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Bears Out to Prove They Can Hang with the Big Boys on Sunday Night vs Rams

Despite being in the midst of a breakout season, the Chicago Bears aren’t being viewed as a serious Super Bowl threat, but that narrative can change on Sunday night with the Super Bowl favorite Los Angeles Rams in town. The Rams have just one loss on the season, but the Bears have been a monster at Soldier Field, posting a 5-1 SU and ATS record. In what easily looks like the best game of the week, LA opened as a 3-point favorite with the total sitting at 52.5 points.

Shark Bites
  • Chicago is first in the NFL in net yards per play at home.
  • The Rams are 2-5-1 ATS in their last eight games.
  • Chicago ranks first in the NFL in first-half point differential. The Bears have covered the first-half spread in five straight games.

Bears are a Different Animal with Trubisky on the Field

All signs point to Mitchell Trubisky returning to the lineup after missing two games due to a shoulder injury. Chase Daniel did a fine job filling in, but Trubisky adds a different dimension to the Bears offense that most teams simply don’t possess. In his 10 starts, Trubisky is averaging 36.3 rushing yards per game (7.1 yards per rush). By comparison, Daniel rushed for just eight total yards in his two starts.

As a result of having an extra running threat in the backfield, we should see the Bears offense open up, especially vs a Rams defense that’s struggled against the run recently — yielding an average of 157 rushing yards per game over their last three.

With Trubisky under center, the Bears averaged 122.9 rushing yards per game, but they accumulated just 156 total yards on the ground in the two games without him.

Rams: Great Team. Brutal Bet (lately)

You can debate it if you want, but according to their 11-1 SU record, which is the only thing that matters at the end of the day, the Rams are the best team in the NFL. Betting-wise, however, it’s been a different story as they’re just 2-5-1 ATS over their last eight games despite being 7-1 SU during that stretch. On the season, their ATS record sits at 5-5-2.

The reason for their mediocre betting record is clear — they’ve been a favorite in all 12 of their games by an average of 7.2 points and covering spreads above 7 isn’t easy. But at 3 points on Sunday night, they aren’t facing a big spread, so bettors who are leaning in their direction shouldn’t back off based on their unprofitable slide at the betting window.

The Bears have been the much more consistent team against the spread, which tends to be the case for teams in a breakout season. Their 8-4 ATS record is tied for fourth-best in the league and that record is highlighted by going 5-1 ATS at home.

Dynamite vs Fireworks

The Bears defense is the dynamite. The Rams offense is the fireworks. Here’s some conflicting stats to complicate your handicapping.

Bears defensive stat ranks:
  • Points allowed – 4th
  • Opponent yards per play – 3rd
  • Rushing yards allowed – 2nd (first at home)
  • First downs allowed – 3rd
  • Sacks – 5th
  • Takeaways – 1st
Rams offensive stat ranks:
  • Points per game – 2nd
  • Yards per play – 3rd
  • Rushing yards per game – 4th
  • Rushing TDs – 2nd
  • Passing yards per game – 4th
  • Giveaways – 4th

I think you get the point here. For me, this makes the total a bit tricky to handicap, therefore I’ll be staying away. But, if I was forced to make a pick under the threat of murder, I’d go OVER. The main reason is the Rams’ underachieving defense that’s allowed 35.75 points over its last four games vs the Bears who are averaging 32.4 points over their last five home games. Simple as that.

My Best Bet: Bears +1.5 first-half spread

Those looking to hit the sack early on Sunday night might want to jump on the Bears’ first-half ATS trend that’s hit in five straight games and is 8-4 on the season. Chicago’s league-best +9.0 first-half point differential is the primary reason for its first-half spread betting success. The Bears are allowing an NFL-best 6.2 points in the first half, compared with the Rams who are allowing 13.2, which ranks them 25th overall in that category.

Perhaps the main reason for taking the first-half as opposed to the full-game spread is that the Chicago D has been falling off in the second half of games, when they’re allowing 13.3 points, bad enough for 24th. These reasons, coupled with the fact that they’re an underdog at home where they’ve been great — 1st in net yards per play at home — gives them the edge.