WC – Eagles at BearsEditor's Note: Antony Dinero is on a 31-22-2 (58.5%, +697) run since Dec. 13 and has hit nine of his last 15 totals and his last two guarantees. He went 51-23 (68.9%, +2502) in October and hit 22 of 32 totals (68.8%, +1115). Dinero went 200-174-10 (53.5% , +421) for the entire 2018 regular season. Don't miss out on NFL Winners from Antony Dinero on VegasInsider.com this postsesaon. Click to win!:
Philadelphia at Chicago (-6.5, 41.5), 4:40 pm ET, NBC
The defending champions have already defied the odds by getting to this point.
Reaching the playoffs sounded like a silly fantasy after Carson Wentz was shut down for the season after throwing three touchdowns in a Week 13 OT loss to Dallas where everything conspired against the Eagles to seemingly end all realistic hope for finishing among the NFC’s top six. Incompetent officiating, bad bounces and an inability make plays in order to get off the field made it seem like fate just wasn’t interested in seeing Philadelphia make back-to-back postseason appearances for the first time since following a Wild Card loss in 2009 with one in 2010.
Reigning Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles would be back in the saddle, but it would surely be a short ride. The Eagles were 6-7. They went from 30-to-1 to win the NFC and 60-to-1 to repeat as champs at the Westgate Superbook to 150-to-1 and 300-to-1 after losing Wentz.
They then upset the Rams in L.A. as nearly-two touchdown underdogs, won a wild game against the Texans at home and then blanked the overmatched Redskins while getting help from their opponent in this unexpected NFC Wild Card matchup. The Bears went into Minnesota and upset the Vikings and have now won nine of 10, including four straight.
A Cinderella repeat bid is on the line with Foles running up against the NFL’s most feared defense. He’s beaten some solid units over the years, but this will be the best group he’ll face, having to do so on the road. For that reason, Philadelphia is the heaviest underdog
Chicago, making its first playoff appearance since 2010, led the NFL in fewest points allowed (17.7 ppg) and allowed the third-fewest yards per game (299.7). They had the most sacks and scored the most defensive touchdowns. Over the last 10 games, the Bears have surrendered 17 or fewer points seven times.
Linebacker Khalil Mack, defensive tackle Akiem Hicks, safety Eddie Jackson and corner Kyle Fuller all made the Pro Bowl, while a couple others were arguably deserving. This is the only matchup of the weekend that hasn’t taken place this regular season, though there is a series history to be aware that you can check out below.
The biggest name who is an injury concern is Jackson, who has missed the last two games with an ankle injury. He has gotten props from Pro Football Focus for securing the top coverage grade they’ve ever given a safety, beating out Ravens icon Ed Reed. He’s scored five touchdowns and has been the cherry on top of the sundae as far as making Chicago’s defense elite goes.
If Jackson plays, which he should, Foles will have his work cut out for him stretching the field and spreading it around in the manner that has helped spark the Eagles’ attack. He comes into this game with sore ribs, which means that taking any type of hit could leave Philly with Nate Sudfeld under center.
Left tackle Jason Peters is the Eagles’ biggest injury concern and is also likely to play through a nagging quad issue. Although he’s no longer the force he once was, his experience will be crucial and his effectiveness will likely end up being a key x-factor in the outcome of this one. Check out the injury report below for more on who’s in and out of this weekend’s final playoff game.
Philadelphia will try and stay hot by riding proven weapons like tight end Zack Ertz and receivers Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor. Foles has a different stable of backs than he had at his disposal to take pressure off him this time last year, so we’ll see if a healthy Darren Sproles, Josh Adams and Wendell Smallwood can replicate the production of Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement and LaGarrette Blount.
There are a number of names back from a Super Bowl-winning defense, but it hasn’t exactly been championship-caliber at all this season. Fletcher Cox remains a force up front, but the Bears are well equipped to keep him from being a major factor due to a short passing game that utilizes the speed of weapons like Tarik Cohen, Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and rookie Anthony Miller. Although there are some bruises to read about below, Chicago has Trubisky back from the shoulder injury that cost him multiple games and forced the offense to struggle with backup Chase Daniel.
The former No. 2 pick has thrown 24 touchdown passes and over 3,200 yards, but this will be his first playoff appearance after largely struggling as a rookie last season. Working at home should help, but the Eagles will certainly be looking to rattle his cage.
Chicago has won seven of eight at Soldier Field, falling only against the Patriots on Oct. 21 in a game where it allowed a season-worst 38 points. The Bears have covered the number seven of eight times. The Eagles are 4-4 away from home this season but have won their last two, beating the Rams and ‘Skins. They’re 1-2 SU and ATS as road underdogs.
Trubisky lost to Philadelphia 31-3 in Week 13 of last season, getting intercepted twice. Running back Jordan Howard picked up just six yards on seven carries. Chicago will have a healthy respect for the Eagles defense as a result, but it’s an entirely different show with Matt Nagy running things than it was with John Fox, especially since Trubisky has blossomed and gained experience.
The Bears led the league in yards per play at home and averaged over 28 points per game, so we’ll see if they get comfortable enough to be as aggressive as you can be sure their defense will be.
Projected season win total: 10.5 (Over +130, Under -150)
Preseason odds to win NFC East: 5/7
Odds to win NFC (Preseason/Current): 7/1 to 15/1
Odds to win Super Bowl (Preseason/Current): 14/1 to 30/1
Season win total: 7.5 (Over +115, Under -135)
Preseason Odds to win NFC North: 8/1
Odds to win NFC (Preseason/Current): 25/1 to 9/2
Odds to win Super Bowl (Preseason/Current): 50/1 to 9/1
FUTURES OUTCOMES/LINE MOVEMENT
If you bet on the Bears to have the type of the season they've enjoyed, you've likely profited handsomely. The numbers above are all provided by the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook. The Bears paid out +800 in winning their division, but Dallas cashed at +350 over the favored defending champion Eagles (5-to-7).
Playoff props at Westgate paid out +240 on the Bears reaching the postseason. The Eagles were -280, so the Bears really came through for chalk-eaters with a bailout by defeating the Vikings, spoiling a big payday for naysayers who were set to collect at a +230 rate. Buy a friend a beverage if you were on the winning side.
As far as this matchup is concerned, the Bears opened at -5.5 to -6 before and is right there in that area currently with -6.5 the most common number out there.
The Bears opened at -250 on the money line and are available at -260 at the moment. If you like the home 'dog outright, a payout on a Eagles win will get you +210 to +220 depending on the shop.
A late development on Saturday night saw Bears starting tight end Trey Burton unexpectedly land on the injury report with a groin injury that has him considered 'questionable.' Burton has scored six touchdowns and made 54 catches so if he's gone, Trubisky will be without one of his favorite targets and will have to make due with unproven Ben Braunecker and Daniel Brown. Receivers Robinson (ribs), Gabriel (ribs) and Miller (shoulder) have all been cleared to play. Chicago defensive tackle Bilal Nichols (knee) is expected to play, but safety Bryce Callahan (foot) has been ruled out and LB Aaron Lynch (elbow) isn't likely to go.
The Eagles are without multiple starters in their secondary, but that's not a new issue. Corner Sidney Jones (hamstring) has been ruled out, joining the likes of Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby, who have been out for a while already. WR Mike Wallace (ankle) is also sidelined.
Sunday’s afternoon's total opened at 41 and has been bet up to 41.5. Temperatures in Chicago are expected to be in the low 40's with wind gusts likely to be in the teens. The 'under' has prevailed in the last four Bears games to get to 8-8 in their games this season. The 'under' was 9-7 in Eagles' games.
Weekly “Total Talk” writer Chris David of VegasInsider.com provided his thoughts on this matchup and both Sunday contests here:
RECENT MEETINGS (Philadelphia 7-6 SU, 7-6 ATS last 10; OVER 7-6)
11/26/17 Philadelphia 31-3 vs. Chicago (PHI -14, 43.5)
9/19/16 Philadelphia 29-14 at Chicago (PHI +3, 42.5)
12/22/13 Philadelphia 54-11 vs. Chicago (PHI -3, 53.5)
11/7/11 Chicago 30-24 at Philadelphia (CHI +8, 47.5)
11/28/10 Chicago 31-26 vs. Philadelphia (CHI +3.5, 43)
11/22/09 Philadelphia 24-20 at Chicago (PHI -3.5, 47)
9/28/08 Chicago 24-20 vs. Philadelphia (CHI +3, 39)
10/21/07 Chicago 19-16 at Philadelphia (CHI +5.5, 43)
10/3/04 Philadelphia 19-9 at Chicago (PHI -8.5, 40.5)
11/3/02 Philadelphia 19-13 at Chicago (CHI +7, 37.5)
1/19/02 Philadelphia 33-19 at Chicago (PHI +3, 32.5)
10/22/00 Philadelphia 13-9 vs. Chicago (CHI +6.5, 41)
10/17/99 Philadelphia 20-16 at Chicago (PHI +6.5, 35)
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