Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) at Chicago Bears (0-1)
I thought the Bengals could be a little bit of an underrated team this season if Joe Burrow could return to form after his ACL tear because the rest of this team is noticeably improved over the past two years. The Bengals got a win week one against the Vikings, which is not as impressive as it could be, given the Vikings’ injury issues, but it was a quality win and, more importantly, Burrow did not show any obvious signs of rust. I don’t know if the Bengals are going to be playoff qualifiers, but they are at least a middling team, with a solid quarterback, a strong group of skill position talent, and an improved offensive line and defense.
The Bears, meanwhile, look likely to be one of the worst teams in the league, at least until they make the move to Justin Fields, which would at least have the potential to energize this offense. Quarterback Andy Dalton isn’t really the main problem, but the Bears have one of the worst offensive lines in the league, while their once dominant defense is middling at best thanks to several off-seasons of key departures and injuries to key players like Danny Trevathan and Eddie Goldman, who will once again be once this week. Having a quarterback like Dalton under center gives them a pretty low ceiling and it’s clear the Bengals are the better of these two teams.
This line has shifted from favoring the Bears by 3.5 points on the early line last week to 2.5 this week, a big shift given that about 1 in 6 games are decided by exactly a field goal, but I still think we’re getting line value, as the Bengals are several points higher in my roster rankings and should be favored by at least a couple points. This isn’t nearly as big of a play as it would have been if we were still getting more than a field goal, but I still like the Bengals enough to bet on them against the spread and as an upset pick on the money line.
Cincinnati Bengals 23 Chicago Bears 20 Upset Pick +120
Pick against the spread: Cincinnati +2.5