Bears vs. Saints Preview: Saints Heavily Favored to Oust Bears

Will there be one more playoff run in the Drew Brees era for the New Orleans Saints? Their quest starts Sunday when the NFC South champion Saints (12-4), the NFC’s #2 seed, host the seventh-seeded Chicago Bears (8-8). Their wild-card matchup is slated to kick off at 4:40 pm ET/3:40 pm local time Sunday on CBS. The Saints are currently favored by 10 at Bovada, and the total is currently 48.

Since a 1-2 start, the Saints have been one of the league’s best teams. On the other side, the Bears started strong, faltered, then recovered late to make the playoffs. The Saints are the biggest favorites of Super Wild Card Weekend, but will they back it up? Here’s a look at the matchup.

Chicago Bears Betting News

The Bears started 5-1 then lost six in a row to damage their playoff hopes. But a timely three-game win streak, combined with Arizona faltering, saw the Bears get in despite a home loss to Green Bay in Week 17.

QB Mitchell Trubisky, benched in Week 3 for Nick Foles, returned in Week 12 for an injured Foles. Trubisky has not been spectacular, but he has kept his spot. His numbers in six starts are solid: 148 of 211 (70.1%), 1,495 yards, 10 TD, 5 INT. RB David Montgomery was another key to the playoff push. In his last six games, he ran for 598 yards and seven touchdowns.

The Bears mustered only 16 points against the Packers, but an offensive surge led their turnaround. In Foles’s seven starts, the Bears averaged 16.7 ppg, with a high of only 23 points. With Trubisky back, they averaged 30.2 points and scored 30+ points four times.

Linebacker Roquan Smith injured his elbow against Green Bay and his status is a concern. Smith has been a standout–139 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, four sacks, two INTs–and his absence would be a huge blow. The outlook is also uncertain for rookie receiver Darnell Mooney, who hurt his ankle late against the Packers after posting career highs with 11 catches for 93 yards. Mooney is the team’s second-leading receiver with 61 catches for 631 yards and four touchdowns.

Cornerback Buster Skrine (66 tackles) missed the Green Bay game with a concussion, and his postseason status remains to be seen as well. However, fellow corner Jaylon Johnson (44 tackles, 15 passes defended) could return after missing the last three games with a shoulder injury.

New Orleans Saints Betting News

The Saints weathered a midseason injury to Brees to lock down the NFC South, but they could not keep the top spot in the NFC, with the 13-3 Packers taking the #1 seed.

After losing to Kansas City in his return, the Saints won Brees’ last two starts, scoring 85 points in the process. RB Alvin Kamara, who had an NFL record-tying six rushing touchdowns in Week 16 against the Vikings, missed Week 17 due to a positive COVID test. That also took out Latavius Murray and the rest of their running back group, who were considered close contacts with Kamara. But the Saints could survive if there are absences against Chicago. Fill-in Ty Montgomery, elevated from the practice squad, had 18 carries for 105 yards last Sunday at Carolina, and reserve QB/utility man Taysom Hill ran for 457 yards and eight touchdowns this season.

The Saints’ defense was statistically one of the league’s best. They were fourth in yards (310.9 ypg), fourth in rushing (93.9 ypg), fifth in passing (217.0 ypg), and fifth in scoring (21.1 ppg). They were also tied for first in interceptions (18) and tied for third in takeaways (26). No other team similarly finished in the top five in all of those categories.

Betting Information

See Bovada for updated lines and odds.

Spread: Chicago +10 (-115), New Orleans -10 (-105)

Moneyline: Chicago +350, New Orleans Saints -500

Total: Over 48 (-110), Under 48 (-110)

Key Trends & Best Odds

  • The two teams met in Chicago in Week 8, with the Saints winning 26-23 in overtime.
  • The Bears were 5-3 on the road, with no wins against teams who finished .500 or better.
  • The Saints were 6-2 at home. The only two losses were to AFC #1 Kansas City (32-29 in Week 15) and NFC #1 Green Bay (37-30 in Week 3).
  • The Bears averaged 25.8 ppg on the road this season and 30.2 ppg in Trubisky’s last six starts. Their team total is 19.5 (O -110, U -120).
  • The Saints averaged 31.6 points at home. Their team total is 28.5 (O -110, U -120).
  • Bears kicker Cairo Santos kicked multiple field goals in nine games, including each of the last four. Chicago’s field goal O/U odds are O 1.5 (+100)/U 1.5 (-139).
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Ryan
A sports enthusiast, Ryan helps cover sports betting news from around the country, highlighting some of the more interesting events going on in the USA.