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)
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
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