The 2017/2018 NFL season starts this weekend and there’s plenty of great games to bet on – including the Chicago Bears vs. Atlanta Falcons match-up. The Falcons will be looking to rebound after a shocking loss to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl last February, but the team remains relatively intact and hopes are high again this season.
It’s a different story for the Chicago Bears, which have made serious changes in the hopes to pull them out of NFL obscurity. A fresh look for the season could see the Bears become more competitive and be a threat to teams like the Falcons and getting off to a good start will be vital for the proud club.
Chicago Bears form
The Bears have had a mixed pre-season with two wins and two losses. The two wins came against the Arizona Cardinals and the Tennessee Titans – both passing teams which bodes well against the Falcons. Its most recent workout game was a poor loss to the Cleveland Browns where they failed to score a point in a 25-0 drubbing, but the back-up players were mostly used so bettors shouldn’t look too much into that performance.
Getting rid of Jay Cutler at the quarterback position might help the Browns improve on last season’s record which was dismal to say the least.
The Bears won only four of its 16 games last season and serious changes needed to be made for them to be competitive this season. We’re not sure if adding two second-string quarterbacks will improve them enough to pass the expected 8-8 mark, but Cutler wasn’t working for them.
On the positive side, the Bears did win their first game of the season against the Cleveland Browns and wins later in the season against the Lions, 49ers and Vikings. The Bears won the only game between these two sides played in Chicago. This was played in 2011 where the Bears came away with the 30-12 victory.
Atlanta Falcons form
Last year’s Super Bowl finalists had a tremendous 2016/2017 season, but if the pre-season is anything to go by, they will need to improve.
The Falcons lost all four pre-season games, but the scores were close and their premier players weren’t used often. Last season was a stellar year for the Falcons which suffered only four losses and that included the Super Bowl meltdown to the Patriots.
The Falcons were all but celebrating the victory until the Patriots made the biggest comeback in SB history to down the Falcons 34-28 in overtime.
Throughout the season the Falcons showed plenty of stellar offense, led by Matt “Ice” Ryan. He’s a top-quality quarterback which can lead any offense down the field and his receivers this year look like they will do the job well.
The Falcons lost their opening round match against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season which is a concern for bettors looking to take the favourites in this game. The Falcons didn’t struggle to put points up away from home last season, but they did struggle against defensively-minded teams. The Seahawks and Eagles were able to better the Falcons by playing tough defense and that’s a concern.
Looking at both teams on paper it would take a brave punter to back against the Falcons, but the 1/3 head-to-head odds aren’t great and there are positives in favour of the Bears. They play well in season openers and it could be a defensive-type game. The Bears are getting +6.5 points (10/11 at bet365) and we think that could be enough of a head-start to see them through. There’s no doubting that the Falcons will target the Bears through the air, but playing away from home in week one isn’t easy and the Bears need this win more than the Falcons do.