Free Thursday Night NFL Picks: Bears at Packers

Green Bay is reeling following a bad home loss to Dallas last week, and questions abound as to just how good this team really is. The Packers hope to right their listing ship when they host rival Chicago Thursday night at Lambeau Field (8:25 pm ET, CBS).

The Line

WagerTalk’s NFL live lines board opened this game with Green Bay favored by nine points, the total proffered at 47. But in the early betting some books, including Pinnacle and Westgate, dropped the Pack down as far as -7.5, while the total fell to 46.

Bettors who believe the Bears might pull the upset here could get a price of +310 on the moneyline at Pinnacle.

The Lowdown

The vibe is not good in Titletown, following the Packers’ 30-16 loss to Dallas last week at Lambeau. Green Bay got dominated all day, falling down 7-0 in the first quarter and never even managing to tie the game after that. The key sequence came late in the first half, when the Packers pinned the Cowboys deep in Dallas territory, only to allow the Cowboys to drive 97 yards in less than a minute to a touchdown and a 17-6 halftime deficit.

In the second half Aaron Rodgers threw an interception inside Dallas territory and later lost a fumble from the Cowboys 1-yard line, spelling doom.

On the day Green Bay, which came into the game with the top-ranked run defense in the league, got outrushed 191-78 and lost the turnover battle 4-2. The Packers have also now been outgained in four of their five games this season.

Chicago, meanwhile, is coming off a crushing loss of its own, a 17-16 decision against Jacksonville Sunday at Soldier Field. The Bears led 10-0 at the half, 13-0 through three quarters and 16-7 with eight minutes to go, but gave up the last 10 points of the game, the final seven on a long Arrelious Benn catch-and-run with three minutes left. Chicago then drove into Jags territory in the final minute, but ran out of downs.

The Bears outgained Jacksonville 389-317, while winning time of possession by a 36/24 margin. They just pissed it away.

Two weeks ago Chicago led Indianapolis into the final five minutes of the game, but gave up the last 10 points to lose 29-23. The week before that the Bears won at Detroit 17-14. In fact, Chicago has outgained and outrushed each of its last three opponents.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer, playing in place of the injured Jay Cutler, has hit on 69 percent of his throws this year, with six touchdown passes and zero interceptions. He’s also produced four straight 300-yard passing performances. Unfortunately, he’s getting little help from a running game that’s averaging just 91 yards per.

The Recent Rivalry

Green Bay has taken control of this rivalry as of late, winning 10 of the last 12 meetings straight up, going 9-3 ATS. But the Bears actually won the most recent meeting, beating the Packers at Lambeau on a Thursday night last November 17-13.

Green Bay grabbed an early 7-0 lead in that game, but managed just a pair of field goals after that. Meanwhile, Chicago turned an Eddie Lacy fumble into a touchdown and a long kickoff return into another seven points, and the defense stymied the Packers offense from there, securing the victory by stopping Green Bay at the Bears’ 8-yard line in the final minute.

The Packers outgained Chicago that night 365-290, and outrushed the Bears 177-101, but lost the turnovers battle 2-0.

Chicago won that game outright as a seven-point dog, while the “under” on 45 points cashed in despite a 14-13 first half.

In the first meeting between these teams last season the Bears outgained Green Bay 402-322 but the Packers won 31-23. That game played “over” a total of 48.

Totals Report

Chicago is 3-3 on the totals this season, as Bears games have averaged just under 41 points per.

Green Bay is 2-3 on the totals, as Packers games have averaged 45 points.

Bears-Packers Betting Analysis

Simply put, Green Bay is overrated. Rodgers looks flummoxed, missing throws, his receivers can’t get loose, they’re down their top two running backs and the defense is banged up in the secondary. Chicago, meanwhile, could own a three-game winning streak, if not for the last few minutes of a couple of games. Plus, the Bears don’t fear the Packers; they know who they are. We like Chicago in this spot, plus the points.

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