Chicago Bears vs. New Orleans Saints (10/20/19): NFL Betting Picks Lines

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.

new orleans saintsInitially, 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.

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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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Born in Chicago, born for Las Vegas, Mackenzie is a graduate of Yale University with a BA in English & Creative Writting. Mackenzie runs, which seeks to by-pass the minutiae of commonly cited sports statistics and expose the heart of what drives athletic success. After several successful years investing in Las Vegas real estate, Mackenzie is excited to transition in 2019 into betting on sports full time, as well as documenting his thought process as he further learns the craft.

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