Bears vs Rams NFL betting picks and predictions: Chicago’s pass rush will bring the heat

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It’s only Week 11 in the NFL but the Los Angeles Rams are in win-now mode as they host the Chicago Bears. Last year’s Super Bowl runners up are 5-4 but are falling behind in the NFC West and can’t afford to lose as 6-point favorites on Sunday night. From the opening kickoff to the final whistle we break down the odds with our best bets and predictions for this primetime matchup.  **video

CHICAGO BEARS AT LOS ANGELES RAMS (-6, 40)

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Both of these teams have struggled to move the chains this season. In the first quarter, the Rams average just 3.6 points per game while the Bears score just 2.7. Touchdowns will be a premium on Sunday night so if either side does make it deep into enemy territory they may have to settle for a field goal.

The Rams boast one of the top kickers in the league in Greg Zuerlein and 11 of his 17 field goals this season have come in the first half. The Bears have had kicking problems for a while now but their incumbent kicker Eddy Pineiro has connected on 12 FGs with eight of those coming within the first 30 minutes. We like the first score of the game to be a field goal.

PICK: First Score Field Goal (+110)

FIRST HALF BET

The scoring woes for both teams continue throughout the first half, with Chicago putting up 8.1 ppg in the first 30 minutes, while L.A. scores 10.7.

The Bears have looked absolutely putrid on offense this year and there is already plenty of talk that quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, the 3rd pick overall in the 2017 draft, will be replaced by next year. Trubisky is coming off arguably his best game of the season but when you consider that he threw for just 173 yards in that contest – against a terrible Lions pass defense – you realize just how ineffective he has been.

The Rams have the first overall pick in the 2016 draft under center, but Jared Goff hasn’t been much better than Trubisky in 2019. Goff has completed just 60.3 percent of his passes while throwing nine interceptions and he seems to fall apart every time he faces pressure. And rest assured Khalil Mack and Chicago will be bringing the pressure.

With Chicago holding opponents to just 7.4 ppg in the first half (fourth-best in the league) and the Rams holding opponents to 9.8 ppg (7th best), take the 1H Under.

PICK: First half Under 20

TEAM/PLAYER PROP

There’s no question Trubisky has been bad but part of the blame for his shortcomings can be placed on the Bears offensive line which has allowed 27 sacks this season. They also had to shut down their best blocker, guard Kyle Long, for the season at the beginning of October. That’s bad news against a Rams pass rush that has generated 13 sacks over the last three games and is led by the best interior pass rusher in the league in Aaron Donald.

A large part of the Rams’ success last year was due to their offensive line but that unit has taken a step back this year. Despite only giving up 1.8 sacks per game they’ve given up a fair bit of pressure and will have to deal with that fierce Bears pass rush we mentioned previously. Donald and Mack have both had quiet seasons by their own lofty standards but both could be due for a breakout game in primetime. We like the Over 4.5 on the sack total.

PICK: Over 4.5 Sacks (-120)

FULL GAME TOTAL

OK, we’ve been picking on the starting QBs enough, time to take potshots at the rest of the offensive players in this game. After all, when you rank 21st (Los Angeles) and 26th (Chicago) in the league in offensive DVOA according to Football Outsiders, the problems go beyond the signal-callers.

The Bears have few offensive weapons and one of their only bright spots, rookie running back David Montgomery will be a game-time decision with an ankle injury. Even if Montgomery plays, a nicked up RB that averages 3.6 yards per carry probably isn’t going to do much against a Rams D that holds opponents to just 3.3 yards per rush.

The Rams have an excellent trio of wide receivers in Cooper Kupp, Roberts Woods and Brandin Cooks. However, Cooks is expected to miss Sunday’s game as he recovers from a concussion and L.A.’s run game has been largely ineffective which has made their offense one-dimensional. Injuries to right tackle Rob Havenstein and center Brian Allen have also decimated the Rams offensive line to the point where they are starting Austin Corbett (who wasn’t even good enough to start on the Cleveland Browns god-awful O-line).

As bad as both teams have been on offense, they’ve been excellent on the defensive side of the ball. The Rams rank fourth in the league in defensive DVOA, while the Bears are in fifth place.

The Rams have cashed in on the Under in each of their last four games while the Bears have hit the Under in their previous three contests. Take the Under again.

PICK: Under 40

FULL GAME SIDE

Both of these teams entered the season with Super Bowl aspirations but have failed to live up to them. The Bears are 1-4 SU and ATS over their last five games. Their only win in the span was a 20-13 victory last week against the Lions who had to start back up QB Jeff Driskel.

The Rams are coming off a 12-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Their offense was actually even worse than that score suggests, with the Rams defense scoring nine points off a Dante Fowler fumble return TD and an Aaron Donald safety.

The Bears allow just 17.4 ppg and that’s including the one game where they got destroyed by the Saints who scored 36 points. Take away that outlier and they give up just 15.1 ppg. A matter of fact other than that contest, all of the Bears’ losses have been very close. They lost by a single point to the Chargers, three points to the Raiders, were down five points to the Eagles before a last-minute field goal and trailed the Packers by just four points until a late fourth-quarter FG.

Six points is too much to spot a very strong Bears defense. Especially against a St. Louis offense that turns the ball over 1.8 times per game and seems to have lost the balance and explosiveness that made them so successful last season. Take Chicago and the points.

PICK: Chicago +6

PointsBet USA unveils partnership with Detroit Tigers

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In the absence of MLB games until – hopefully – later this month, MLB betting made some news Thursday with the announcement that PointsBet USA is now the official gaming partner of the Detroit Tigers. It’s the first such arrangement between a sports betting entity and an MLB team, made possible by PointsBet USA’s recent agreement with MLB designating the sportsbook as an authorized gaming operator by the league.

“The PointsBet team is excited to announce our groundbreaking deal with the Detroit Tigers and Major League Baseball, becoming the first legal sports betting operator in U.S. history to partner with an MLB franchise,” PointsBet USA CEO Johnny Aitken said in a news release. “We offer the most betting options in the world on MLB games via our unique PointsBetting product, and we are excited to inject a unique and robust betting proposition into the great state of Michigan.”

Michigan legalized sports betting in December, for both brick-and-mortar and online operators, and books began taking bets in March. PointsBet USA is not only the first book to partner with an MLB franchise, but the first to partner with any Michigan-based professional sports team.

As part of the multi-year deal, PointsBet USA will have TV broadcast-visible branding at Comerica Park, a sponsored presence on the Tigers’ digital platforms, and will be integrated into The District Detroit app and the MLB Ballpark app.

“We are thrilled to welcome PointsBet as a gaming partner of the Detroit Tigers,” said Chris Granger, group president of sports and entertainment for Ilitch Holdings. “Our incredible fans will love the unique experiences and innovative offerings that PointsBet’s personalized platform provides. We look forward to the fan-friendly enhancements this will bring to the game-day experience in and around Comerica Park for years to come.”

NBA betting: Eight seeding games to bet when NBA returns

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NBA betting is back on the board with the NBA season restarting in Orlando after the COVID-19 shutdown. From July 30-August 14, the 22 remaining teams with NBA Championship aspirations will face off against each other to determine playoff seeding, so get ready for some exciting matchups.

We take a look at eight must-bet NBA seeding games to watch as the league returns to action.

Clippers vs Lakers (-1.5, 218.5), July 30, 9 p.m. ET

When the Los Angeles Lakers, led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, take on Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers, the NBA doesn’t get much better than this. Opening day and Christmas Day also featured this marquee matchup and the opening night of the restart in Orlando will mark the fourth time this season that these LA rivals have faced off.

The Lakers are third in the NBA in scoring defense, allowing 106.9 points per game, while the Clippers hold opponents to just 43.6 percent shooting from the field, also third-best in the league. With both teams coming in off lengthy breaks, there may be some rust on the offensive end of the floor making the Under 218.5 an intriguing play.

Betting trend to watch: The Clips won the first two meetings while the Lakers won the last one in March. The Under hit in each of those contests with an average score of 108.7-106.7 in favor of the Clippers.

Celtics vs Bucks (-5, 217.5), July 31, 6:30 p.m. ET

Barring an absolute collapse, the Milwaukee Bucks will wrap up the No. 1 seed in the East, but they will still likely want to play MVP front-runner Giannis Antetokounmpo in this one just to shake off the cobwebs after the break.

This could be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals and it will be interesting to see how Boston Celtics point guard Kemba Walker looks after being hampered by knee issues following the All-Star break. Boston split the series with Milwaukee during the season and Walker torched the Bucks both times, scoring 32 points against them in November and putting up 40 on them in January.

Betting trend to watch: Milwaukee opened as a five-point favorite, with the total set at 217.5, but don’t count out the Celtics, who have gone an impressive 14-4 ATS as an underdog this season.

Rockets vs Mavericks (+1.5, 225.5), July 31, 9 p.m. ET

The battle between James Harden and Luka Doncic will be a treat for basketball fans, but the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks have plenty of firepower in addition to their All-NBA guards.

With the full game total for this contest opening at a reasonable 225.5, keep an eye on the first half total when it drops.

Betting trend to watch: Fast starts have been a trend for both squads, with Houston leading the league with 59.9 first-half points per game and Dallas second with 59.3 ppg. For good measure, the Rockets also rank 25th in the NBA in first-half scoring defense, surrendering 58.1 ppg.

Heat vs Nuggets (-1, 212.5), August 1, 1 p.m ET

Both the Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets could see their seeding change dramatically based on how they perform in Orlando. Miami has an absolute gauntlet to run through with its first four games against Denver, Toronto, Boston and Milwaukee.

The Nuggets have long had a massive edge at home, due to the increased elevation at the Pepsi Center, and losing that advantage in Orlando could hurt. Then again, Miami could be in the same boat considering that they posted an average scoring margin of plus-9.3 ppg at home — and that plummeted to minus-2.7 in away contests.

Betting trend to watch: The Heat have been one of the highest-scoring teams in the league during the first quarter, but have really struggled to put the ball in the hoop at the end of games, averaging just 26 ppg in the fourth quarter. With Denver holding opponents to just 26.2 fourth-quarter points per game on the road, this is a trend you’ll want to consider when live betting in the final 12 minutes.

Bucks vs Rockets, August 2, 8:30 p.m. ET

It’s always a blast watching two MVP favorites face off against each other, and after Harden came up short against Antetokounmpo last year there seems to be a lack of respect between the two superstars. The Greek Freak took a potshot at Harden when he selected his team during All-Star weekend, with the Rockets guard responding with, “I wish I could be 7 feet and run and just dunk. Like, that takes no skill at all.”

Betting trend to watch: Unfortunately for the small-ball Rockets, defending in the paint is their biggest weakness, especially after trading away Clint Capela left them with the 6’5″ PJ Tucker often manning the center position. Houston allows 51.5 ppg in the paint, sixth-worst in the league, and Giannis is the most dominant inside scorer since Shaq, putting up 29.6 ppg this season.

Grizzlies vs Pelicans, August 3, 6:30 p.m. ET

Not only will this matchup feature the two best rookies in the league in Ja Morant and Zion Williamson, but it will also be a prime spot for the New Orleans Pelicans to gain ground on the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.

New Orleans was impressive on offense even without Zion and have become even more unstoppable since the first-overall draft pick joined the team on January 22. Once Zion joined the fold the Pelicans averaged 120.1 ppg and played at the fastest pace in the league.

Betting trend to watch: Thanks in large part to Morant, Memphis also looks good on the offensive end of the floor, ranking seventh in the league in both possessions per game and shooting percentage. With both teams electrifying on offense – and terrible on defense – this should be a very fun game with the Over worth looking at.

Trail Blazers vs Nuggets, August 6, 8 p.m ET

There might not a more dangerous team currently outside a playoff spot than the Portland Trail Blazers, who arguably boast the second-best backcourt out of all 22 teams in Orlando and will also get center Jusuf Nurkic back from a broken leg. The Nuggets are third in the West but sit only 1.5 games behind the Clippers and 1.5 games ahead of the Jazz, so every game matters.

This is a rematch of last year’s Western Conference semifinals, where the Blazers upset the Nuggets in seven games. In three games head-to-head this year the Nuggets went 3-0 SU and ATS.

Betting trend to watch: Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard has struggled against Denver, averaging 21.6 ppg on 37.7 percent shooting over his last seven regular-season games against the Nuggets. Although he played better during the playoff series last season, it was CJ McCollum who carried the Blazers offense, especially in Game 7 when Lillard went 3-17 from the field.

Raptors vs 76ers, August 12, 6:30 p.m. ET

There might not be much on the line if the Toronto Raptors have already secured a seed by this time, but if their nerve-wracking seven-game playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers last year is any indication, this should still be a great game.

Betting trend to watch: It will be interesting to see how these teams play on neutral ground. Toronto has been one of the best teams in the league away from home, going 23-9 SU and 16-15 ATS and posting an average scoring margin of plus-4.2 ppg. On the other hand, the 76ers have been terrible on the road, going 10-24 SU, 9-23 ATS and posting a scoring margin of minus-5.3.