- BetOnline has established the Chicago Bears as 5.5-point favorites over the Philadelphia Eagles
- The Bears are the only team laying more than 2.5 points in the four Wild Card Weekend NFL playoff games
- Bears are 7-1 ATS at home this season
Are the Chicago Bears that much better than the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles?
BetOnline certainly believes this to be so. The online sports betting site has established the opening odds for NFL Wild Card weekend and the Bears are solid 5.5-point favorites to roll on past the Eagles.
NFL Wild Card Weekend Spreads
|Away Team||Home Team at
|Philadelphia Eagles +5.5 (-110)||Chicago Bears -5-5 (-110)|
|Seattle Seahawks +2.5 (-110)||Dallas Cowboys -2.5 (-110)|
|Indianapolis Colts +2.5 (-117)||Houston Texans -2-5 (-103)|
|Los Angeles Chargers +2.5 (-101)||Baltimore Ravens -2.5 (-119)|
*All odds taken 12/31
The final game on the slate with a 4:40 pm EST Sunday start time, the Eagles-Bears clash is the only one of the four Wild Card games opening with a spread wider than 2.5 points.
Is That Too Much To Give?
Surprisingly, close calls are the exception rather than the norm when it comes to the NFL's Wild Card weekend.
Last season, all four games showed spreads of six points or greater. In 2016, the closest spread was the Houston Texans minus-4 against the Oakland Raiders.
In fact, you have go all the way back to 2015, when the Pittsburgh Steelers were minus-two at the Cincinnati Bengals, to find a Wild Card game with a smaller spread than this weekend's contests.
The Bears now have to play the Philadelphia Eagles, who, in addition to being the reigning Super Bowl champions, are the hottest team in the NFL.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) December 31, 2018
But is it a wise choice to give so many points in an opening-round postseason game? Recent history says it's a dangerous move.
Since 2010, there have been 14 Wild Card weekend games in which one team was favored by 5.5 or more points. Six of those teams won and covered. Three of them won and didn't cover. Five of them lost outright.
Last season, all four Wild Card weekend games featured spreads of six points or greater and the underdog came through in all four games.
Jacksonville (-8.5) won over Buffalo but didn't cover, as did New Orleans (-6.5) against Carolina. The Los Angeles Rams (-6) lost outright to Atlanta and the Kansas City Chiefs (-8.5), the heaviest favorite of the weekend, was also defeated by Tennessee.
Remember Bears, You Asked For This
All the Bears had to do on Sunday was lose at Minnesota and they would have booked a home date to open the playoffs against the hot mess that is the Vikings.
Instead, they chose a game against the NFL's hottest team.
So, #Eagles fans shift from saying "Go Bears!" to "#$%@ the Bears!" in a matter seconds. See you in Chicago.
— Ducis Rodgers (@duciswild) December 31, 2018
The Eagles have won three in a row and five of six. Super Bowl 52 MVP Nick Foles, who came off the bench last year to replace the injured Carson Wentz as Philly's quarterback, has done so again down the stretch and is 4-0 as a starter this season.
But history is not on Philadelphia's side. The last defending Super Bowl champion to play on Wild Card weekend was the Saints in 2010. They went to Seattle as 10-point underdogs and lost 41-36.
Imagine you’re a fan of the R-words last night for a second. You walked into your own stadium to find it filled with Eagles fans cheering for the Bears…Imagine that… pic.twitter.com/1nR41ZMnFR
— Greg (@cheeez33) December 31, 2018
We see history repeating itself. Led by their smothering defense, the Bears will beat the Eagles. But they won't cover.
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