We continue on with our Wild Card Weekend betting picks, next up: Bears at Saints betting preview.
For a full breakdown of offensive matchup breakdowns, check out the math over here: NFL Wild Card Weekend Bets: Matchup Breakdowns.
Additional game previews, props and picks will be shared throughout the week on Twitter, so make sure you’re following, @griffybets. Let’s get to it!
Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints
Sunday, 4:40 PM EST, CBS
Line: Saints -10
#7 Chicago (8-8 overall), (8-8 ATS)
#2 New Orleans (12-4 overall), (9-7 ATS)
Chicago Passing Offense
Receiving grade (20) vs. Saints Pass Coverage grade (19)
Passing DVOA (23) vs. Saints Pass Defense DVOA (3)
Net difference: -21
Chicago Rushing Offense
Running grade (8) vs. Saints Rush Defense grade (2)
Rushing DVOA (25) vs. Saints Rush Defense DVOA (2)
Net difference: -29
New Orleans Passing Offense
Receiving grade (12) vs. Bears Pass coverage grade (13)
Passing DVOA (12) vs. Bears Pass Defense DVOA (13)
Net difference: +2
New Orleans Rushing Offense
Running grade (5) vs. Bears Rush defense grade (6)
Rushing DVOA (1) vs. Bears Rush Defense DVOA (4)
Net difference: +4
Bears at Saints Betting Preview: Thoughts on the Game
I’m not gonna lie – this is the least exciting game to me of the entire weekend.
Chicago has thrown a wrench in what I thought I knew about them, scoring over 30 points in four straight games prior to losing 36-16 last week to Green Bay.
Yet, I have a hard time trusting a Mitchell Trubisky-Matt Nagy offense, especially against a strong New Orleans defense.
David Montgomery has been a revelation this year, but I can’t bet on him against the #2 run defense on both PFF and in DVOA.
There’s also a significant advantage for the Saints pass-rush in this one (45 sacks) against the 25th ranked pass-blocking offensive line (according to PFF). Though I should add that sack-leader Trey Hendrickson (13.5 sacks) is out for Sunday’s game. Time for Cam Jordan to step up.
I understand if you think this is a cop-out, but I’m not making a game pick in this one. One thing I’ve learned from betting on more NFL games this year – don’t force it.
The best value is likely on the Saints offense, so we’ll find a prop or two there. There isn’t a thing I want to touch on the Chicago side of the ball – that’s just the way it falls sometimes. I’m not picking something just to pick it, especially not against one of the best defenses in the NFL.
Ten points is a bit too large for me to feel comfortable with, though I’d likely lean there for New Orleans, given that they have a clean sweep of advantages above.
Player Props to Target: Saints
I prefer to target the Chicago secondary in this one, as the worst of their two defensive units.
Michael Thomas has been activated and is expected to play, which came as a bit of a surprise to me. We have to assume that Thomas being active means he’s going to be a part of the game plan. In the five-game stretch he was healthy between Weeks 9-14, Thomas had nine redzone looks, and a massive 50 targets.
Brees is going to look his way in this one.
Prop pick: Michael Thomas OVER 5.5 receptions
I think any Thomas prop is a good place to start in this one. His yards over is currently at 70.5, and he’s +100 to score, which I think is good value against this struggling secondary. In that Weeks 9-14 timespan, Thomas averaged 6.2 catches per game.
Prop pick: Jared Cook TD (+210)
Since Week 9, the Bears secondary has allowed 20 touchdowns to opposing pass-catchers – an astronomical number.
Cook leads Saints pass-catchers in redzone looks and is third on the team in total targets.
As a big part of the offense against a struggling secondary, I like Cooks to find the end zone.
That will do it for this Wild Card preview. Make sure you’re following on Twitter, @griffybets, for my latest. Thanks for reading, and good luck this weekend!
Breakdowns for every game can be found here: NFL Playoffs Primer: Wild Card Weekend