Last Week: 5-13
All-Time Results: 41-42, +4.0 Units
New Orleans Saints +3.5 @ Chicago Bears (-124) – 1 Unit
Bridgewater is Back! Maybe He Never Left
I couldn’t believe this stat when I saw it. Teddy Bridgewater is 28-6 ATS for his career. Yet somehow he is considered by many to be overrated. An 83% winning percentage against the Las Vegas Spread is the definition of criminally underrated.
It’s possible to have a Tim Tebow like stretch where you play winning football without playing great football – but not for 34 games. Personally, I fell victim to a fundamental misunderstanding of his qualities. His low yards per attempt from 2016-2018, especially as he worked himself back from 2016 knee surgery, masked the fact that he had solid mobility and excellent decision making.
Initially, I thought it generous to drop the Saints 6 points for going from their talisman Drew Brees to the highest-paid backup in the NFL in Bridgewater. Today, I think Brees is only two points better than Teddy Two Gloves.
After back-to-back solid games – his best games as a Saint – I may be late to the party in endorsing Bridgewater, but I think his skills will actually play well in a difficult environment in Chicago.
Much like in their matchup against the Jags last week, the Saints know they do not need to put up 40 to have a great chance at winning this game. They can afford to punt. They can afford to check down to Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray, who are wont to make a couple of people miss and make a big play out of nothing anyway.
Chicago thrives off of driving QBs into game-changing mistakes. Bridgewater has shown the adeptness to avoid them, boasting a solid 2.4% career interception rate and only having 1 fumble to his name over the past three seasons, and 0 fumbles lost.
Home Teams Off a Bye Generally Overrated
Teams off a Bye week are slightly over .500 ATS since the year 2000. However, teams playing at home off a Bye have shown no distinct advantage, and in fact, maybe hindered by the extra time at home.
Home teams following a Bye Week are only 49% ATS this century & only 43% since the new CBA. Over the last three years, teams in this spot are only 36% ATS, even after going 2-0 this year with both the 49ers and the Dolphins covering.
My theory: Unlike road teams that have their road disadvantage mitigated by the extra time to relax and recuperate, home teams have a tendency to fall into a malaise.
New Orleans Saints @ Chicago Bears (+145) – .25 Units
New Orleans Saints +5 @ Chicago Bears (-159) – .159 Units
Especially given the low total in this game, I don’t see the Bears running away with this one. The Saints are top-10 in Sacks and top-10 in Sacks Allowed. Sean Payton has instilled the discipline in this squad to avoid mistakes themselves, while constantly putting the opposition in peril.
After watching the replay of Saints-Jags, I do not think Payton was exaggerating when he said his defense could have played 8 quarters without giving up a touchdown. The Jags never once looked threatening. Since I do not think the Bears have a much better offense than Jacksonville, I like the Saints to keep marching on to a 5th straight win.
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