The Kansas City Chiefs host the Chicago Bears at 4:25pm ET this Sunday (9/24/23) in week 3 of the NFL season. The Chiefs are heavy betting favorites with a spread of -12.5, while the over/under in this game is set at 48 points. This article provides Bears vs. Chiefs analysis, predictions and best bets and explains why the best bet in this matchup is the under on 48 total points.
Bears vs. Chiefs Prediction & Best Bet
Few teams have been more disappointing through the first two weeks of the NFL season than the Chicago Bears. A team that had so much hope for its young franchise quarterback Justin Fields to make a big leap in performance already faces serious questions about whether Fields is indeed the right quarterback around whom to build a contender.
There is still plenty of time for Fields and the Bears to turn things around, but they need to do so quickly if they want to have any chance of competing with the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium this weekend. After a disappointing loss to the Lions in week 1, the Chiefs rebounded with an impressive win on the road against a projected division winner in Jacksonville.
Defense was the key to that victory, as a game with a projected point total over 50 ended up with only 26 points scored, and the Chiefs held Trevor Lawrence and co. to only 9 points. After ending his long holdout, All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones was an absolute menace in the middle, registering 6 pressures and 2 sacks.
Welcome back, Chris Jones 💪
— NFL (@NFL) September 17, 2023
The most perplexing part of the Bears’ struggles through two weeks has been the lack of designed runs for Fields, which was such a huge part of his success last year. Fields has only three designed runs and only 11 carries total through 2 games (excluding 1 sneak and 1 fumbled snap recorded as a rushing attempt). That needs to change in this game for the Bears to be most effective offensively and to limit the disruption that a pass rusher like Jones can create.
After seeing what we’ve seen from the Bears through two weeks, we need to see more before we believe that Fields can lead an efficient, high-scoring offense, especially against a Chiefs defense that has been impressive to start the season. That’s why our best bet in this game is the under on 48 total points.
The biggest risk with picking the under is that the Chiefs could simply explode offensively against the Bears’ weak defense, which has allowed the fourth-most yards per game and second-most points per game through two weeks. They are especially vulnerable against the pass, and they are expected to be missing one of their best coverage defenders in safety Eddie Jackson. Patrick Mahomes should be able to exploit that, especially with All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce.
Even if the Chiefs have no problem moving the ball and putting up points against this defense, the game script might not require them to score the 30+ points that would likely be needed to push the total over 48. The Bears would still need to do their part offensively to force the Chiefs to continue scoring, and we have our doubts that this Fields-led offense will be able to do that against Chris Jones and co.
While we expect the Chiefs to win this game comfortably, a -12.5 spread is a lot to cover, even in a good matchup at home. We don’t expect them to completely shut down the Bears’ offense, even after doing so to a better Jaguars’ offense on the road. At such a big number, there is always a chance that Chicago could score some meaningless points late in the game to get a backdoor cover, so we’re staying away from the spread in this game and focusing on the total for our best bet.
Bears vs. Chiefs Prediction & Best Bet: Chiefs win 27-16, under 48 total points
Bears vs. Chiefs Betting Odds
The Chiefs are heavy favorites in this game at -12.5 on the spread, and that number has briefly been at -13.5 at some sportsbooks. While 13 is not the same type of key number as 3, 7, or 10, it’s still somewhat meaningful that the spread crossed that threshold, even just temporarily. That said, it appears likely to close at -12.5.
The over/under is moving downward after opening at 49 or 50 at most sportsbooks. It’s been as low as 47.5 but as of this writing it seems to have settled in at 48 and is unlikely to move more than 0.5 in either direction.
The implied outcome of these odds is the Chiefs winning 30-18.
Bears vs. Chiefs Key Injuries
The most important injury to monitor in this game is Bears safety Eddie Jackson, who sustained a foot injury in week 2 against Tampa. Jackson missed both Wednesday and Thursday’s practices and is trending towards missing this game. WR Darnell Mooney and SCB Josh Blackwell are the other players to monitor for Chicago.
The Chiefs have avoided the injury bug so far this season and enter this game with no significant players on the injury report.
Bears vs. Chiefs Key Matchups
Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Bears vs. Chiefs below.
Justin Fields vs. Chiefs’ defensive front
As noted above, the biggest key for the Bears in this game is getting Justin Fields more involved in the running game than he has been through the first two weeks. Whether their coaching staff chooses to do that or continues to force him to be a pocket passer remains to be seen.
Fields running the ball not only creates big plays for the offense, but it also forces the Chiefs’ defensive front to commit resources to containing him. That could create opportunities down the field for a playmaker like wide receiver DJ Moore.
The Chiefs will also have opportunities to create disruptive plays defensively because Fields holds onto the ball longer than just about any quarterback in the league. He currently has the fourth-highest time to throw with an average of 3.18 seconds. It’s no coincidence that he has been sacked 10 times on a league-high 13.2% of his dropbacks.
If the Chiefs’ defensive front can keep Fields contained on the ground and take advantage of his slow decision-making, then the Bears will struggle to do much offensively which will support our under pick in our Bears vs. Chiefs prediction.
Travis Kelce vs. Bears’ coverage
It’s no secret that Travis Kelce is the most dangerous weapon on the Chiefs’ offense, especially in the red zone, where he caught a touchdown in his first game last week. The Bears need to find ways to take Kelce out of the game and force Mahomes to look in other directions.
We saw the Chiefs’ passing offense sputter in week 1 when Kelce missed the game. Their wide receivers – especially Kadarius Toney – had several key drops that were a big reason they lost that game.
The best way for a weak Bears defense to have any chance of slowing down Mahomes is to eliminate his favorite target.