Packers vs. Bears Betting Predictions

Packers at Bears NFL
Green Bay vs. Chicago, NFL Betting Predictions, January 3

This game is one of the few in Week 17 that actually means a lot to both teams. The Green Bay Packers will clinch the top seed in the NFC if they can beat the Chicago Bears on the road to close out the season. Meanwhile, the Bears can make the playoffs with a win, otherwise it will require some help out West to make the playoffs. I have a feeling the Bears will be sweating out the game in Los Angeles as the Packers take care of business in Chicago.

Packers vs. Bears Betting Odds

What really stands out about Green Bay’s offense this year is the balance they have with Aaron Jones at running back. It has forced teams to respect the Packers’ rushing attack and thereby opened the door for Aaron Rodgers to be an efficient assassin in the passing game. He’s thrown for at least three touchdowns in five of his last six games and he’s only thrown for 300 yards once in that span. Included in that stretch is his 211 yards and four touchdowns in the first game against Chicago and his four touchdowns and 231 yards against Tennessee last week. It has all coalesced around a defense that has risen to the occasion the last month to shut down the opposing team’s strengths. The Packers suffocated Derrick Henry last week in an impressive performance against Tennessee, and it has done much the same to other teams during this five-game winning streak with three of its last four opponents failing to score 20 points.

Perhaps the biggest surprise over the last month is that Chicago has found a competent offense to go along with its strong defense. The Bears have scored 30 or more points in four straight weeks after hitting that total just once in the first three months of the season. It’s just been a wonderful balance between David Montgomery running the ball and not asking Mitchell Trubisky to do too much as a passer. It’s the same formula that helped Chicago get off to a strong start to the season, and it has helped the Bears get back into the playoff hunt. The defense has looked great at stretches, but it has also been very vulnerable at others – particularly against good teams. This team did not lose six straight games in the middle of the season for no reason, and those liabilities are still very much there on both sides of the ball. The difference is the offense has mostly avoided turnovers the past few weeks and found ways to move the ball more consistently. It will still be a tough task, though, for Chicago to secure a playoff berth with a win over Green Bay given all the Packers are playing for this week.

The New Jersey online sports betting sites have created quite a quandary by setting the over/under on this game at 52. These two teams scored 66 points when they tangled after Thanksgiving with Chicago scoring a lot of late points to make that game more interesting. The Packers could put up 40 points again this week if they wanted to do so, but I’m not sure the Bears can put up 20 points again. Three of Green Bay’s last four opponents have scored less than 20 points and three gained less than 300 yards of total offense. So this wager comes down to how many points I think Green Bay can score on Chicago’s defense. I don’t know if the Packers end up at 40, but they could end up in the mid-30s, which might put us right at the 52-point total. It’ll be tight, but I’ll take the under 52 points for -110 odds.

Green Bay to win

I was surprised to see Green Bay was only a 5.5-point favorite at the NFL betting sites in New Jersey after its sterling performance last week. The Packers have won five straight and all of those wins came by at least seven points. Meanwhile, the Bears have done an excellent job taking advantage of the soft schedule they’ve had, but it doesn’t give me much confidence they can win this game. Rodgers was efficient in tearing up the Bears in the first meeting and not much has changed for either side since that game at the end of November. The Packers understand the importance of the bye and they have the offense to be able to put up a lot of points on this Bears defense. Meanwhile, Green Bay’s defense has looked much improved and I’d take that unit over Trubisky every day of the week. The Packers should win, and win big, so I’m betting Green Bay laying 11.5 points at +200 odds to clinch the first-round bye.

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

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