Saints vs. Bears Betting Predictions

Saints vs Bears NFL Wild Card
New Orleans vs. Chicago, NFL Betting Predictions, Wild Card Game, January 10

The New Orleans Saints will have to settle for the No. 2 seed as a reward for their fantastic season. They earn the right to host the Chicago Bears who backed their way into the playoffs after losing a win-and-you’re-in game in Week 17 to Green Bay at home. The Bears had a roller-coaster season with a strong start, followed by a six-game losing streak before a surge at the end to secure that final wild card spot. Not that it matters in Chicago, where this early exit in New Orleans will only spark more questions about the future.

Saints vs. Bears Betting Odds

The good news for Chicago over the last month of the season was that the Bears dominated the games they should have to move into position to qualify for the playoffs. The problem is that Chicago’s soft schedule has given us very little information as to what the Bears will actually do not that they are playing in the NFL Wild Card round. The defense is not nearly as ferocious as it was at the start of the season and we’ve seen Minnesota and Green Bay both attack it well over the last three weeks. Detroit threw for 400 yards on Chicago in Week 13, one week after the Packers ran for 182 yards against the Bears. The offense relies heavily on David Montgomery at running back to take pressure of Mitchell Trubisky and the passing game. Trubisky’s stats look good with a 67 percent completion percentage and 2:1 touchdown to interception, ratio in 10 starts. However, he’s thrown one interception in each of the last three games and his season high is 267 passing yards. Trubisky just isn’t good enough to win the game with his arm, and I don’t know if the Bears can run the ball well enough to stop that from happening.

In New Orleans, the question is whether or not Alvin Kamara will play this week after testing positive for COVID-19 last week. Kamara’s last game was the mind-boggling six-touchdown game on Christmas Day against the Vikings, and he’s been the spark plug to the Saints offense all season. His versatility as a runner and receiver has eased the burden on Drew Brees and the passing game. Kamara leads the team with 83 catches and 756 receiving yards, which might not be a great thing for the Saints. There are plenty of other weapons in the passing game from tight end Jared Cook to wideouts Emmanuel Sanders and Michael Thomas, but none of them have been standouts thus far. The Saints also have Taysom Hill to add some spice to the offense and keep defenses guessing with his triple-threat ability as a rusher, passer and receiver. The offense doesn’t have to do much, though, with a defense that finished in the top-five for both points and yards allowed this season. The Saints were the fourth-best rushing defense and fifth-best passing defense in the league and seemed to return to normal in Week 17 against the Panthers after a shaky three-week stretch.

I’m not sure what to make of the New Jersey online sports betting sites setting the over/under on this game at 47.5 points. It is sort of an odd place for the NFL Wild Card lines, but I’m guessing they were betting on the Saints to either thoroughly dominate the Bears or they had more faith in the Bears offense than I do. This feels like a game that will end similarly to New Orleans’ 33-7 win over Carolina in Week 17. The Saints are going to play to stop the run and basically force Trubisky to beat them with his arm. On the other side, the Saints haven’t been nearly as explosive, and the Chicago defense will hold its own early. Those two factors will keep the scoring a little lower than the sportsbooks anticipated, so my wager is on under 42.5 total points at +175 odds as a way to play the NFL Wild Card odds a little bit.

Saints to win

The Saints are only 9.5-point favorites at home against Chicago, according to the NFL betting sites in New Jersey, and quite frankly that seems very low. New Orleans’ offense isn’t the same explosive passing unit it once was, but there is little doubt that the Saints can run the ball really well. Kamara is a question mark this week, but Ty Montgomery ran for 100 yards last week with Kamara sidelined to help the Saints to an easy victory. The offense has always found way to score points this season, and Brees doesn’t need to throw for 300 yards to be an effective quarterback. Chicago’s offense is a mess right under with Trubisky under center and this top-5 Saints defense is going to be a challenge for the Bears signal caller. Chicago had just one win over a team with a winning record this season, so what chance does it have against this Saints team with Super Bowl aspirations? The Bears have been in the 15-20-point range against the Packers in two games this season, so I’ll bet the Saints laying 14.5 points at +160 odds as part of my NFL Wild Card predictions.

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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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