LAS VEGAS — The Bears will again be up against some formidable odds this season, according to many sportsbooks and bettors who bolster their beliefs with their bankrolls.
Chicago’s victory total has been widely set at 6.5, so experts forecast a ninth non-winning campaign in 10 seasons.
In its preseason release of every lined 2021 NFL game, the Westgate SuperBook had the Bears favored just four times. They went 6-11, overall and against the spread.
In fact, according to TeamRankings.com, the Bears are 89-105-3 against the number since 2010 for a .459 winning percentage, fifth-worst in the league. Blindly betting against the Bears over that span has been profitable.
For ’22, the SuperBook has Chicago favored just twice.
On its NFL MVP odds sheet, Station Casinos lists 55 players. Not one is a Bear. Of 74 players, the SuperBook has quarterback Justin Fields 19th, at 80-to-1 odds and tailback David Montgomery 63rd at 500-1.
At Circa Sports, the Bears are +400 (risk $100 to win $400) to make the playoffs, -550 (wager $550 to win $100) to miss the postseason.
Rex Beyers, an industry veteran and head of wagering at PlayUp USA, envisions a six-win season as the Bears’ best-case scenario, 5-12 or 4-13 being more likely.
“That’s the worst team in a bad division,” he says. “And the quarterback can’t play, which we will find out most likely, once and for all, over the course of several long fall 2022 Sundays.”
Handicapper Bill Krackomberger relished finding a 7.5 total, very early, and hammered Under at -145. The consensus of his expert staff predicts “a tough season” for Chicago.
“I know it’s really popular to bet Bears futures every year, amongst gamblers. But that’s just it — they are gamblers rooting and betting with their hearts. Good people in Chicago. I love them and the city.
“[But] sorry, Bears fans. We need the ’85 Bears to return to their glory.”
He says something akin to, Where have you gone, Mike Ditka and Buddy Ryan?
Some aren’t so sour on the Bears, or Fields. Without Andy Dalton over his shoulder, DraftKings sportsbook director Johnny Avello expects the 23-year-old quarterback to settle down.
“I liked him at Ohio State,” Avello says. “Thought he was terrific.”
About the axiom that Buckeyes quarterbacks don’t pan out in the NFL, Avello pauses.
“That might be true, but Ohio State is such a great collegiate program. People always have high expectations for them when they get to the next level. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Sometimes it’s about the right system.”
He mentions Tom Brady, who didn’t portend professional superstardom at Michigan but soared in New England to become the game’s most accomplished quarterback.
“Sometimes it’s about the right break, the right coaching, the right mentor,” Avello says. “So I don’t hold that against anybody.”
Long Island ’capper Tom Barton concurs and considers this Fields’ second rookie season. Nathan Peterman and Trevor Siemian are Chicago’s reserve quarterbacks. A lifelong Bears fan who divorces his head from his heart in pursuit of profit, Barton likes what he has heard from Luke Getsy.
New coach Matt Eberflus hired Getsy from Green Bay, where he worked with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ passing schemes, to be the Bears’ offensive coordinator.
Getsy champions a 1-2 running attack, with Montgomery and Khalil Herbert, and play-action wrinkles to allow the quarterback to hit a single option, highlighting tight end Cole Kmet or receiver Darnell Mooney.
“Fields can sell,” Barton says. “Watch his Ohio State tape, which I’ve done. He can sell that play-action.”
Barton has reviewed what Eberflus and Getsy have undoubtedly seen in last season’s video — that Fields doesn’t pick up blitzes well.
“Always been his problem,” Barton says. “He doesn’t have that sixth sense. He doesn’t feel the pressure. And it’s his perception … if he doesn’t trust they’re going to pick up the block, that’s going to be an issue.”
Chicago quarterbacks were sacked 3.4 times a game last season, tied for next-to-worst in the NFL. Barton says Fields would get hit early, question himself, dump it off or scamper.
Eberflus and Getsy have a remedy.
“They’re saying, ‘Do a lot of play-action. Someone will bite.’ Now all Fields has to worry about is, Who’s the [defender] biting?” Barton said. “Now you have one-on-one coverage, and you can take advantage.”
He pegs Week 5 at Minnesota, though, as Danger Week. He expects the Bears to be 1-4 after that Vikings game. Then comes Washington, at New England, at Dallas.
Said Barton: “They could be sitting there with one win going into Week 9.”
He recommends savvy fantasy players to consider key Bears, two months into the new system, at this point, with the Dolphins at home followed by the Lions, then at the Falcons and Jets.
Maybe four consecutive triumphs, Barton said. But he has the Bears winning only six or seven games, and he despises the late Week 14 bye, in the second week of December.
He hasn’t invested in Bears futures tickets and advises nobody to do so.
“No Super Bowl, no NFC championship,” Barton says. “I saw people take 100-to-1 on Fields to win MVP. ‘Dude, what are you doing?’ What does he have to do to win the MVP, win 12, 13, 14 games? Yeah, that’s not happening.
“To me, lay off, don’t go near and don’t touch.”