The Chicago Bears finished last in the NFC North Division for four straight seasons before winning their division last year. They did it with a second-year quarterback and first-year head coach, namely Mitch Trubisky and Matt Nagy.
Now, if you think winning a division title after four straight finishes in the division cellar was a difficult challenge, try winning the year after you finish in first place. It is much more troublesome for the Bears to win this season.
With a second-year head coach and third-year quarterback, the Bears have expectations so far ahead of where they are in the development stages of a championship team, that they can’t help but be overrated. In their opener, a week ago Thursday at Soldier Field, they were favored over the Green Bay Packers.
How did that work out?
Not so good for the Bears. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers continued his dominance over his division rivals with a road win, albeit not in an impressive fashion. The Packers offense struggled most of the night, and how good Matt LaFleur’s defense is, they held the Bears to three points, may be muted by how bad the Chicago offense might be.
In any case, the Bears opened defense of their division title with a 10-3 home loss while the public wagering was solidly on the visiting Packers. So, with our suspicions heightened for problems this year with Nagy’s group, nothing that happened in their home opener dampens our enthusiasm for betting against Chicago this season.
This week, the Bears are on the road to meet the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium. The Broncos opener was even less impressive than Chicago’s. But, the Broncos lost on the road as a bet-on favorite, a situation difficult for any team to overcome. Denver butted heads with their long time AFC West rivals, the Oakland Raiders, and that team had gone through a weekend of controversy while they wrote the final chapter of Antonio Brown wearing Silver and Black.
The loss of Brown for the Raiders offense spelled doom in most bettors minds, as Oakland went from a favorite to a three point underdog. A dramatic point spread shift in an NFL game is most commonly associated with the loss of a star quarterback, but when it is caused by the departure of a player who had never played for a team, the line move can almost be assumed wrong.
The Raiders had all the motivation on Monday night in Oakland, and cashed that edge for a relatively easy win, 24-16. Now, the Broncos go from that trap on the line to a most fortuitous situation. Denver was a bet-on road favorite last week, and after their loss, are now a bet-against home underdog.
It doesn’t get much better than this.
Qoxhi Picks: Denver Broncos (+2) over Chicago Bears