the preseason, as Montgomery carried three times for 16 yards and a touchdown (he also caught three passes for 30 yards). I think the limited work is a great sign the Bears view Montgomery as their featured back to begin the season.
Tarik Cohen should mix in on passing downs, but expect Chicago to look to establish the run early in this one. Running the ball is how the Bears controlled games last season, obviously with the help of their defense. The Packers are completely revamped in their front-seven, which should allow them to get after Mitch Trubisky in the passing game. They also should get strong corner play from Jaire Alexander on Allen Robinson, which could further limit the passing game. Jordan Howard went for 82 yards on 15 carries in this matchup in the opener last season, and I think Montgomery’s far more talented.
Mitch Trubisky UNDER 244.5 passing yards (+100)
This play kind of goes hand-in-hand with Montgomery going over his rushing total. Green Bay’s revamped defensive front, along with healthy and developing play in the secondary should help make Trubisky uncomfortable and have a tougher time finding his go-to receiver. Outside of Robinson, there’s not all that many ways the Bears can move the ball downfield outside of their RB play, which should be shorter gains on a heavier workload.
Trubisky averaged 230 passing yards per game in 2018 and wasn’t able to reach 245 yards in either of his matchups against the Packers — 171 yards in Week 1 and 235 yards in Week 15. Trubisky likes to try and get outside of the pocket, with 10 combined rushing attempts against Green Bay last season. I think this defensive line will make him uncomfortable and force him to scramble even more than he wants to in this one. Trubisky’s 4.9 yards per attempt in the 2018 season-opener against the Packers were his second-worst in any game last season.
Geronimo Allison OVER 42.5 receiving yards (-112))
Marquez Valdes-Scantling has gotten a lot of hype from Aaron Rodgers, and I think he’s going to have a better overall season than Allison. If you like MVS OVER 37.5 (-112) receiving yards in this game, I won’t disagree with you. But I’m purely targeting matchup here.
Allison is expected to get a majority of his snaps out of the slot in Green Bay’s offense, and that means a matchup against Chicago slot CB Buster Skrine — arguably the worst starting slot CB in the NFL. Allison only played in five games last season but averaged more than 60 receiving yards and six targets per game. There should be room for him to comfortably surpass this low total.
Bears Team Total UNDER 24.5 (-120)
The majority of these bets fall under the same game script. While I do think Montgomery gets going on the ground, I don’t think that’ll be enough to carry this offense. This is a much improved defense for the Packers, who have a lot to prove after the past couple of seasons were failures.
The Bears did average 25.6 points per game last season but limped to the finish line, scoring 17.7 per game over their last three. It might be close, as the Bears scored 23 and 24 points in this matchup last season, but both still fell under this number. We’ll have to sweat this one, but it’s the right side. I was expecting to see this at 23.5.
Packers Moneyline (+150)
If you haven’t noticed by now, I think the Packers are the better team this season and will not only cover as +3.5 underdogs, but win outright. The coaching change will mean the Packers will be running an offense the Bears haven’t seen before, and the Bears lost defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to the Broncos. That should mean a slight step back for this defense. I think the Packers’ offense should have a much larger advantage over Chicago’s offense, and the gap defensively shouldn’t be that glaring. Advantage Green Bay.
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