Chicago at Minnesota Lines, Betting Pick & TV Info
The Chicago Bears would win by losing on Sunday in completing one of the worst seasons in franchise history. Why? Then the Bears would get the No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft behind Cleveland and San Francisco. But if the Bears win in Minnesota, they might slip to sixth. The Vikings are also playing out the string and don’t even own their 2017 first-round pick. Here’s a look at the NFL odds.
Chicago at Minnesota Lines, Betting Pick & TV Info
When: Sunday, Jan. 1, 1 PM ET
Where: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
Radio: Chicago / Minnesota
Stream Option: NFL Live
Opening NFL Lines: Vikings -5.5 (41)
Why Bet on Chicago?
The Bears (3-12) lost a third straight game in Week 16, 41-21 at home to Washington. Matt Barkley was intercepted five times. Barkley’s five picks matched the second-highest total in Bears history and were the most since Jay Cutler threw five against San Francisco on Nov. 12, 2009. Barkley also has thrown 12 interceptions in six games. That’s far too many picks for a successful starting quarterback. Not even Cutler tossed three-plus interceptions in back-to- back games — Barkley had three picks the week before versus Green Bay.
Cameron Meredith added 135 yards receiving and Alshon Jeffery had 92. Jordan Howard ran for 119 yards, but the Bears gave up a season high in yards for the second straight week. This time, Washington went off for 478. Somewhat lost in the wreckage of the season is the emergence of Meredith, who has a team-high 62 catches for 827 yards and four touchdowns. Franchise wideout Jeffery’s numbers (51 receptions, 811 yards, two touchdowns) declined in part due to the four-game suspension he served for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Lately, Meredith has evolved into Barkley’s preferred target in Chicago’s passing attack — even when Jeffery is active. Last season Meredith, an undrafted free agent out of Illinois State, had a meager 11 receptions for 120 yards in 11 games.
The best the Bears can do now is finish 4-12 and match their worst record since 2002. The last time they won fewer than four games in a non-strike year was when they went 3-11 in 1973.
Bears rookie OLB Leonard Floyd remains in the concussion protocol. Floyd suffered his second concussion in five weeks Saturday against the Redskins. It does not make any sense for the Bears to play him in a meaningless season finale. Floyd’s durability is a concern, but he did enough in 12 games to ensure a spot in the 2017 starting lineup. Just as defensive coordinator Vic Fangio predicted, Floyd sometimes looked overmatched, but other times, he rushed the passer with rare speed and athleticism that no one else on the roster owns.
The Vikings and Bears have met 111 total times, with all but one game coming in the regular season. Minnesota is 57-51- 2 against Chicago in the regular season and 0-1 in the postseason. The Vikings beat Chicago twice last season but will be looking to avoid getting swept by the Bears this time around.
Why Bet on Minnesota?
The Vikings (7-8) were the NFL’s last unbeaten this season at 5-0 but obviously have won just twice since then. They were eliminated from the playoffs with last week’s 38-25 loss in Green Bay. Playing again without running back Adrian Peterson, the Vikings had success through the air. Sam Bradford threw for 382 yards and three touchdowns, including a 71-yard touchdown pass to Adam Thielen in the second quarter. Thielen had a career-high 202 yards and two scores. WR Stefon Diggs (hip) was active after being listed as questionable coming into the game, and finished with 29 yards and a touchdown on four catches.
Bradford has completed 370 of 519 passes for 3,627 yards with 17 touchdowns and four interceptions this season. He has a completion percentage of 71.3 and can break the single-season record of 71.2 with another efficient game Sunday. Tight end Kyle Rudolph is 2nd in the NFC in receptions among TEs (Greg Olsen, 77) with a career-high 72. Rudolph also ranks 3rd among NFC TEs in yards with 723 and tied for 2nd in TDs with 6.
Vikings LB Chad Greenway said he has not decided if Sunday’s game will be the final one of his career. Greenway entered the season with the intent to retire after playing out a one-year deal, but he said the final decision will not be made until after the season finale against the Bears.
“Then we can take some time to think about it and reflect and make sure we’re all in a position where we know what we want to do,” Greenway said. The soon-to- be 34-year- old has been an effective player on limited snaps this year.
The Vikings defense, which ranks 2nd in the NFL allowing 314.3 yards per game, is also ranked 8th in points allowed per game (19.8). 2nd-year DE Danielle Hunter leads all NFL DEs with 12.0 sacks while veteran DEs Everson Griffen (8.0) and Brian Robison (7.0) are 2nd and 3rd on the team. The Vikings are the only team in the NFL to have 3 DEs with 7+ sacks this season. The Vikings defensive line has combined for 32.0 sacks this season, the highest total in the NFL. The Vikings are the only team in the NFL to have 3 DEs with 7.0+ sacks this season — Hunter (12.0), Griffen (8.0) and Robison (7.0).
Chicago at Minnesota Betting Pick: Minnesota Vikings
Under is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings in Minnesota.
Home team is 20-8 ATS in their last 28 meetings.
Take Vikings in NFL betting and the under.