NFL Week 17 Betting Preview, Picks, and Player Props: Packers at Bears

Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers (photo credit: Imagn/USA TODAY Sports)

The NFL Week 17 slate is full of uncertainty, but one game that presents a fair bit of clarity is the Green Bay Packers versus Chicago Bears. Looking at the Packers vs. Bears betting odds, the Packers are road favorites, but the betting line has been moving in the direction of the Bears since the injury news regarding David Bakhtiari hit the airwaves. In this NFL betting preview, we’ll break down the Packers vs. Bears matchup from an NFL betting perspective and provide a few free picks for the game.

Green Bay Packers (-4) at Chicago Bears

Sunday, January 3, 2021, at 4:25 p.m. ET
Soldier Field
Chicago, IL

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This game matters for both teams involved. For the Packers, they’re playing to earn the No. 1 seed in the NFC, which comes with the only first-round bye in the playoffs. If the Packers win, the No. 1 seed is theirs. They can get the No. 1 seed if the Seattle Seahawks lose, but the Seahawks will be playing at the same time and are up against a San Francisco 49ers team that is full of injuries.

For the Bears, if they beat the Packers, then they’re in the playoffs. If the Bears lose, they could get in with an Arizona Cardinals loss, but just like the Packers, why not control your own destiny by just winning the game? The Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams also play at the same time that the Bears do.

On Thursday, news dropped that David Bakhtiari, stud offensive tackle for the Packers, tore his ACL in practice and would be sidelined for the remainder of the season. It’s a big loss for the Packers, as Bakhtiari is one of the best tackles in the NFL and is a part of an offensive line that has to protect Aaron Rodgers against the likes of Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, and a tough Bears defensive front.

For Chicago, there are some key injuries to the secondary. Defensive backs Jaylon Johnson and Buster Skrine are out for Sunday’s game against the Packers, and safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. is tagged as questionable. Bakhtiari is a bigger name on this game’s injury report, but the losses of Johnson and Skrine, plus the questionable tag on Gipson Sr., are important because of how good this Green Bay passing offense is.

Mitch Trubisky has been performing well since getting back in the saddle as the Bears starting quarterback in Week 12, which is when the Bears faced the Packers for the first time. Trubisky didn’t have too great of an outing in that one, completing just 56.5% of passes for 242 yards and 3 touchdowns, but he also tossed 2 interceptions in Chicago’s 41-25 loss to Green Bay. In the four games that followed, Trubisky averaged a completion percentage of 72.3% and just over 250 passing yards per game. In those four games, he tossed a total of 7 touchdowns and 2 interceptions while also rushing in a score.

Those numbers are good and Trubisky has been getting a lot of love for his recent performances, but Chicago’s four most recent games were against the Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Minnesota Vikings, and Jacksonville Jaguars. That’s not exactly a murderer’s row of defenses The Texans, Jaguars, and Lions are ranked 30th, 31st, and 32nd in total defense DVOA, respectively, per FootballOutsiders.com. The Vikings are 18th in total defense DVOA, which is the best of that group. The game against Minnesota is the one of those four in which Trubisky threw the fewest passing yards. He also threw just 1 touchdown and tossed a pick in that game. The Bears won 33-27, but mostly because David Montgomery went off for 146 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns on 32 carries.

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Point Spread Pick: Packers (-4)

With the Packers vs. Bears point spread now down to Packers (-4) at many sportsbooks, we feel great about taking this side.

Yes, the Packers will be without the excellent services of Bakhtiari and he’s a big piece to the Green Bay offensive line, but if anyone can overcome a loss like this, it’s Rodgers given his experienced and mobility.

The matchup of Rodgers, Davante Adams, and the Green Bay passing offense versus a Bears secondary that has injuries is a huge point of emphasis for us. Rodgers has been carving up defenses all season long and now he gets to go up against a defense that he is very familiar with, seeing as the Bears are a division opponent, and a defense that has injuries in its secondary. The first time these two teams played this season, Rodgers threw 4 touchdowns and had a passer rating of 132.3.

We also like selling high on Trubisky. He’s been good as of late, but as we pointed out above, the level of competition he’s faced has been some of the worst in the league.

Another thing we believe to be in Green Bay’s favor is the coaching matchup. We give the nod to Packers head coach Matt LaFleur over Bears head coach Matt Nagy.

Call us crazy, but why isn’t this spread Packers (-6.5) or Packers (-7)? Although the line has been moving the direction of the Bears and could go further, we could also see some buyback coming in on the Packers to push this one back the other way. Locking in the Packers at anything less than 6.5 points is outstanding value.

Player Prop: Davante Adams over 84.5 receiving yards

The first time these two teams played, Davante Adams caught 6 balls on 9 targets for 61 yards and a touchdown. It was one of his “worst” outings of the season. In a game that the Packers will be plenty motivated to win in order to get the NFC’s No. 1 seed, we expect Rodgers to lean on his best guys, and Adams is the best that Rodgers has.

Adams should have some good matchups against the Bears secondary. As we discussed above, there are some key injuries in Chicago’s secondary that Rodgers and Adams, led by LaFleur, should be able to exploit. Adams will likely see a fair bit of Kyle Fuller, but that is a matchup Adams should be able to win.

Player Prop: Davante Adams over 6.5 receptions

We’re also banking on Adams to catch 7 balls or more. He’s in a good matchup and this game figures to be one in which Rodgers will be looking Adams’ way quite a bit. Adams leads the league in targets per game with 11, and if it wasn’t for Adams missing Week 3 and Week 4 this season, he’d very likely be leading the league in overall targets.

Since getting back on the field in Week 6 after Green Bay’s Week 5 bye week, Adams has seen double-digit targets in all but two games. Even in those two games when he didn’t get targeted 10 times or more, Adams had 9 targets in each. Targets lead to receptions and we love the over on 6.5 receptions for Adams this week.

Player Prop: Mitch Trubisky under 253.5 passing yards

The Packers don’t have the best defense in the NFL, but it’s better than the string of bad defenses that the Bears and Trubisky have gone against in recent weeks. Chicago should also want to attack Green Bay on the ground with David Montgomery, as it’s Green Bay’s run defense that is weaker than its pass defense.

The pass rush from the Packers has been showing more signs of life lately, too. Trubisky having to play in a negative game script and under pressure isn’t going to be pretty, so we’ll side with the under on 253.5 passing yards for Trubisky.

To make free sports betting picks for your chance to win, check out the SharpSide sports betting app, available now for iOS and Android.

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