It is, perhaps, a sign of the times – and of the Los Angeles Rams’ capabilities – that a first-place Chicago Bears team is an underdog at home in December.
Los Angeles, with quarterback Jared Goff behind center, are three-point road favorites on the NFL odds for Week 14 against the Bears with a 51-point total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
This is the first time since 2013 that a Bears team with a winning record has been an underdog in a December game at Soldier Field. The Rams are 12-2 straight-up and 8-6 against the spread on the road over the last two seasons. The Bears, who are getting No. 1 quarterback Mitch Trubisky back from a shoulder injury, are 6-1 SU and ATS in their last seven games at home.
The Rams, favorites on the Super Bowl odds, are 11-1 SU and 5-5-2 ATS this season, but this is only their second game where they have been favored by fewer than 6 points. The main question surrounding the Rams will be how often Goff will have a clean pocket in the face of a pass rush led by Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack.
Chicago’s defensive unit is in the top five of the NFL in total defense and scoring defense. The teams are also Nos. 1 and 2 in the NFL in takeaway/giveaway ratio. Bettors will need to make a call on what they think is more likely – the Rams’ offense and running back Todd Gurley, whose 11 turnovers include zero lost fumbles in the running game, coughing up the ball or the Bears, with a NFL-most 30 takeaways, continuing their ball-hawking ways.
The Bears, 8-4 both SU and ATS, have shown a strong tendency to be a first-half team this season, allowing just 6.2 offensive points in the first two quarters vis-à-vis 13.3 in the last two quarters. Those in doubt about the final outcome could scoot over to taking Chicago to cover as 1.5-point underdogs for the first half in NFL betting at the sportsbooks.
Whether Chicago can avoid another second-half regression could depend on whether dual threat Trubisky and running back Jordan Howard, the main options in a ground game that is sixth-last in the NFL in yards per rush, can produce sustained drives, giving the defense time to rest in between bouts with Gurley.
Another concern regarding the Bears is whether an offensive line that gives up sacks at a higher rate than its Rams counterparts can slow down Los Angeles’ Aaron Donald, whose 16.5 sacks have him on the verge of the NFL single-season record for a defensive tackle.
The total has gone OVER in six of the Rams’ last seven games in December. The total has gone OVER in four of the Bears’ last five home games, with an average combined score of 52.4 points.
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