The second week of the NFL season begins with a divisional game from Lambeau Field, where the Green Bay Packers look for their first win against the Chicago Bears
Thursday home teams have a 19-10 success rate since 2009, covering the spread at a 17-11-1 ATS clip
Chicago secured its first win of the campaign Sunday at Soldier Field, welcoming Andrew Luck to the show with a 41-21 blowout that was pretty much over by half-time. QB Jay Cutler spread the ball to eight different targets but it was newcomers WR Brandon Marshall (9 receptions, 119 yds, 1 TD) and RB Michael Bush (14 carries, 42 yds, 2 TD) serving notice that these Bears have bite.
Green Bay was up against a tough San Francisco 49ers D and struggled to get anything going until the fourth quarter but by then it was too late. The 30-22 setback was the first time since 2006 that the Packers lost their season opener.
The Packers were 6-0 SU (5-1 ATS) against the NFC North last season and despite Chicago’s win, have drawn enough attention with online sportsbooks to move from -3 up to -5 for tonight’s game. Don’t be surprised if these NFL odds hit -6 before kickoff.
Green Bay is also 10-0 ATS against the North when coming off a straight-up, non-divisional loss in a game where they were favored and riding a four-game win streak against the Bears straight-up (3-1 ATS).
Primetime Tip: Thursday night home favorites off a loss are 14-5 straight-up since 1996, covering the spread at a 13-6 ATS clip that includes a 5-1 SU/ATS mark since Week 13, 2008
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TOTALLY COVERED – THURSDAY NIGHT HISTORY LESSON
After the traditional season opener in 2009, the Thursday night schedule resumed in Week 10 with Mike Singletary’s 49ers hosting the Chicago Bears. San Fran won that game 10-6 and it triggered a string of seven-straight Thursday unders, including Thanksgiving.
The final tally for 2009 was 1 over and 8 unders but 2010 was pretty much a split; nine games going 5-4 O/U.
Who can forget the start to the 2011 season where the Saints and Packers combined for 76 points in a 42-34 win for Green Bay. That contest finished 28 points above the projected total but once the Thursday night games picked up again in Week 10, it was “Under” city, with seven of the remaining nine Thursday nighters landing short of the total by an average 11.5 points per game.
Home teams on Thursday are 19-10 SU and 17-11-1 ATS since 2009 with 9 overs and 20 unders (31-percent).
In 2012, the league has scheduled 17 Thursday games to go along with last week’s Wednesday nighter from New York. With a 69-percent hit rate the past three years, maybe the “Under” seems like a natural play but if we trace further back to 2002 (realignment) and cross all games from the list whose total was less than 44.5 points, the record goes to 12-11 O/U (52-percent), with 51.7 average points scored per contest.
Games at 49.5 or greater went 5-3 O/U with scores averaging 55.1 points per game so although the sample size gets smaller, the percentage for games going “Over” goes up as the totals get higher. It’s just more evidence that the book makers are doing their homework.
These teams combined for 44 and 56 points in two meetings last year and all things considered, the biggest change lies with Chicago’s offense and ability to move the football. The Bears have a powerful two-back system with RBs Forte and Bush that will keep Green Bay’s defense honest but at the same time, we have to expect more success from QB Aaron Rodgers than he had early against the Niners. Green Bay played 7 overs and 3 unders last year vs. teams with a good ground game and as the Packers go after their first ‘W’, expect to see plenty of scoring in this one.
Pick: Take the Over