The return of Justin Fields sparked the Chicago Bears last week, though they still lost a game they led by 12 points late in the fourth quarter. It’s been that kind of season for the Bears, who have had trouble winning over the last few seasons. In fact they’ve gone 12 straight games now without beating a NFC North rival and look to end that slide against the Minnesota Vikings in the Week 12 Monday Night Football matchup. Minnesota won the earlier contest 19-13 in Week 6 cover the 3-point NFL betting line. That win started a string of five straight that vaulted the Vikings into the NFC playoff picture and erased a dreadful start to the season that saw them lose three in a row and four of their first five games.
Minnesota’s winning streak ended in Denver last week with a last minute touchdown sending the Vikings to a 21-20 defeat. A 2.5-point underdog they earned a sixth straight payout and they’ve been one of the best as a NFL pick against the spread going 7-3-1. With dominance over the Bears in recent years, there are a number of betting options on Minnesota for a same-game parlay. The Vikings have won the previous five meetings going 4-1 ATS and opened as a 4-point NFL favorite this week at BetRivers sportsbook.
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The first game between the clubs back in Week 6 had implications for both sides. The clubs were floundering at 1-4 entering that contest, though the Bears were coming off their first win of the season beating Washington under the lights on Thursday night. At the time neither team looked worthy of playoff consideration. The Bears ended up losing Fields to a thumb injury in that game and struggled to move the football with Tyson Bagent behind center. That’s why it was critical Fields returned. He did last week against Detroit after missing four games with the Bears coming within an eyelash of beating the division leaders.
Fields may have been limited in the passing game due to his injury with just 168 yards on 23 attempts, but his legs weren’t affected. He ran the ball 18 times for 104 yards eluding defenders every time. This sets up as a game where Fields will likely be on the move again against a Vikings defense that can apply pressure. And the Bears could be down a few offensive linemen with C Lucas Patrick exiting last week’s game and Larry Borom dealing with an illness. The Bears would like to successfully throw the football but they have problems, leaving Fields to improvise. A NFL best bet is backing the OVER on his 51.5 rushing yard total.
Entering the final weeks of the regular season the Bears are faced with a dilemma regarding their future. With several first round picks next year, including possibly the No. 1 overall selection, they need to decide if Fields is the guy that can lead this team into the postseason. Fields can make that decision a lot easier if he continues to play the way he has over his last three games. In two full games prior to his injury, the Bears totaled 68 points with Fields throwing eight TD passes. He still makes blunders, though, and eliminating those will help his job security.
They’re not the Monsters of the Midway, but the Bears are decent on defense and strengthened the group with the acquisition of Montez Sweat. They picked off three Jared Goff passes last week and forced four turnovers. They surrender a lot of points but are middle-of-the-pack in yards allowed and No. 1 against the run. I don’t think Josh Dobbs and the Vikings are going to move the football effectively enough to win the game and the Bears are desperate to end their lengthy division losing streak. I’m going to forego the points and increase my odds with a moneyline NFL wager on the visitors.
The teams combined for just 32 points in the first encounter with different QBs at the helm. As mentioned, Fields exited with an injury leaving Bagent to take a majority of the snaps. Kirk Cousins was behind center on the other side. Fields will ignite the Bears and Dobbs has been great since his emergency acquisition leading me to back the OVER on the total of 43 on my NFL betting picks.
Justin Fields OVER 51.5 Rushing Yards
Bears +135 Moneyline
Bears/Vikings OVER 43 Points
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