The Chicago Bears didn’t have a tremendous 2020 NFL season, but it was enough to earn a spot in the playoffs.
Chicago is the first No. 7 seed in the NFC, but that means the Bears draw a road game with the New Orleans Saints. Do Iowa online sportsbooks think the Bears stand much chance against the second-seeded Saints?
How to watch the Bears vs. Saints
- What: Chicago Bears (8-8, 5-3 away) vs. New Orleans Saints (12-4, 6-2 home)
- When: 3:40 p.m. CST, Sunday, Jan. 10
- Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA
- TV: CBS
- Livestream: CBS Sports app
- Radio: Westwood One
- Online Radio Stream: Westwood One
- Satellite Radio: Sirius XM Channel 226
Oddsmakers strongly behind the Saints
The oddsmakers aren’t feeling good about Chicago’s chances in this Sunday’s playoff game.
|Bears vs. Saints Wild Card Playoff Odds
(-110 juice unless noted)
|CHI +10 -114
NO -10 -107
|CHI +9.5 -105
NO -9.5 -115
|CHI +10.5 -125
NO -10.5 +105
|CHI +10 -115
NO -10 -105
(-110 juice unless noted)
|O 47.5 -108
U 47.5 -113
|O 47.5 -105
U 47.5 -115
All see the Bears as a big underdog. Chicago is ranging from a 9.5- to 10.5-point underdog against the Saints.
When it comes to the moneyline, Chicago is listed from +370 to +400 to win straight up. The Saints are getting odds of -500 from three of the four sportsbooks.
The over/under is listed at 47 or 47.5 points, depending on the book.
Chicago tries to break losing skid to New Orleans
The Bears own a 17-15 advantage in the all-time series with the Saints, but recent history hasn’t been on their side.
Chicago has lost six straight meetings with the Saints. That includes a 26-23 OT loss this season on Nov. 1. That showing was the first time the Bears covered the spread in the last six meetings with the Saints.
Trends favor the Saints in this one, as Chicago is just 2-6 ATS in their last eight playoff games and 0-6 ATS in their last six road games against a team with a winning home record.
The Saints are 6-1 ATS in their last seven conference games and 7-2 ATS in their last nine games overall.
When it comes to public betting on this game, 65% of the wagers are going with the Saints as the double-digit favorite.
Chicago Bears back into the playoffs
Chicago managed to make the playoffs with just an 8-8 record. The Bears qualified despite a 35-16 loss to the Green Bay Packers last weekend at home. A loss by the Arizona Cardinals allowed Chicago to advance.
Last week’s loss stopped a three-game win streak Chicago had built against losing teams. The Bears had found a little momentum on offense, scoring at least 30 points in four straight prior to Week 17.
A big reason behind the offensive surge is David Montgomery. The second-year running back has rushed for over 90 yards in four of his last six games and has amassed seven touchdowns in his last five outings.
With the late-season push, Montgomery finished the season with 1,070 rushing yards along with 438 receiving yards.
Mitchell Trubisky also had a positive finish to the regular season, throwing for 10 touchdowns over the last six games. His lone playoff performance came in 2018, a 16-15 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles that saw him throw for 303 yards and a TD.
The Chicago defense will have its hands full with New Orleans, which ranks fifth in the NFL in scoring (30.1 ppg). Khalil Mack will have to bring out his best. The Pro Bowl linebacker has 50 tackles and nine sacks this season.
Special teams could play a key as well and that is where Chicago can strike. Cordarrelle Patterson is one of the best return men in the game. He is heading to the Pro Bowl after averaging nearly 30 yards per kick return.
Saints dealing with COVID challenges
The New Orleans Saints have a lot of offensive weapons, but some may not be available for this playoff game.
Alvin Kamara missed Week 17’s game with the Carolina Panthers due to testing positive for COVID-19.
Kamara isn’t eligible to return to the Saints until Sunday based on NFL protocols. So, even if he is able to play, he won’t be practicing or around the team all week. Kamara has 932 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns this season, while also catching 83 passes for 756 yards and five scores.
Along with Kamara, both receiver Michael Thomas and utility man Taysom Hill are dealing with injuries.
Thomas missed the last three games due to an ankle injury, but returned to practice this week and is expected to play. Thomas has appeared in just seven games this season.
Hill is dealing with a concussion that had him limited in Wednesday’s practice. Hill has been used as a receiver, rusher and quarterback for the Saints offense and has 13 total touchdowns in 2020.
New Orleans could find some extra motivation behind the possibility that Drew Brees is playing his final games with the franchise. Reports surfaced last weekend that Brees plans to retire after the postseason.
Brees has thrown for 2,942 yards and 24 touchdowns this season. He has 80,358 yards and 571 touchdowns over his career.
Chicago could find some struggles with the New Orleans defense. A unit that has struggled in the past ranks top five in the league in fewest points allowed (21.1 ppg) and fewest yards allowed (310.9 ypg).
Leading the unit are Pro Bowlers Cameron Jordan (51 tackles, 7.5 sacks) and Marshon Lattimore (62 tackles, 2 INT).