Minnesota Vikings (4-2) at Chicago Bears (2-4)
Minnesota is favored here by a point on the road in Chicago. That’s a pretty reasonable line. Minnesota ranks 13th in rate of moving the chains differential, while the Bears rank 26th. However, the Bears are at home, which obviously helps, and they’re finally at full strength, after having starters like Jay Cutler, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, left tackle Jermon Bushrod, and safety Antrel Rolle miss significant line with injury early in the season. Meanwhile, the Vikings, who have stayed relatively healthy this season, are entering their 2nd straight game without key defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd.
I’m kind of hoping that the Vikings become underdogs by game time, but I have no idea if that’s going to happen. If they’re underdogs, it puts them in a way better spot than the Bears, because, while the Bears have to turn around and go to San Diego, where they’re expected to be underdogs of 4, the Vikings host the Rams next week, and are expected to be favored by 3. Underdogs are 166-94 ATS since 2012 before being favorites when their opponent will next be underdogs.
Even if the Vikings stay favorites of a point, they’re still in a pretty good spot. Road favorites off of a road win are 42-30 ATS since 2008, as long as they are in their 2nd of two road games. This is because teams tend to do better in their 2nd straight road game than their first one, but lines don’t really adjust for this. Teams are 204-212 straight up in their 2nd of two road games since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 0.51 points per game, as opposed to 296-411 straight up in their 1st of one road game since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 2.94 points per game.
That trend goes to 51-51 ATS if the Vikings were to become underdogs, but, combining this with the other aforementioned trend, the Vikings are in a better spot than the Bears either way this week. It makes sense if you think about it. The Vikings have an easier opponent on deck than the Bears do and are in their 2nd straight road game. That’s great for them. I feel confident enough to put money on them. This isn’t a higher confidence pick because of Floyd’s absence and all the public money on Minnesota, but the Vikings should be the right side.
Minnesota Vikings 23 Chicago Bears 17
Pick against the spread: Minnesota -1