Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears Odds, Preview, NFL Betting Picks Week 1

The 100th season of the NFL kicks off Thursday night with of the league’s most historic rivalry. Here’s a sports betting preview for the Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears Week 1 matchup.

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The Chicago Bears opened as 4-point favorites over the Green Bay Packers at most online sports betting sites in April. Since then, the spread has fallen to Chicago -3, with the majority of bets backing the Packers, according to VegasInsider.com

Remember to use RotoGrinders’ new NFL odds comparison tool to look at NFL Week 1 lines across the online sports betting industry and find out what sportsbook has the best price for your favorite NFL betting picks.

Also check out more NFL Week 1 lines, totals and picks.

Now, let’s break down the odds and make NFL betting picks for the first game of the season. If you’re looking for a more in-depth breakdown of our favorite NFL player props for QBs and RBs Thursday night, click here; find out why a Geronimo Allison receiving prop is my favorite bet by reading More NFL Betting Tips, Player Props for Packers at Bears.

NFL Betting Picks Week 1 — Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears -3, O/U 46.5

In 2018, the Chicago Bears won 12 games behind the league’s best defense to claim their first NFC North title since 2010. The Bears’ unexpected rise came ahead of schedule, only one season after drafting Mitchell Trubisky with the no. 2 overall pick in 2017. Before last season began, the Bears were +800 underdogs to win the division behind both the Packers and the Vikings. Oddsmakers set their season win totals at a disrespectful 7.5 wins.

That’s the case no more. This time sportsbooks project the Bears to win nine games and they’re +180 NFC North favorites. Oddsmakers aren’t the only believers; the Bears are one of the most popular NFL futures Super Bowl picks and Mitch Trubisky is one of the most popular bets to win NFL MVP.

Though the Bears are favorites to defend their NFC North crown, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers lurk closely behind at +185 and O/U 9 wins.

Offseason coaching changes for both teams make for the biggest storylines heading into their Week 1 matchup.

What’s New?

The most significant changes take place in Title Town. Green Bay finally replaced Mike McCarthy after over a decade of subsidized employment via the elite play of Aaron Rodgers. The Packers won a Super Bowl during McCarthy’s tenure and made the playoffs eight of 12 seasons, but McCarthy’s resume looked better on paper than what we saw on TV. Since their Super Bowl, Green Bay is 5-6 in playoff games, reaching the NFC Championship just once.

It was clear McCarthy’s offensive scheme had become stale. Lacking the many innovations that have stormed NFL playbooks, film rooms and headsets, the Packers missed the playoffs in each of their last two seasons and Rodgers failed to eclipse 7.5 yards per attempt for the fourth year in a row. For some perspective, Rodgers averaged no fewer than 8.2 yards per attempt (and as high as 9.2 YPA) five times between 2009 and 2014. The Packers hope to find their way back to prominence under new first-year head coach Matt LaFleur.

Chicago’s fierce defense returns 10 of 11 starters, but they lose the mastermind behind the curtains. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio made a Mile High move in the offseason, departing the Windy City to take his first head coaching job in Denver. The one starter not returning for the Bears will be on the other side of the field Thursday night.

Among a handful of offseason defensive additions for the Packers is former Bears safety Adrian Amos, who Pro Football Focus named to their 2017 All-Pro team. Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith make up other new, noteworthy pieces for Green Bay, which should help make up for the loss of defensive tackle Mike Daniels. The Packers need to improve their run defense the most, which ranked 23rd in DVOA a season ago. The Bears will look to take advantage of the Packers run defense with rookie running back David Montgomery. The Iowa State product was a force to be reckoned with in the Big 12, putting up back to back seasons with over 1300 yards from the line of scrimmage and double-digit touchdowns on the ground.

We’ll have to wait and see if Montgomery makes the Packers look like a Big 12 defense Thursday night, but it’s worth noting that tackling was an issue of concern for Green Bay during the preseason. LaFleur remained adamant that there wouldn’t be any live tackling throughout training camp. Green Bay’s defense subsequently missed 19 tackles in the second preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Per PFF, Montgomery forced 185 missed tackles in his sophomore and junior seasons, more than any other running back from the 2019 NFL draft class over that same span. Montgomery isn’t the only Chicago running back tough to bring down. Tarik Cohen forced 16 missed tackles on 71 receptions, while 524 of his 725 receiving yards came after the catch.

NFL Betting Picks Week 1 — Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears -3, O/U 46.5

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The Spread

Albeit in Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers used three fourth-quarter touchdowns passes to bring the Packers back from a 20-point deficit against Chicago in Week 1 last season. This time, the Bears play host, and the Packers need to avoid a slow start if they want to win at Soldier Field

While bettors love the Bears and their 20/1 odds to win the Super Bowl, we can expect some regression similar to what we saw with the Vikings a year ago. I have a tough time not taking the points with Rodgers at the helm. Rodgers stands to benefit from LaFleur’s balanced offense, which includes more play-action passes, more efficient passes to running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, and overall less predictability than McCarthy’s system.

If you didn’t grab Green Bay +3.5 or +4 then your best bet is to sit patiently and hope lines move a half-point as we inch closer to Thursday night.

The Total

Last time the Packers and Bears played in Chicago, the Bears came out ahead 24-17. Like this game, the Over/Under was set at 46.5.

We don’t know how much running LaFleur and the Packers have planned, but it will certainly be more than in previous years. Similarly, the Bears are high on rookie David Montgomery, and he’ll be a featured piece in their offense. Both of these factors ought to create a game flow that sets up nicely for Under bettors.

My Pick: Under 46.5 (use our William Hill promo code to get these odds)

Image Credit: USA Today Sports Images

About the Author

  • Matt Schmitto (schmitto)

  • Matt Schmitto is the Editor of Sports Betting Content for RotoGrinders. He grew up in Texas, graduating from Texas Tech University. He has played high stakes DFS since 2013, and enjoys betting on golf, basketball, football and whatever else is put in front of him. Schmitto is an advocate of The Bettor’s Oath.

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