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

Leave a comment

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)

QUICK HITTER

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

Unbeaten Aztecs to start hot, and the NCAA basketball best bets you need to make this weekend

AP Photo
Leave a comment

The San Diego State Aztecs will look to keep their perfect season going on Sunday, while Texas Tech and Kentucky tangle in a matchup between two Top-20 teams on Saturday night. Rohit Ponnaiya digs into the college basketball odds and brings you his favorite bets and predictions for the weekend.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

The game of the night Friday will take place in the Big East as Marquette tangles with Butler. After falling 76-61 to Villanova on Tuesday (which made us a bit of money), Butler has now lost three straight games after beginning the season with a 15-1 record. In Butler’s last three games they’ve allowed 112.3 points per 100 possessions and a large reason for that is that they’ve been sending opposing teams to the line. Over that three game span they’ve given foes an average of 26.7 free throw attempts per game.

That’s bad news against a Marquette squad that has scored at least 82 points in each of it’s last three games and is led by the leading scorer in the country in Markus Howard. Howard has averaged 35 points per game over his last five contests and has averaged 12.5 FTA over his last two. As a team the Golden Eagles know how to get to the line, attempting 23.6 free throws per game, 18th highest in the country. We like the Over 64.5 on Marquette’s team total. 

EVERYTHING IS BIGGER IN TEXAS

Two Top-20 teams face off in the Lone Star State on Saturday as the Kentucky Wildcats travel to Lubbock to face Texas Tech at 6:00 p.m ET. This matchup should get plenty of action with the Red Raiders coming off a Final Four finish while Kentucky is…well Kentucky.

Texas Tech is coming off a road loss against TCU but is 9-1 at home. Chris Beard’s Red Raiders are known for their defensive intensity and this year’s squad ranks 7th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency according to the KenPom rating system. That said, Kentucky ranks 42nd in defensive efficiency and 32nd in offensive efficiency (while Texas Tech ranks 97th on offense).

Kentucky has three guards (Ashton Hagans, Immanuel Quickley and Tyrese Maxey) that love to apply pressure on opposing ball-handlers while also being able to create their own shot. With Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery, Calipari’s squad has a (pardon the pun) big edge in size and rebounding ability. And unlike past editions of the Wildcats, this team has plenty of veteran experience so don’t expect them to be rattled playing in hostile territory.

We’re expecting Texas Tech to have the chalk and backing UK as the likely underdog, but if public action makes the Wildcats the faves the value will be on the Red Raiders.

HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN DEVILS

It’s the battle of Arizona on Saturday night as the Arizona State Sun Devils host the Arizona Wildcats. These teams met up on January 4, with the Wildcats routing ASU by a score of 75-47. But don’t expect to see a repeat of that score with the Sun Devils now enjoying home-court advantage.

The Wildcats led by guard Nico Mannion and big man Zeke Nnaji are 13-5 but they have been very beatable when playing outside of Tucson. They’re 9-2 ATS at home but just 1-6 ATS on the road and at neutral sites. They have an average scoring margin of plus-26.6 ppg at home but that falls to minus-1 ppg away from home.

The Sun Devils also play way better in front of their home crowd, outscoring opponents by a margin of plus-15.7 ppg in Tempe, compared to minus-7.2 ppg when they have to travel. Take the home side to cover as underdogs.

THE LAST OF THE UNBEATENS

The last unbeaten team in the country are the No. 4 San Diego Aztecs who head to Vegas to take on the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels on Sunday. The Aztecs have an aggressive defense and have been holding opponents to just 56.7 ppg on 36.7 percent shooting. But SDSU has been effective on the offensive end of the floor as well, ranking 14th in the country in offensive efficiency.

UNLV has been solid, winning seven of the their last nine games and going 6-3 ATS, but they might be out of their depth here. Their two losses during that span were by 14 points against Nevada and seven points against Boise State. The Aztecs beat Nevada by 13 points and clobbered BSU by 18 after leading by 23 points at halftime.

UNLV has been sloppy with the ball turning the ball over 14.6 times per game, second-worst among all Mountain West teams. SDSU has just 11.1 turnovers per game on offense while their pesky defense forces 15.2 TO per game. The full game spread might be a bit too rich for our blood but with the Aztecs fifth in the nation with an average first-half scoring margin of plus-9.2 ppg, look for them to cover the 1H spread. 

MID-MAJOR TO WATCH: DAYTON (17-2 SU, 11-8 ATS, 13-6 O/U)

Dayton is flying up the rankings currently sitting at No. 7. Their 17-2 record is even more impressive when you consider that both defeats were in overtime to quality opponents, falling 90-84 to Kansas and 78-76 to Colorado.

Led by forward Obi Toppin (19.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 62.3 percent shooting) the Flyers are first in the country in field goal percentage at 52.5 percent and rank third in scoring with 83 ppg. On Saturday they take on the Richmond Spiders who can also fill up the basket converting at a clip of 47.5 percent from the field, including a sizzling 57.6 percent from the floor over their last three games. The Over is worth looking at.

NATIONAL TITLE ODDS

Gonzaga isn’t a program to sleep on anymore, currently sitting at No. 1 in the polls and with the best odds to win the National Championship at +1000. The Zags have the top rated offense in the nation, putting up 88.8 ppg on 50.6 percent shooting and those numbers jump up to 93.5 ppg and 52.5 percent at home.

On Saturday, Gonzaga hosts Pacific and will probably be favored by more than 20 points. Gonzaga is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings at home between the two teams dating back to 2016, and the average score of those games was 80-52 in favor of Gonzaga.

If you want to look at a team that’s tumbled down the odds board look no further than the Memphis Tigers who came into the season at +1300 after a terrific recruiting class. After top freshman James Wiseman was suspended and then chose to leave the school, Memphis has looked ugly, coming off a 80-40 smackdown at the hands of Tulsa on Wednesday night. The Tigers currently sit at +6000 odds and even that might be generous. Memphis will try to get back on track on Saturday as they host SMU.

BETTING TRENDS

• By holding Memphis to just 40 points, Tulsa managed to cash the Under for the sixth game in a row. The Golden Hurricanes are 15-4 to the Under and will take on UConn on Sunday. Thanks to a defense that ranks inside the Top-50 teams in the country in opponent FG percentage and an offense that ranks outside the Top-250 in FG percentage, the Huskies have also been a great Under bet, going below the total in 12 of their last 16 contests.

• Virginia has been awful on offense, terrific on defense and plays at the slowest pace in Div 1. But oddsmakers might set the total for their Sunday matchup on the road against Wake Forest a tad too low. The Demon Deacons have gone 8-0-1 to the Over in their last nine games and are 7-1 O/U at home this season.

• Austin Peay is 7-0 ATS in their last seven games overall and is a perfect 6-0 ATS at home this season. On Saturday, the Governors will host the Belmont Bruins in a Ohio Valley Conference matchup. The Bruins are coming off a 10-point loss on the road against Murray State and have failed to cover in their last two away contests.

NHL Midseason betting review: Stanley Cup futures odds and best bets

Getty Images
Leave a comment

With the NHL heading into the All-Star break we take a look the updated futures odds to win the Stanley Cup as well as the best and worst teams to wager on in terms of Moneyline, Puckline and Over/Under bets.

Despite Washington leading the way for the Presidents’ Trophy this season, Tampa Bay still has the best odds to win the Stanley Cup. The Lightning are followed by the Boston Bruins and the defending Stanley Cup champions the St. Louis Blues.

On the other hand, the Toronto Maple Leafs have fallen outside the Top-5 and now sit at +2000, while the San Jose Sharks have plummeted from a Stanley Cup contender to a +8000 long shot.

Here are every teams’ odds to win the Stanley Cup, courtesy of the Superbook at Westgate:

Teams Odds to win Stanley Cup (as of Jan 23)
Tampa Bay Lightning +600
Boston Bruins +800
St. Louis Blues +800
Washington Capitals +1,000
Colorado Avalanche +1,000
Vegas Golden Knights +1,000
Pittsburgh Penguins +1,200
Dallas Stars +1,200
Arizona Coyotes +1,600
Florida Panthers +2,000
Toronto Maple Leafs +2,000
Vancouver Canucks +2,000
Edmonton Oilers +2,500
Calgary Flames +2,500
New York Islanders +4,000
Carolina Hurricanes +4,000
Nashville Predators +4,000
Columbus Blue Jackets +4,000
Philadelphia Flyers +5,000
Winnpeg Jets +5,000
Minnesota Wild +6,000
San Jose Sharks +8,000
Montreal Canadiens +10,000
New York Rangers +10,000
Buffalo Sabres +10,000
Chicago Blackhawks +10,000
Los Angelas Kings +50,000
Anahiem Ducks +100,000
Ottawa Senators +200,000
New Jersey Devils +200,000
Detroit Red Wings +1,000,000

The Capitals don’t just have the best record in the league, they’ve also been the best Over bet as well as the top team to back on the moneyline returning a profit of +9.35 units for bettors this season.

Thanks to rookie goalie Elvis Merzlikins and a group of forwards that can’t find the back of the net, the Columbus Blue Jackets have been the NHL’s best Under bet. The top team to back on the puckline as a favorite has been the surprising Vancouver Canucks who lead the Pacific Division.

While the Golden Knights were sweating sportsbooks when they made their Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Finals two years ago, oddsmakers have made some of that money back this season as the Knights have been the second-worst money team in the league. The Knights are still way ahead of Detroit who has cost bettors dearly with a loss of almost 20 units.

BEST OVER BETS

Teams Over/Under
Washington Capitals 31-18
Florida Panthers 30-17
Nashville Predators 28-17
Toronto Maple Leafs 28-18
Tampa Bay Lightning 27-20

BEST UNDER BETS

Teams Over/Under
Colombus Blue Jackets 18-32
Dallas Stars 16-29
Carolina Hurricanes 21-29
San Jose Sharks 21-28
Calgary Flames 20-27

BEST MONEY BETS

Teams Total Money Won (based on 100$ bets)
Washington Capitals $935
New York Islanders $700
Colombus Blue Jackets $605
Pittsburgh Penguins $596
New York Rangers $567

WORST MONEY BETS

Teams Total Money Won (based on 100$ bets)
Detroit Red Wings $-1992
Las Vegas Golden Knights $-1010
Los Angelas Kings $-916
San Jose Sharks $-895
Toronto Maple Leafs $-829

BEST PUCKLINE TEAMS AT -1.5 

Teams Total Money Won as Puckline Favorite (PL record as favorite)
Vancouver Canucks $840 (11-12)
Colorado Avalanche $771 (14-14)
Chicago Blackhawks $480 (7-8)
Florida Panthers $410 (13-17)
New York Rangers $375 (5-5)