2018 NFL Season: Chicago Bears Betting Recap
Led by the best scoring defense in the NFL (17.7 points per game), the Chicago Bears were one of 2018’s surprise teams. They started slow, blowing a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter against NFC North rival Green Bay in Week 1, and found themselves with a mediocre 3-3 record through six games. A .500 mark may have been expected, but what happened next could not have been anticipated—not even by a confident group inside Chicago’s own locker room. Let’s take a look at the Chicago Bears betting recap.
Monsters of Midway
What allowed the Bears to win nine of 10 contests and finish the regular season as division champions at 12-4? It’s not hard to figure out. Their well-publicized trade preseason trade with Oakland for outside linebacker Khalil Mack turned out to be everything they could have hoped for and more. Spearheading a defense that not only surrendered the fewest points but also finished third in yards allowed (299.7 yards per game), Mack recorded 12.5 sacks and forced six fumbles. Whenever opposing offenses understandably paid too much attention to Mack, they did not pay enough to the rest of the unit. Defensive ends Akiem Hicks (7.5 sacks) and Leonard Floyd (four) combined for 11.5 sacks, rookie linebacker Roquan Smith led the team with 121 tackles (89 solo) and also took down quarterbacks on five occasions, and the secondary benefited from such a prolific pass rush to the extent that Chicago led the NFL—by a mile—with 27 interceptions. Kyle Fuller (seven) and Eddie Jackson (six) combined for almost half of those picks.
In exactly half of their 12 victories, the Bears limited opponents to no more than 10 points. In four of the wins they gave up between 14 and 17 points. Only in back-to-back weeks (10 and 11) against NFC North foes Detroit and Minnesota was the offense required to much in order to get a ‘w.’ Chicago beat the Lions 34-22 and the Vikings 25-20 to take control of the division at 7-3, never looking back thereafter.
Bears Against the Spread
If the ATS numbers are anything to go by, Chicago was the most surprising team in the NFL. Its 12-4 ATS record was the best in the business with room to spare (New Orleans and Cleveland tied as the second-most lucrative at 10-6 ATS). With little expected of them, the Bears opened as +6.5 underdogs in their opener at Green Bay—a spread they covered in comfortable fashion en route to a 3-1 ATS start. They were 9-1 ATS in their last 10 to finish off an impressive regular season in style, and in lucrative fashion for bettors.
Interestingly, Chicago was actually a borderline over machine before the defense started completely dominating. The over was 7-3 through 10 contests, as the Bears twice posted more than 40 points and scored more than 30 on two other occasions (including in a 38-31 Week 7 loss to eventual Super Bowl champion New England). However, Mack and company eventually started mauling any and all offenses and the under went 4-0 in their last four games for an overall O/U mark of 8-8.
Tough Ending, Bright Future
If the regular season was anything to go by, any playoff shortcoming would be due to offensive failures and kicker Cody Parkey hitting uprights. After all, Chicago finished 21st in the NFL in total offense and Parkey missed four kicks off goalposts during the Week 10 defeat of Detroit. Hosting 2017 Super Bowl champion Philadelphia in the wild-card round, the Bears put up a mere 15 points and lost 16-15 when Parkey missed a 43-yard field goal off both the left upright and the crossbar in the final seconds. At the same time, the defense should not get a free pass; it watched the Eagles go on a 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive midway through the fourth quarter to erase a 15-10 deficit.
The Bears should have every opportunity to erase those playoff demons in 2019. They bring back a dominant defense and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky should continue showing signs of improvement at 24 years old. Chicago is +1200 to win the Super Bowl, trailing only the Patriots, Chiefs, Rams, and Saints.