After watching a brutal, low-scoring battle between the Roethlisberger-less Pittsburgh Steelers and the can’t-find-a-quarterback Kansas City Chiefs on last week’s “Monday Night Football”, most viewers expected a return to normalcy; perhaps a game that could have at least one team score in the 20s.
That’s not at all what we’ll be getting this week, as the Chicago Bears head west to San Francisco to take on the 49ers. The Bears rank first in the league in expected defense, with the 49ers ranking second. These are the only two defenses in the league expected to allow less than 20 points per contest against an average offense. As technical as that seems, it simply means if either were matched up with the offense of the Indianapolis Colts (dead-on league average) they would be expected to hold the Colts to under 20 points. No other team can say that – not even the Baltimore Ravens or Pittsburgh Steelers.
In any case, the 49ers and Bears are both division leaders looking to bounce back from poor showings last week. The 49ers tied the St. Louis Rams at home in a game in which they were 13.5-point favorites, while the Bears lost at home to the Houston Texans on national television.
After looking at the stats, it seems only logical that the 49ers should be favored to win this one.
Defensively, the two teams are equivalent. Yes, technically the Bears are better defensively, but not by a substantial margin. Besides, any advantage the Bears have on defense will be erased by the Niners’ home-field advantage.
Offensively, the Niners maintain a slight advantage. Prior to the season, if you had asked me which offense is better? I would have responded with neither. They both ranked in the bottom half of the league in expected points, and neither had made a major offensive change in the previous two seasons. But this season has seen the Niners explode offensively, bringing their offensive ranking into the top half of the league. The Bears, on the other hand, have yet to see any improvement in their offensive stats.
Again, it’s only logical that the 49ers should win. Defensively they’re equal; offensively the Niners hold a slight advantage. Throw in a little home-field advantage for the boys from No. Cal. and it’s readily apparent they should be favored to get a key win on “Monday Night Football”.
DynamicPicks Computer Prediction:
Chicago Bears @ San Francisco 49ers (-3.5)
Projected win: San Francisco, 61.7% – CORRECT
Projected ATS win: San Francisco -3.5, 50.3% – CORRECT
No value at all in SF -3.5 or CHI +3.5. Lay off the spread entirely.