With a new coach last season, an emerging star at wide receiver, and a journeyman backup QB for five and a half games, the Chicago Bears finished 8-8 last season, and missed the playoffs in the final minute of the final quarter of the final game of the season, when Aaron Rodgers did this on 4th down.
The combination of high-powered offense + a healthy Cutler + the best WR pair in the league + a Top 10 RB has led gamblers to geek out about the Bears, and pound the over on their season win total of 8.5. According to the Wall Street Journal, a staggering 95 percent of bets on one gambling site have the Bears hitting the “over.”
That’s a lot.
Too much, obviously.
Fading the public is the right move here. The reasons are all completely scientific:
1) The Packers are the class of the NFC North, and there’s a massive chasm between Green Bay and the second place team (Detroit). Short of another Aaron Rodgers injury, Green Bay should win the division handily.
2) The Bears gave up 478 points last year, which is pretty incredible. Incredibly bad, that is. It was tied for Dallas for 2nd most points allowed in the NFL. The only team that permitted more? Minnesota, which went 5-10 and surrendered 480 points.
[COUNTER: Bad defenses rebound. Good offenses tend to stay good. That's a great quote courtesy of Jason Lisk.]
3) How bad was the Chicago defense? The Mice of the Midway were dead last in rushing yards allowed per game (161 yards per game). The Bears gave up 6.2 yards per play, good for last in the NFL. (The year before, under Lovie Smith, they gave up 4.9 ypp, which was tied for 3rd. Quite a fall.)
[COUNTER: But in the chart above, "overs" are 6-1-1! Also, via Mr. Lisk.]
4) The Bears defense was so horrific – no really, it was the worst the franchise has ever seen – that the biggest free agent moves were to acquire defenders (DE Lamarr Houston, S Ryan Mundy, LB DJ Williams and DE Jared Allen). Also, Chicago’s first three draft picks were all defenders (CB Kyle Fuller, DT Ego Ferguson and DT Will Sutton).
[COUNTER: Football Outsiders have the Bears at 9.0 wins!]
5) A hard-and-fast gambling rule* is that when you see the public overwhelmingly on one side of anything, run – don’t walk – the other way. Offense wins fantasy football leagues, defense wins gambling wager? Did I get that right?
Related: Brent Musburger Has Plenty of Interesting Thoughts on Gambling, Lotteries, Fantasy Football, and March Madness
Related: Tajh Boyd Says Gambling “Rumors” are False. Why Would the Media Even Ask Him About a Made-Up Story?
Related: Bill Belichick Has the Best Record Against the Spread of All NFL Coaches Since 1978
* Pretty much.