Chicago Bears (1-0) at Green Bay Packers (0-1)
The Packers lost by double digits in Minnesota last week, but I’m not worried, for a few reasons. For one, the Vikings are an underrated team who could easily make the post-season this year, with a talented roster, a healthier defense, and a better coached offense, so that wasn’t the upset that it seemed, especially given that it was in Minnesota. The Packers typically don’t play as well outside of Green Bay, with Aaron Rodgers having a 10 point QB rating drop on the road that is significantly higher than average, but they’re also a dominant home team, going 50-24 ATS in games started and finished by Rodgers, including 46-19 ATS in regular season games.
The Packers also were missing their two talented starting offensive tackles David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins and should be healthier on the offensive line going forward. It’s possible Bakhtiari and Jenkins both miss this game and left guard Jon Runyan is questionable as well, yet to clear the concussion protocol, so the Packers could possibly have a worse offensive line situation than a week ago, but Jenkins and Bakhtiari both seem more likely to play than a week ago, so it’s more likely they’re healthier upfront this week compared to a week ago.
The final score didn’t look good in last week’s loss in Minnesota, but, especially given that the Packers’ offensive line wasn’t healthy and that the Vikings were an above average opponent playing at home, the loss was not that bad, as the game was closer than the final score suggested. The Packers actually won the first down rate, with the game swinging on turnovers and big plays, which are not as predictive week-to-week. The Packers also typically have done very well off of a loss with Aaron Rodgers, going 42-21 ATS in his career.
Despite all this, the Packers are only favored by 10 points at home this week against a Bears team that is still arguably the worst in the league, after an off-season demolition of this roster that left them with the least expensive roster in the league and the most cap space in the league in 2023, in the middle of a multi-year rebuild. The Bears may have thrown some people off the scent of how bad they are last week, beating a banged up 49ers team at home in the rain, but that game largely swung on turnovers and big plays as well, with the Bears losing the first down rate and yards per play battle by 0.46% and 1.30 respectively.
That big upset win also puts the Bears in a bad spot this week, as teams cover at just a 41.6% rate historically after a win as home underdogs of 5 points or more, as teams tend to be overvalued and overconfident in that spot. The Bears still figure to get blown out plenty this season and this game in Green Bay seems likely to be one of those times. I can’t bet the Packers with too much confidence right now given the uncertainty of their offensive line injuries, but this line is also likely to increase if good news comes out about their offensive line and I think that’s more likely than not, so I’m going to lock in at least some bet for now. I may increase this to a high confidence pick depending on which offensive linemen are active for the Packers and where this line ultimately settles.
Update: Runyan and Jenkins are active and this line is still 10, so I am going to increase this bet.
Green Bay Packers 33 Chicago Bears 17
Pick against the spread: Green Bay -10