Trends are a valuable tool when evaluating bets in the NFL. It’s not always clear whether an object in motion will remain in motion.
Our headline matchup this week is one of those “someone has to win” games. Both teams are trending drastically the wrong way but one appears to have more resources to shift toward respectability.
In what might otherwise be an unwatchable game, the Bears-Broncos clash becomes interesting if you have some money riding on the result.
We have a primary play, along with a pair of bonus bets for Week 2.
Broncos at Bears, 1 p.m. ET Sunday
The line: Broncos -3.5.
As the Jarrett Stidham Watch gathers momentum in Denver, the Chicago Bears stand up to say, “hold my beer.”
Both the Broncos and Bears have put the “fun” in dysfunction this season with a record-setting defeat (Denver) and a staggering step backward (Chicago — with a defensive coordinator resignation thrown in for good measure).
Chicago (0-3) has lost 13 consecutive games dating to last season, allowing 25-plus points in each one.
Denver’s ill-fated trip to Miami last weekend, resulting in a 70-20 Dolphins rout, served to heat up the pressure on first-year Broncos coach Sean Payton to consider replacing quarterback Russell Wilson with Stidham.
Chicago fans aren’t pleased with Bears quarterback Justin Fields, who was a revelation last season and a strong source for optimism entering 2023.
Fields showed what he could do after a similarly slow start in 2022, ranking seventh overall in rushing with 1,143 yards — a spot behind Dalvin Cook and one ahead of Christian McCaffrey.
Wilson has yet to string together any kind of elite performances reminiscent of his time with the Seattle Seahawks. He just seems destined to remain in the middle of the pack — possibly worse — among NFL QB starters.
Payton must be considering pulling the plug.
Both teams, not surprisingly, are 0-3 against the spread.
The Bears, however, seem more prepared to put up a fight Sunday. As poorly as they looked in Weeks 1-3, adjustments including more designed runs for Fields make this closer to a pick ‘em game with the Broncos.
Action Network stats showed 75 percent of public nets on the Broncos, reflecting just how poorly the Bears played last week against Kansas City.
It’s tough to understand how the Bears looked worse than the Broncos, however, so we’ll fade the public this time.
The pick: Bears +3.5.
THEY SAID IT
“That’s where we’re talking about the fight, right? There’s going to be a moment in the game in the second half that we got to do it, right? And we’ve got to pull together and get that done. It’s going to be done through execution.”
–Bears coach Matt Eberflus
A game that fits the luck trend, along with a player prop to consider.
Falcons vs. Jaguars in London, 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
The line: Jaguars -3.
This is a play on potential.
Though some Jacksonville Jaguars fans might be souring on quarterback Trevor Lawrence, we believe in his elite talent and are dismissing a subpar effort in last week’s loss to the Houston Texans.
The Jaguars (1-2) had 22 first downs to Houston’s 15 and should be able to take advantage of the Atlanta Falcons at the Jags’ “home” in London early Sunday.
The Falcons (2-1) gained only 183 yards of total offense against the Detroit Lions last week, and Atlanta still has the unproven Desmond Ridder, who has amassed two touchdown passes, at quarterback.
That’s a mismatch against Lawrence.
Going into Week 3, the Jaguars were the seventh unluckiest team in the NFL according to Action Network’s luck rankings. Today, Jacksonville ranks as the second unluckiest team; the Falcons moved from 10th to seventh.
It’s time for some correction, and Lawrence, running back Travis Etienne and a strong receiver corps will get it done.
The pick: Jaguars -3.
Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence passing yards
We’ll double down with our confidence in Jacksonville Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence. He stands in 10th among passing yards leaders but only 21st in passer rating, per ESPN.
That, along with a perceived strong Falcons pass defense (fourth in passing yards per game allowed), is going to yield a decent price.
The reasoning? Lawrence is due, and Atlanta faced first-year starters in two of its three games (Bryce Young and Jordan Love).
The pick: Lawrence 234-plus yards passing at -114 (available at FanDuel).
–Field Level Media