Bet of the Day – Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears, Sept. 27, 2010

Green Bay Packers (-3) at Chicago Bears (+3), Over/Under 46.5

Yesterday was a complete flop.  We will make it up.  Time to move on to Monday Night Football.  The 2-0 Packers visit the Bears in the first of their two-game divisional series.  Both teams can play defense; Is the story tonight the offense?  This will be an exciting games with two highly motivated teams.

The Packers opened with a nice road win in Philly and completely shutdown the Bills at home (i.e. 184 yards and 7 points allowed).  Green Bay seems legitimate; tonight they find out about Chicago.  Starting QB Aaron Rodgers is averaging 7.38 yards per attempt (YPA) with 4 TDs and 2 INTs for a 94.0 QB rating.  The Packers are averaging 5.4 yards per play (YPP) and a very efficient 10.6 yards per point scored (YPPT) while allowing 4.8 YPP and 18.8 YPPT on defense.  The Packer defense is very aggressive.  Expect them to try to pressure Bears QB Jay Cutler.  Green Bay is a low penalty and turnover team.  Green Bay took both games in the series last year and have won 3 of the last 4.

The Bears haven’t won in the convincing fashion the Packers have.  But they have won.  Better yet, the pride of Santa Claus, IN and former Commodore, Jay Cutler has thrown only 1 INT (so far, but will he regress to his career mean?).  Cutler is averaging 10.14 YPA with 5 TDs and 1 INT for a 121.2 QB rating.  The Bears are averaging 6.8 YPP and 16.8 YPPT on offense while allowing 4.6 YPP and 17 YPPT on defense.  The Bears’ offense needs to score more efficiently and protect Cutler.  Cutler has been hit 12 times and sacked 6 (Rodgers’ has been hit 6 and sacked 3 times; ‘sources’ confirm he didn’t have to wash last week’s jersey).  The Bears defense is keeping its end of the bargain.  The Bears are the home underdog on Monday night; didn’t handicappers used to print money on that angle?

The Sagarin Ratings have Green Bay 26.46 over Chicago 22.03.  With the 3.16 home advantage, the ratings indicate the fair value line is Green Bay -1.27.  This indicates the betting value is on the Bears +3.

My football model predicts Chicago 25.7 over Green Bay 19.1 for 44.8 total points.  On paper, both teams have solid defenses.  The Bears have given up too many passing yards but their run defense has shutdown opposing teams and is a major driver in model outcome.  Each additional or fewer 15 yards that Green Bay rushes for equates to +/- 1.5 points.  Both teams have balanced and effective offenses.  The Bears have used short passes to RB Matt Forte to supplement the running game; expect that to continue with pressure coming from Green Bay.  The key variance contributors are the Bears pass offense against a stingy Packer defense.  Each additional or fewer 15 yards equates to +/- 1 point based on their historical scoring efficiency.  The Bears have to move the ball in the air for success tonight.

My gut (and data) tells me the Packers are the better team in a neutral game.  But how much does home advantage on Monday night mean for Chicago?  Is +3 enough cushion for the Bears?  I think so and here’s why.  First, the Bears haven’t done anything wrong (Beat an up and coming Detroit team and went to Dallas and won).  Second, they are moving the ball and not making mistakes.  Third, the home underdog on Monday night and road favorite following a lopsided win angles have play here.  Last, there is betting value with the underdog Bears (It is hard to give up points on the road of a divisional Monday night game).  Bet on the Chicago Bears +3. Follow me on Twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck!

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