For the second week in a row, the Chicago Bears have received the most moneyline bets of any underdog for Week 16. According to OddsChecker US, this is actually the fourth time this year they’ve earned this distinction, going 1-2 in their previous three games under the same pretenses. This week, much like last week, the Bears are nine-point underdogs. This time to the Buffalo Bills.
I get it. Justin Fields has been fantastic, but once again, this is a fool’s errand. Could the Bears catch the Bills by surprise and win outright? Sure, but it’d be much safer and smarter to bet on the spread. Nine points is a lot, and had bettors bet the spread in last week’s game against Philadelphia, they would’ve walked away richer. People haven’t learned their lesson though it seems. Last week, 65 percent of moneyline bets went in favor of Chicago. This week, 62 percent of bets are going in favor of Chicago. STOP! They haven’t won in seven weeks! SEVEN! Why do you think the streak will end against a different favorite to win the Super Bowl?
Do you know what the Bills’ magic number to clinch the AFC East is? One. They only need one win or a Miami loss in order to secure a division title. When the Bills are this close, they’re going to take this game very seriously. They are not going to overlook Chicago.
Now, if the schedule was a little different, I could see where this was going. If Miami played on Saturday, or just at an earlier hour than the Bills, I could see a Chicago win. If Miami lost, then the Bills might just decide to rest some of their starters. The stress of being so close to winning the division would be alleviated and perhaps the Bills would take their foot off the gas. I think that’d be a dumb move since they’re still in the running for the No. 1 seed (and thus, a first-round bye), but I could see it happening. As it stands, the Bills play a whole day before Miami does, so Buffalo is going to make their own destiny and blow the brakes off the Bears who have nothing to play for other than a worse draft pick.
Furthermore, the Bills are a better matchup for the Bears than the Eagles. The Bears rely on the ground game to pace their offense. Buffalo has allowed fewer total rush yards, fewer yards per rush, and fewer rushing touchdowns than the Eagles. While Philly has allowed the third-most rushing yards to quarterbacks all season, the Bills have allowed the 10th fewest. They’re also one of only two teams to have not allowed a single rushing touchdown to quarterbacks all year (the Pittsburgh Steelers being the other).
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On the other side of the ball, the Bears have allowed the eighth-most rush yards to opposing quarterbacks and the most rushing touchdowns. Yeah, the Bills don’t have a solid run game, but their quarterback is their most effective rusher and the Bears haven’t shown an ability to stop such an attack. They’re a mediocre pass defense and have done atrociously bad against elite wide receivers this season. Tyreek Hill went for 7-143-1 against Chicago a few weeks ago. Amon-Ra St. Brown went for 10-119. CeeDee Lamb had a low-end day against Chicago, posting just a 5-77-1 line. Wow! How terrible, right? AJ Brown: 9-181. Justin Jefferson: 12-154. Now, they get Stefon Diggs. What makes you think he’ll get bottled up?
The Bears play tough. I wouldn’t be shocked if they make this a one-possession game. But winning outright would be an embarrassment on Buffalo’s end, and I don’t expect Josh Allen, Sean McDermott, or anyone on the Bills’ sideline to let that happen. Anything can happen, yes, but for my money, I’m taking that +9 spread over the moneyline any day of the week. If the Bears win, great! We both win, but I won’t be sweating the entire game.