Saturday, September 21, 2013

NFL Predictions 2013 Week 3: Bears vs Steelers

Chicago Bears vs Pittsburgh Steelers: CHI -2.5 (Bet365)

Market Watch

I'm not going to mince words about this pick. Laying points with Jay Cutler on the road in Pittsburgh in a spotlight matchup makes me nervous. I've seen him self-destruct too many times in games like this. I've also seen the Steelers rise up and snatch a victory when they have no business even being in the game. Yet, unlike last week, I like the point spread in this game.

In the LVH look-ahead line, the Bears were favored by -2.5 points. When the dust settled on Monday night, it re-opened at -2. Essentially, perceptions haven't changed. The Bears are clearly the better football team right now, but sportsbooks and bettors aren't willing to take that next step and make them full field goal favorites on the road (yet).

This could change given the fact that this is a prime-time game on Sunday night, but I imagine if this hits 3, the pros will come in and take the Steelers as home-field dogs.

To no one's surprise, 83% of the early action is on the Bears.

FULL ANALYSIS

Bottom Line

First of all, the Bears offensive line has only given up one sack this year against two highly regarded defensive lines. In contrast, their own defensive line only has two sacks to it's name.  What kind of world do we live in??

In all seriousness, despite the lack of production from the Bears defensive front, the talent is there to get the job done. It's far too early to raise red flags unless their drought continues into October. The same can't be said for the Steelers defense though. They themselves have no turnovers to speak of and only one sack. This is a problem that goes back to last season - with largely the same cast of characters.

Cutler is in a new system he likes with better protection and better weapons at the skill positions. The opposite rings true for the Steelers offense. Injuries and free agency have left them depleted, and there's far too much pressure on Big Ben to do it all himself. And let's not even talk about Todd Haley's bizarre play-calling.

With a better offense and a better defense, the obvious pick here is the Bears. I do have reservations, but the mismatches on paper outweigh all the situational variables/intangibles for me.