The NFL kicked off on Thursday, and the action continues to heat up this Sunday night. The Packers host the Bears in an NFC North showdown. For this game and every other primetime contest, we’ll break down the betting lines and recommend where to place your bets at DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook.
Keep an eye on injury news right up until kick off since things can change quickly in the NFL. Any player listed as questionable may see limited action or not suit up at all if they don’t respond well in warm-ups.
Week 1 Sunday Night Football
Chicago Bears (20) at Green Bay Packers (27.5)
DraftKings Line: Packers -7.5
Over/Under Total: 47.5
The Packers have won four straight against their divisional rivals by an average of 11.75 points. That includes a 21-point win at home over Chicago in Week 4 last season. But this Bears team should be far more capable now that second-year QB Mitch Trubisky has some experience under his belt.
Chicago’s strength has long been on the defensive side of the ball. The Bears ranked fourth in non-adjusted passing DVOA and second in non-adjusted DVOA against the run last season. They recorded the seventh-most sacks in the NFL last year and just added 2016 Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack, who has recorded 36.5 sacks over the past three seasons.
Chicago allowed the second-fewest pass plays of 20-plus yards and the fifth-fewest passing touchdowns last season. Bears DC Vic Fangio has held Aaron Rodgers and company in check to a degree. Now, he has more talent in the front seven with Prince Amukamara and Kyle Fuller locking things down at cornerback.
The line opened with Green Bay as nine-point favorites with an implied 28.5-point total for the Packers, mostly because of Rodgers reputation. He’s been as good as any QB in history at Lambeau and a win is likely. But taking the Bears with 7.5 points seems like the best way to attack the spread.
Green Bay will likely use Jamaal Williams as its lead back with Aaron Jones suspended and Ty Montgomery (foot) banged up. Williams is an uninspiring runner. He averaged just 3.63 YPC last year.
The Packers should throw more often than not, with Davante Adams likely leading the team in targets. Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison will fight for scraps behind Adams. That said, Cobb’s matchup is arguably the best against a Bears team that’s more vulnerable to slot receivers.
New acquisition Jimmy Graham could make an impact in the red zone, but he might be a player to avoid in DFS contests. After all, the Bears allowed just 37.3 receiving YPG to opposing TEs last season.
On the Chicago offensive side, Trubisky is expected to make a bit of a leap in his first full season. He’s working with a new HC in Matt Nagy and a new OC in Mark Helfrich. The latter coached under Chip Kelly at the University of Oregon.
Helfrich’s offense should feature more creative formations and produce more high-percentage completions for Trubisky, allowing the Bears to potentially capitalize on a below-average Packers secondary. Green Bay ranked 27th in pass DVOA and 32nd in DVOA against the opposition’s top WR last year.
Then, new acquisition Allen Robinson could have a nice debut for the Bears. He’s a player to consider in DFS tournaments along with TE Trey Burton, who is likely to see far more opportunities after moving on from a limited role with the Eagles.
A new, faster-paced offense should also benefit pass-catching specialist Tarik Cohen. The 5-foot-8 back should share time with Jordan Howard out of the backfield. If Nagy follows the principles of the Chiefs (where he was formerly OC), he should look to get the ball to those backs on quick-hit passes.
In short, the Bears have more firepower and a more capable coaching staff than in years past. On Sunday, they should be able to keep pace with Green Bay and stay within a touchdown. Over 70% of the money is currently on the Bears plus the points.