The New Orleans Saints (4-4) play host to the Chicago Bears (2-6) on Sunday (11/05/23) at 1 p.m. EST in Week 9 of the 2023 NFL season. The Saints are heavy favorites at -8.5 against the spread, while the over/under is set at 41 points.
This article provides Bears vs. Saints analysis, predictions and betting recommendations and explains why the best bet in this matchup is the Saints -8.5.
Bears vs. Saints Prediction & Best Bet
It seems too obvious to simply look at the Saints’ resurgent offensive performance last week and the Bears’ terrible defense and just hammer the Saints at -8.5, but that’s what we’re going to do.
The Saints’ 511 yards of offense against the Colts last week was the fourth-highest output of the season and the highest of any team this season besides the Miami Dolphins. They finally got their deep passing game going, as Derek Carr completed three passes of over 30 yards including a 58-yard touchdown to speedster Rashid Shaheed.
Rashid Shaheed takes the top off the defense!
— NFL (@NFL) October 29, 2023
The Saints came alive against a Colts defense that is not very good, and the Bears’ defense is much worse. They are 30th in defensive DVOA and EPA and 31st in each of those metrics against the pass. Their trade deadline acquisition of edge rusher Montez Sweat will help a bit, but they also could be missing two of their better starters in Tremaine Edmunds and JaQuan Brisker.
The only hesitation with laying the points is simply the Saints’ inconsistency. An 8.5-point spread is a big number to cover, even in a cushy matchup at home. New Orleans is 0-3 ATS at home this season and 1-5-1 when favored, with last week being the first game they’ve covered as a favorite (they were underdogs when they blew out the Patriots in Week 5). Still, with the talent disparity in this game, they don’t need to turn in their best performance to win the game easily and to cover the spread.
We prefer that bet over betting the total in this game. We lean toward the under, mainly because we expect the Bears’ offense to struggle against the tough Saints’ defense. However, the possibility of the Saints scoring 30+ points on this porous defense is too real to ignore, and that would likely send the total over 41.
You might have to sweat it out, but the best bet in this game is the Saints -8.5.
Bears vs. Saints Prediction & Best Bet: Saints win 23-13, Saints cover -8.5 (-110)
Bears vs. Saints Best Betting Odds
After opening as low as -6.5 at some sportsbooks, the spread in this matchup is moving heavily in the Saints’ direction. Any move across the key number of 7 is significant, and this line not only crossed that threshold and added the hook but then kept going to -8.5. It could come back down to -7.5 (where it still sits at Caesars as of this writing) so it’s worth monitoring, especially if you’re backing the Saints.
The total has been more steady and has not moved more than 0.5 off its opening line of 41.
The implied outcome of these odds is the Saints winning 24-16.
Bears vs. Saints Key Injuries
Besides Justin Fields, the Bears have several key starters at risk of missing this game including starting LB Tremaine Edmunds and S JaQuan Brisker. Starting LT Braxton Jones has a chance to return from IR.
The Saints are looking good injury-wise as every starter has practiced at least on a limited basis this week. The most important player to monitor is starting LG James Hurst, who has missed the last 2 games but has a chance to return this week.
Bears vs. Saints Key Matchups
Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Bears vs. Saints below.
Alvin Kamara vs. Bears’ defensive front
Alvin Kamara has looked like his vintage self since returning from a three-game suspension to start the season. He is getting a high volume of work in the running game with over 17 carries per game, fifth most in the league, though he is only averaging 3.7 yards on those touches.
For as bad as the Bears’ defense has been, they have been surprisingly effective against the run. They are 10th in DVOA and second in EPA against the run and they’re allowing the third-fewest yards per game (78.8). That low number isn’t just because of a low volume of carries against them as opponents exploit the pass defense. They are also allowing the lowest yards per carry (3.3) in the league.
Where they are vulnerable to opposing backs is in the passing game, as they have allowed the most yards and the third-most receptions to opposing running backs this season. That is very bad news against a dynamic weapon like Kamara. Stopping him has to be the Bears’ top priority defensively, but that is easier said than done.
Bears’ rushing attack vs. Saints’ run defense
The Saints once again have one of the best defenses in the league. They are top 5 in total defense and top 10 in scoring defense (9th), DVOA (8th) and EPA (6th). Where they are vulnerable defensively is against the run, where they are 19th in DVOA and 23rd in yards per carry allowed (4.3).
That happens to be the strength of the Bears’ offense, although it is not nearly as much of a strength without the running threat of Justin Fields. Still, with an improved offensive line that is 4th in adjusted line yards, and a capable cadre of backs led by D’Onta Foreman and Roschon Johnson, the Bears can do some damage in the ground game. That’s how they beat the Raiders 2 weeks ago when D’Onta Foreman had a monstrous game with 3 touchdowns (2 on the ground).
The Bears’ best hope in this game is to slow the game down and keep their defense off the field by controlling the ball with the running game. If they can do that effectively, they might be able to keep the game close well into the 2nd half, and then who knows what could happen.