NFL Odds: Bears vs. Rams
The Bears have won outright in four of five games as an underdog. Can they pull off the upset in LA?
There are a few question marks about Chicago’s defense, which is on pace to finish top eight in points allowed for the third straight season.
But how will they score points?
The Bears are averaging just 4.8 yards per play, tied for fourth-worst, and that figure could go south before the night is over. Why? Because LA’s Jalen Ramsey-led defense allows the second-fewest yards per game to opposing wide receivers, and the Bears offense is compete and utter dust without Allen Robinson.
- Passes to Robinson: 66 targets, 7.2 YPT
- Passes to all other receivers: 164 targets, 5.8 YPT
- Rushing plays: 140 carries, 3.9 YPC
Ramsey has been superb, allowing a 53.1% catch rate and 4.9 yards per target, but the entire secondary is playing well under first-year defensive coordinator Brandon Staley — or maybe it’s a mirage, as all four Rams victories have come against the lowly NFC East in games which they’ve allowed point totals of 17, 19, 9 and 10.
No matter, because Chicago is an NFC East-caliber offense.
The Rams are somewhat vulnerable in run defense (21st in Football Outsiders DVOA), but the Bears rank 28th in rush offense. The offensive line may not be the issue at this point: It ranks a respectable 13th in Adjusted Line Yards (4.34) and 18th in Pro Football Focus’ run-blocking grade (66.7), yet David Montgomery has failed to top 3.3 yards per carry since Week 2, and there No. 2 “back” is wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, who is averaging 3.2 yards per carry on 22 handles.
The offense has also been lucky, not losing any of its six fumbles while benefiting from the league’s fifth-best starting field position (one 31.8).
Last but not least, it has gone overlooked that Nick Foles hasn’t really been outplaying Mitch Trubisky:
- Trubisky: 6.3 YPA, 5.24 ANYA, 87.4 Rtg, 56.4 QBR
- Foles: 5.8 YPA, 4.97 AYA, 80.0 Rtg, 49.9 QBR
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams enter Monday Night Football at 4-2, outscoring opponents by 6.3 points per game, 10th-best, but as mentioned, all four of LA’s wins have come against the lowly NFC East, which is 7-20-1 overall with a -8.8 point differential.
It shouldn’t be hard to outscore Chicago, yet the Bears are playing that well on defense, which raises red flags for the Rams as well.
In 2018, Sean McVay’s offense came into its Week 13 matchup with the Bears averaging 34.9 points and lost 15-6. Last season, with Chuck Pagano in his first year in place of Vic Fangio, McVay found a way to coax a whopping 17 points out of his offense in a game they won, 17-7, despite losing the turnover battle.
The key for the Rams will be continuing their league-best performance in Football Outsiders’ DVOA on first down. This is the only situation the Bears defense has shown vulnerability, ranking 25th in DVOA on first down but top-10 on all other downs. If McVay can scheme up a first-down play action pass that goes for a TD, it could make the difference in the Rams covering, as their 19th-ranked red-zone offense is unlikely to make much headway against Chicago’s No. 2 red zone defense.
Monday Night Football Pick
I have this game pegged at -5 and don’t see value on either side of the line. This sets up as a low-scoring defensive slugfest with a wide range of outcomes and an increased chance for high-variance events like field goals, turnovers or trick plays to decide the outcome.
Instead, I’m looking to target unders in various fashions:
- Full-game under 44.5. These two teams are averaging a combined 22.5 points total the last two matchups, and there’s nothing to suggest a massive shift. I make this line 42.5, and our PRO Consensus has it at 42.7.
- First-half under 21.5: These teams both rank among the bottom-five In slowest first-half pace.
- Rams team total under 25.5: The Rams’ median point total is 25.5 this season and this is easily the best defense they’ve faced. The winner has failed to top 25.5 in 4-of-6 Bears games and 3-of-6 Rams games this season.