The Cincinnati Bengals try to make it two straight wins to open the season when they face the host Chicago Bears on Sunday. Cincinnati edged the Minnesota Vikings 27-24 in overtime in its season opener while Chicago is coming off an ugly 34-14 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Let’s take a closer look at this game to help determine how you want to bet online.
Game: Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) at Chicago Bears (0-1)
Location: Soldier Field
Time: 1 p.m. ET
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Head to Head
There isn’t a lot of history to go off of between these teams, with only 11 matchups between two of the older teams in the league. The Bears have a two-game winning streak in the rivalry, which was last played in 2017 with a 33-7 blowout victory by Chicago.
Of course, Bears starter Andy Dalton was the quarterback for the Bengals on that day, as he was in the previous meeting as well. Things have definitely changed , with Dalton now the veteran signal-caller for the Bears and second-year pro Joe Burrow calling the shots for the Cincinnati offense.
Next game: at Pittsburgh
Burrow returned to action after a knee injury shortened his rookie campaign, and he looked like the player selected No. 1 overall in the 2020 draft. Burrow was 20 for 27 passing for 261 yards and two touchdowns, leading Cincinnati on a game-winning drive over the final 1:48 of overtime that resulted in a 33-yard field goal by Evan McPherson, giving the Bengals the 27-24 victory.
Rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase had a successful debut, making five catches for 101 yards and a touchdown. Running back Joe Mixon, coming off a foot injury that limited him to six games last season, finished with 127 rushing yards and a score.
The Bengals were able to beat the NFL odds and win outright as a three-point underdog at home last week. Cincinnati has covered the spread in three of its last four games, though this season’s team is certainly much improved from a year ago.
The Bengals’ secondary could be a little undermanned with cornerback Trae Waynes listed as doubtful while cornerback Darius Phillips is questionable. This is in addition to safety Ricardo Allen being on injured reserve, which could make Dalton want to go to the air against his former team.
Next game: at Cleveland
The Bears were blitzed by the Rams 34-14 despite racking up more first downs and possessing the ball for 35:14 of the game. Los Angeles was able to strike from deep, with Matthew Stafford completing touchdown passes of 67 and 56 yards.
That’s not a good sign against Burrow and Chase, but the Bears can control the ball on the ground behind David Montgomery, who had 108 yards and a touchdown in the opener. Chicago rookie quarterback Justin Fields also got in the mix a little bit, as he was 2-for-2 passing for 10 yards and also scored a 3-yard touchdown.
Chicago has been a home favorite just eight times over the last two seasons, covering the spread twice in those eight contests.
The Bears’ offensive front would be reworked a bit with tackles Jason Peters and Larry Borom both considered questionable. Defensively, linebacker Robert Quinn and Eddie Goldman have been listed as questionable as well.
Betting on the Game
The opening one-point spread made this essentially a moneyline bet when you make your NFL predictions, but the line has moved to 2½. The Bengals showed better offense in Week 1, but the Bears could certainly be better at home.
Chicago will look to keep the ball on the ground to keep it becoming a high-scoring affair. The Bears’ defense will try to get some pressure on Burrow to keep him from picking apart a secondary that looked very lost against the Rams at times. That means Khalil Mack will need to have a good game to keep Cincinnati in check.
Dalton and the Bears didn’t show a lot of explosiveness in the passing game, with the veteran completing 27 passes for just 206 yards and an interception. Montgomery needs to have another big game if Chicago is going to keep this one close.
Cincinnati looked very competent in beating the Vikings last week and should make it difficult on the Bears to pick up their first win of the season.
The over/under of 45 points is an interesting option when sports betting online, as the Bengals showed the ability to score last week but the Bears didn’t. If Chicago can keep this one close in the early going, it won’t have to resort to going to the air and can use Montgomery as much as it wants.
But Burrow and the Bengals are going to want to test the Chicago secondary early on, which could result in some big plays between Burrow and his receiving corps. Cincinnati should be able to match its 27-point output of a week ago, but whether the Bears can get to 20 points is the question.