Eagles vs. Bears 2013 Odds

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Breaking down this week's betting lines.

Getting this one up a bit late, but it's a late game, so that seems fair. Split the action last week, hitting the over but missing on the spread (I took the Eagles). However, I warned everyone to keep the stakes small, so at least the losses should have been either completely mitigated or minimized.

For tonight's game, the easy thing to do is STAY AWAY. We won't know until after the afternoon games whether either the Eagles or Bears have anything to play for, and regardless of what the teams say, that makes a difference. So...if either team has no incentive to win (if Dallas wins for example), then do not touch this game. It's just too difficult to project how players will react to that type of situation (let alone the coaches).

However, from here I'll proceed as though both teams will be trying their hardest.

The Spread: Opened at Eagles -3.5, it now stands at Eagles -3.

The Over/Under: Opened at 55, now stands at 55.5 or 56, depending on the source.

The Spread

The Bears are good. Probably better than you think. They're the 9th ranked team by DVOA (Football Outsiders), the Eagles are 11th.

On offense, the Eagles rank 3rd overall, compared to a Bears defense that ranks 22nd. That obviously looks like a good matchup for the Birds.

On defense, the Eagles rank 25th overall, against a Bears offense that ranks 4th overall (that's the surprising part).

Special Teams, unfortunately, look to be a big Chicago advantage, as their ranked 14 spots higher than the Eagles by DVOA (12th compared to 26th.)

Looking to their resumes, the Eagles (as we all know) won five straight games before last week, including wins over Arizona and Detroit. Of course we can't ignore a loss the Minnesota. Interestingly, Chicago ALSO lost recently to the Vikings, falling by 3 points on December 1st. Their last two games have been wins over the Cowboys and Browns.

Both teams have a point differential of +15.

All together, we're looking at two very similar teams. Carried by their offenses, plagued by defense. The biggest difference is the relative variance. The Eagles now have the 2nd highest variance among NFL teams, while the Bears have 10th lowest. So on average, the Bears are a lot more predictable.

In general, when the teams are this closely matched up, take the points. However, the wild card here is Jay Cutler. He's back, and that's good news for Eagles fans. You don't have to be a genius to realize that turnovers are likely going to decide tonights game, and between Foles and Cutler, there's a HUGE difference in interception propensity. That tells me the Eagles are more likely to win, but of course, that's reflected in the spread.

I broke my own "cardinal rule" last week, and it burned me (if the public is sprinting one way, bet heavily in the other direction), so I'm not going to do it again so soon. Even matchup, take the points.

Bears +3

Just to repeat, all bets are OFF if either team has nothing to play for.

The Over/Under

As the offense/defense breakdown shows, this SHOULD be a high-scoring game. The same caveat applies here (teams must be trying), but I don't see the Eagles stopping Alshon Jeffrey (who scares me more than Marshall does). Similarly, I don't see the Eagles having any trouble putting points up against the Bears.

I think the Eagles hit 30. I think the Bears do too (only missing if Cutler throws 2+ INTs)...

Combined, the teams are 18-10 against the O/U, meaning they've hit the over 18 times and missed just 10. With unseasonably high temperatures factored in as well, the better side is the over.

Wrapping up

Don't touch the game until you know if the teams have something to play for. If either one doesn't, stay away completely. If it's a meaningful game, however,

Bears +3

Over 55.5

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