Ostrowski: What To Wager On In Bears-Rams

The defenses figure to dominate in this matchup.

Joe Ostrowski
November 14, 2019 - 3:51 pm
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(670 The Score) Sunday night brings us the Bears-Rams matchup, football between a pair of third-place teams with a combined 9-9 record. I’ll be waiting for sly Al Michaels to slip in a reference of Los Angeles as 6.5-point favorites or 40, the second-lowest total of the week.

This isn’t what the league had in mind when slotting in this Week 11 matchup between "offensive geniuses" Matt Nagy and Sean McVay. Both teams have young, regressing quarterbacks, which has to each club averaging more than seven fewer points per game compared to last season. Jared Goff is 28th in QBR (39.7), and Mitchell Trubisky sits at 31st (35.8), only ahead of the benched Marcus Mariota.

Let's get to my picks of the week.

PICK: 1st-half under 20.5

Sunday won't feature the same 29-degree conditions as the tilt at Soldier Field last December, but the same struggling quarterbacks will be under center. In the Bears' 15-6 win that night, Goff had a 5.6 QBR with four interceptions while Trubisky didn’t fare much better with three picks of his own.

Injuries are piling up for both offenses. Bears running back David Montgomery rolled his ankle in practice Wednesday, and tight end Trey Burton continues to be sidelined. For the Rams, center Brian Allen is out for the season and right tackle Rob Havenstein and deep threat Brandin Cooks are out for Sunday. Tight ends Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee are also dealing with injuries.

It’s shocking to see defensive lineman Nick Williams leading the Bears with six sacks. On the Rams' side, Clay Matthews (7) and Dante Fowler (6.5) have more sacks than star Aaron Donald (6).

Cris Collinsworth loves to focus on line play, so Khalil Mack and Donald will get plenty of TV time in this defensive battle.

PICK: Todd Gurley under rushing yards

Gurley is coming off his second-best performance of the season, rushing for 73 yards off the bye in a loss to the Steelers. His best game was a 97-yard performance in a season-opening win against the Panthers. The common thread in those two games was extra rest for the brittle running back.

Gurley is averaging 13 carries and 53.5 yards per game. The Rams have a beat-up offensive line and have been working in touches for Malcolm Brown and rookie Darrell Henderson Jr. Opposing teams have attacked the middle of the Bears defensive line, but inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski excels against the run and the Bears are allowing only 3.7 yards per rush, the fourth-best mark in the NFL. 

PICK: Cooper Kupp over receptions, Anthony Miller under receptions

The slot receivers for both teams will be an intriguing prop. The Rams’ Kupp didn’t have a catch on four targets last week. McVay will try to get him involved in the quick passing game, because backups will be protecting Goff. Bears slot cornerback Buster Skrine ranks as the 62nd-best cornerback, per Pro Football Focus.

Rams slot cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman is viewed as one of the best in the business, ranking 13th overall. The Bears' Miller has one reception in the last two games and two or fewer catches in six of nine games this season.

Joe Ostrowski hosts evenings on 670 The Score. Listen to his weekly sports betting podcast here. When he's not on the Score in evenings, he's also a host of You Better You Bet, which runs from 5-9 p.m. weekdays on Radio.com Sports. Follow Joe on Twitter @JoeO670.​