Packers vs. Bears NFL betting picks and predictions: Defense key to opening night Under

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There is no more appropriate way to kick off the NFL’s 100th season than with the sport’s oldest and greatest rivalry, as the Chicago Bears host the Green Bay Packers Thursday night at Soldier Field.

These storied NFC North foes enter this game with reversed roles, as it’s now the Bears and their vaunted defense who enter the season as the favorites to win the division, instead of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Either way, oddsmakers are expecting another close contest between these heated rivals with the Bears listed as 3-point home faves. So, who has the edge? From the opening kickoff to the final whistle, we break down the best ways to wager the opening game of the 2019-20 NFL season.

QUICK HITTER

So, it’s Year 2 of the Khalil Mack era with the Bears, and boy, did Rodgers hate having the former Raider in his division. With Mack at the helm, the Bears limited the Packers to an average of 20.5 points per game in their two meetings last season. They also got to Packers quarterbacks for nine sacks and two picks (albeit one against DeShone Kizer).

Most impressively though, they shut out Rodgers and the Packers in the first quarter in both of last year’s matchups. Now, the difference this time around will be new head coach Matt LaFleur and the new-look Packers offense. But with this being opening night, and the Bears crowd should be roaring early, and we like them to enter the second quarter with a lead.

Pick: Bears -0.5 First Quarter Spread

FIRST HALF

It may seem like overkill. But the Bears defense was really, really good in both of these matchups (despite a fourth quarter collapse in the opening game last season). And well, in general. Not only did the Bears give Rodgers fits, they stifled the ground game, limiting Packers running backs to just 3.5 yards per carry. The result? Green Bay scored a total of three, count ‘em three, first half points in those two games with the Bears.

Like we mentioned, it will be interesting to see the marriage between LaFleur and Rodgers comes together. There are rumors that coach and quarterback don’t exactly see eye-to-eye when it comes to audibles at the line, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out early on. And with Mitchell Trubisky under center for the Bears, who knows what’s in store for the Bears offense.

Pick: Under 23 First Half Total

TEAM/PLAYER TOTAL

One thing we do know about Matt Nagy and his offense, is that apparently every single person in the Bears organization is in love with rookie running back David Montgomery. The Iowa State product got rave reviews out of camp and with Jordan Howard now a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, there are 250 carries up for grabs. The Bears offensive line is a cohesive unit and is fully healthy and while the Packers defense could make see improvements this season, the run defense still has some holes, particularly at linebacker. We like the nation’s leader in broken tackles to cross the goal line in his NFL debut.

Pick: David Montgomery to Score a TD (+125)

FULL GAME TOTAL

This matchup went 1-1 Over/Under last season, which made many Under bettors sick in Week 1 last year, after the Packer’s 21-point fourth quarter comeback. Even with that outburst, these teams combined to score 44 points per game.

While it will be hard for Chicago to repeat the kind of defensive numbers they had from a season ago, with Mack leading the way, this unit is the one that can do it. Chuck Pagano steps in at defensive coordinator for the Bears after Vic Fangio got the head coaching vacancy in Denver, so there shouldn’t be much of a drop off there.

But it feels like Trubisky is the only thing that can could the Bears back this season. His inconsistencies from a year ago were infuriating to Bears fans. His accuracy was all over the place and threw for over 250 yards just four times last season. If the Bears want to take the step, Trubisky has to first.

Pick: Under 46.5

FULL GAME SIDE

That said, the Bears were a double-doink from being in the NFC Championship game, and who knows what else. Any kind of improvement from Trubisky is a bonus.

While it really seems like chemistry could be an issue between LaFleur (a Kyle Shanahan/Sean McVay disciple) and Rodgers. LaFleur’s offense relies on precise route running and is supposed to get the defense to show its hand pre-snap. But Rodgers loves getting a read from the line. So, it’s going to be really interesting to see how it all plays out.

All things considered: The Bears. At home. Opening night. Close your eyes Bears fans. Buy the half-point to lay 2.5 with the home team as this game could come down to *gasp* a field goal.

Pick: Bears Alternate Spread -2.5

Canucks vs Golden Knights picks and predictions for Game 1

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Perhaps no team has been more fun to follow during the NHL playoffs than the Vancouver Canucks, and hockey bettors can still get the Canucks at +1,300 to hoist Lord Stanley’s cup. Vancouver is coming off a thrilling series win against the defending champion St. Louis Blues, but now a much more difficult challenge awaits. The Vegas Golden Knights are +350 favorites to win it all, and they’ve certainly looked the part while dropping only one playoff contest.

Game 1 of this series gets underway Sunday, so we’re here to bring you our NHL picks and predictions in this Western Conference semifinal showdown.

Vancouver Canucks vs Vegas Golden Knights betting preview

Starting Goalies

Canucks: Jacob Markstrom – playoffs – 7-3, 2.44 GAA, .929 SV% (season – 23-16, 2.75 GAA, .918 SV%)

Golden Knights: Robin Lehner – playoffs – 5-1, 2.44 GAA, .904 SV% (season – 19-10, 2.89, .920 SV%)

If this game was actually played in Las Vegas, then Markstrom could easily spend a few hours performing with Cirque du Soleil. The 30-year-old dazzled against Blues with an eye-opening array of acrobatic saves and an impressive 7-3 record. He’ll need to provide more of the same against a dangerous Vegas squad.

The Knights will likely roll with Robin Lehner, who has taken over the spot as Vegas’s starter in the crease—and rightfully so. Still, the Knights have the luxury of having Marc-Andre Fleury as their “backup.” The five-time All-Star matched an NHL record this season with his 14th consecutive playoff appearance.

Injuries

Vancouver: Tyler Myers D (out), Tyler Toffoli RW (out), Micheal Ferland LW (out), Josh Leivo LW (out)

Vegas: Tomas Nosek LW (out)

Betting Trend to Know

Canucks are 0-6 in their last six Sunday games. Find the latest NHL betting trends for Canucks vs. Golden Knights.

MONEYLINE PICK

The Canucks have been a force with the extra man during the postseason, converting 26.2% of their power plays. While the Knights are known for their offensive firepower, it’s their stingy defense that allows them to suffocate opponents—as evidenced by an 86.4% penalty kill during their playoff run. Vancouver is the only team in the league to never beat Vegas in regulation, going 0-11 all time. That’s something I just can’t ignore.

PREDICTION: Vegas ML (-175)

OVER/UNDER PICK

Each team is filled with loads of offensive talent. Vancouver’s Bo Horvat and J.T. Miller have combined for 11 goals thus far. Elias Pettersson has racked up 13 points, tied with Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon for the playoff lead.

The Knights can match Vancouver’s scorers, but they’re more balanced—Shea Theodore, Alex Tuch and Mark Stone have each lit the lamp four times during the postseason. The difference is on defense, where Vancouver has allowed the most high-danger chances of all remaining playoff teams.

PREDICTION: Over 5.5 (-110)

PROP PICK

Though I like Vegas to win, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Canucks kept it close and continued their offensive success. I’ll take a flyer on Vancouver scoring at least three goals.

PREDICTION: Canucks total goals Over 2.5 (-100)

Canucks vs Golden Knights Betting Card

  • Vegas ML (-175)
  • Over 5.5 (-110)
  • Canucks total goals Over 2.5 (-100)
NHL Parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed today’s NHL Canucks vs Golden Knights picks, you could win $104.93 on a $10 bet?

Use our NHL parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

Verlander injury shuffles Astros’ MLB futures odds

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MLB betting got a shake-up Sunday afternoon, specifically on World Series odds and AL pennant odds, with news that Astros star pitcher Justin Verlander could miss the rest of the season – or at least a significant chunk of it – with an arm injury.

Initial reports suggested Verlander had an elbow ailment, but both he and manager Dusty Baker quickly denied that. Baker called it a forearm strain and said that Verlander would be re-evaluated in “a couple of weeks.” The reigning AL Cy Young winner pitched a solid six innings in an 8-2 Opening Day rout of the Seattle Mariners on Friday.

Verlander’s injury led oddsmakers to shuffle futures book odds on the defending AL champions. Covers checked in on the MLB odds moves with a couple of Las Vegas sportsbooks.

How does Verlander’s injury affect Astros’ World Series odds?

At CG Technology books, risk analyst Rich Zanco said the Astros quickly moved from +1,200 to +1,800 in World Series futures. The SuperBook at Westgate also had Houston pegged +1,200 prior to Sunday’s news and initially went to +1,600, then dialed it a little further to +1,800.

However, there were apparently buyers on the Astros at that point, prompting the SuperBook to reel the price in to +1,400.

How does Verlander’s injury affect Astros’ American League odds?

In AL pennant futures, the Astros initially moved from +600 to +800 at The SuperBook, then ticked back to +700.

World Series odds

Team Odds to win
Los Angeles Dodgers +350
New York Yankees +350
Houston Astros +600
Atlanta Braves +1,600
Minnesota Twins +1,600
Tampa Bay Rays +1,800
Washington Nationals +2,000
Cleveland Indians +2,000
New York Mets +2,000
Chicago Cubs +2,000
Oakland Athletics +2,000
St. Louis Cardinals +2,500
Cincinnati Reds +2,500
San Diego Padres +2,500
Philadelphia Phillies +3,000
Chicago White Sox +3,000
Los Angeles Angels +3,000
Milwaukee Brewers +4,000
Boston Red Sox +5,000
Arizona Diamondbacks +6,000
Colorado Rockies +8,000
Toronto Blue Jays +10,000
Texas Rangers +10,000
Pittsburgh Pirates +20,000
Detroit Tigers +20,000
San Francisco Giants +30,000
Seattle Mariners +30,000
Miami Marlins +30,000
Baltimore Orioles +30,000
Kansas City Royals +30,000

Odds courtesy The SuperBook