The Green Bay Packers face their arch divisional rivals the Chicago Bears in the highlight game from this weekend’s NFL action. Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers will miss the game through injury and it’s had a big impact on the Packers vs. Bears odds. Read on for some expert Packers vs. Bears betting analysis.
Live Packers vs. Bears odds
Can Green Bay cope without Rogers?
Aaron Rodgers is this season’s highest-profile absent passer as he is without doubt Green Bay Packers MVP. He was injured early in the Packers’ Week 6 trip to current divisional leaders, Minnesota. A potential return in late 2017 has not been ruled out, but it may require a postseason appearance to make it a reality.
The switch of play callers has made the Bears a more efficient passing team and the Packers less so - a pattern that is repeated on the scoreboard.
The Packers went into Minnesota with a healthy 4-1 record, with their regular trip to the postseason seeming highly likely, but a run of three consecutive losses under backup quarterback Brett Hundley has seen them fall into a near three-way tie behind the Vikings.
Chicago is also in a similar transitional state at quarterback, albeit one of their own choosing. They began the season with Mike Glennon under centre, but have quickly handed the offence over to the overall number two 2017 draft pick, Mitchell Trubisky, following his impressive pre-season.
Along with Hundley, Trubisky also made his seasonal debut against Minnesota, also suffering a loss, but only by the margin of a field goal and he’s helped the Bears to a 2-1 record in their subsequent three matches.
Therefore, we have two high profile teams, each led by unfamiliar quarterbacks, who have limited NFL experience.
Think about the schedule, not past results
This game is the reverse fixture from Week 4 when Green Bay (led by Aaron Rogers) entertained and defeated the Chicago Bears (who had Mike Glennon at quarterback) by 35-14. In that game, the hosts were favoured by around seven points, with the total set at around 46 points.
If we take a generic three points for home field advantage, subtracting three from Green Bay’s point advantage it would make them a four-point favourite at a neutral venue and a narrow one-point favourite when travelling to play in Chicago.
However, the change at quarterback for Sunday’s game sees the Packers quoted as five-point underdogs (Green Bay +5 is priced at 2.040*) indicating that the betting market believes the Bears have a major advantage compared to the earlier Thursday night meeting.
Logistically, the Bears are favoured by the scheduling. Green Bay played at home to divisional rivals the Detroit Lions on Monday night (and lost) picking up additional injuries along the way. The Bears, however, were enjoying their bye week and enhanced preparation time for their rookie quarterback to expand his knowledge of their offensive schemes.
Packers vs. Bears betting: A lack of stats
Statistically, we are limited to fewer than 100 regular season passing plays for each of Sunday’s starting quarterbacks and such small sample sizes can often lead to extremes that aren’t indicative of a player’s future performance.
If we look at Mitchell Trubisky’s pass attempts, he has shown above average passing efficiency, throwing for an average yards per attempt that is around 6% longer than the pass defences he has faced habitually allow.
The line has moved from -7 in favour of earlier host side, Green Bay, to -5 for the Bears and the points total has fallen from 46 to around 38.
Brett Hundley, selected 147th overall in the 2015 draft has fared less well. He has thrown for only 78% of the average yardage per attempt compared to the average allowed by the three defences he has faced in 2017.
If we factor in the performances of the two absent quarterbacks from each side, the switch of play callers has made the Bears a more efficient passing team and the Packers less so - a pattern that is repeated on the scoreboard.
The Bears are a more efficient points scoring unit under Trubisky, although the defence has also chipped in with turnovers and touchdowns. Green Bay is less prolific under Hundley, even with a late, untimed touchdown at the very end of Monday night’s defeat at the hands of Detroit.
Both teams boast an above average ground game. Each has faced teams that allow an average of 4 yards per rush, but the Bears are averaging 4.3 yards per carry and the Packers are up to 4.6.
Could defence be the key?
The Bears are marginally above par against both the pass and the run and are just above par in suppressing points allowed and the defence has stepped up in support of their new quarterback, although the caveat is a sample size of just four games.
The Packers, on the other hand, stray just over the line into below average efficiency against the pass and points allowed - they do their best, above par work against the run.
Sunday’s game is an intriguing encounter, not least from a betting point of view when compared to the meeting between the sides earlier in the year.
The line has moved from -7 in favour of earlier host side, Green Bay, to -5 for the Bears and the points total has fallen from 46 to around 38. It’s difficult to disagree with these sentiments.
A comparison of the two sides under their new quarterbacks favours the home field Bears by at least a touchdown and pitches the points total as one of the lower quotes this season in the region of 37.