The Vikings, who have won the NFC North, can earn a first-round bye with a win or a Carolina loss or a win by either New Orleans or the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. The Bears are playing out the string under embattled coach John Fox. Minnesota is a double-digit online sportsbook betting favorite in the NFL betting odds.
Bears at Vikings Week 17 NFL Betting Odds & Expert Pick
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) December 28, 2017
When: Sunday, 1 PM ET
Where: US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
Radio: WBBM 780 AM (Chicago) / KFAN 1270 AM (Minnesota)
Stream Option: NFL Live
Opening NFL Betting Odds: Vikings -11.5 (39.5)
On a Monday night in Week 5, the Vikings won an ugly 20-17 game at Chicago. It was arguably the worst first half of football this year with the Vikes leading 3-2. Kai Forbath kicked a 26-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the game after Harrison Smith intercepted Bears rookie QB Mitch Trubisky. That was Trubisky’s NFL starting debut and he was 12 of 25 for 128 yards with a touchdown. Sam Bradford started the game at QB for Minnesota – the last time he saw the field – but was benched late in the first half as he was struggling and clearly still injured. Case Keenum replaced him with 25 seconds left in the first half and went 17 of 21 for 140 yards and a touchdown.
Why Bet on Chicago?
Well, the Bears have truly nothing to lose as they play out the string. Expect plenty of gadget plays, going for it on fourth down, that kind of stuff. This is expected to be the final game as Bears coach for John Fox. It would be the biggest upset of the season if he’s not fired on Monday.
Fox is 3-14 against NFC North opponents heading into the season finale. Last week’s 20-3 victory over the Cleveland Browns last Sunday was the first win in his time as Chicago coach when his team was favored in a game. Not covering — winning. Not a single Bear has been selected to the initial Pro Bowl roster in any of Fox’s three years in Chicago.
The Bears are likely pleased with Trubisky’s rookie season, although he has a long way to go. Last week against the Browns, he completed 14-of-23 passes for 193 yards while rushing seven times for 44 yards and a touchdown. He closed the victory with a 4-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter on a quarterback draw. Trubisky surpassed Kyle Orton for the most passing yards by a Bears’ quarterback in his rookie season (2,015 and counting).
What Does Trubisky Say About Sunday’s Game?
Trubisky said thinks the game will slow down for him when he faces the Vikings for a second time on Sunday. He said he has a far better grasp of the Bears’ playbook and has learned how to better prepare for games than in Week 5.
Trubisky is good at using his legs to extend drives as well as to extend plays to find open receivers. The Vikings will devise a rush plan with this in mind, and that plan may result in fewer sacks but should also result in a lower completion percentage and passing yardage total.
The Bears are giving up 11.3 points per game over their last four games and their front seven is a physical group that will challenge a Vikings offensive line that will be down at least one starter (Nick Easton).
Why Bet on Minnesota?
The Vikings have never finished the regular season with 13 wins. Minnesota, which can get there Sunday, has finished with 12 wins five times, the last being the 2009 season.
The Vikings can’t rest players here as they need a win to lock up a first-round bye. They can still get it with a loss but far from a sure thing. The Vikings have gone 6-1 both straight-up and ATS at home, with the ATS mark being the second best in the NFL this year. Overall, the Vikings are 11-4 ATS on the year, which is the best mark in the NFL. The Vikings have also won five of six in this series.
Bears running back Jordan Howard ranks sixth in the NFL with 1,113 rushing yards, and is averaging 74.2 yards per game. But the Vikings defense ranks second against the run by allowing 87.1 yards per game.
How Has the Defense Been This Season?
The Vikings defense ranks first in the NFL in both yards allowed per game (280.9) and points allowed per game (16.1). The last time Minnesota led the league in points allowed per game was 1970. The Vikings defense has allowed 19 rushing plays of 10-plus yards this season, the fewest in the NFL. Since 1991, the fewest 10-plus yard runs allowed by a team in a full season was 20 by the 1995 San Francisco 49ers.
The Vikings offense, which ranks 10th in the NFL in yards per game (358.9), has been led by WR Adam Thielen, who is fifth in the NFL with 1,215 receiving yards and tied for seventh in the NFL with 85 receptions, and Keenum, who has completed 67.3 percent of his passes (fourth in NFL), and has stepped in to start 13 games, posting a 10-3 record. Keenum has compiled 21 touchdowns, seven interceptions and a career-best 98.1 passer rating.
The Vikings offense is tied for third in the NFL with 66 plays of 20-plus yards, 14 of which have come on the ground, tied for fourth-most in the NFL behind the Eagles (18), Saints (17) and Bills (16). The Vikings have 12 scoring drives of 80-plus yards in 2017, eight more than they totaled in all of 2016.
Latest NFL Betting Trends
- Chicago is 2-4-1 ATS in its last 7 games
- Chicago is 2-6 SU in its last 8 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Chicago’s last 5 games
- Minnesota is 9-1 ATS in its last 10 games
- Minnesota is 10-1 SU in its last 11 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Minnesota’s last 6 games
Expert Prediction & NFL Pick for Week 17
I always take double-digit points in the NFL betting odds and will do so here. Bears will at least play hard and only lose by 10.