The Cardinals head into Chicago with the NFC West title on their mind, while the Bears hope to end the year with some dignity. This matchup isn’t exactly David vs Goliath, but it is not far off from it, either.
Kyler Murray (ankle) and DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring) are game-time decisions for the Cardinals, while Bears quarterback Justin Fields (ribs) and wideout Allen Robinson (hamstring) are doubtful to suit up.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at our Cardinals vs Bears predictions and best bets.
Please note that all NFL gameday odds are current as of 5:00 p.m. ET on Friday, December 3.
Cardinals vs Bears Prediction
The Cardinals are such juggernauts that even with Colt McCoy at the helm, they won two of their past three games with a +44 point differential. This team as a whole is clearly talented. They rank third in defensive DVOA and feature one of the most dynamic offenses in the league at full strength.
Chicago is nearly the polar opposite. Their defense has been a calling card for the past few seasons, but this year, it’s bottomed out and ranks No. 20. The injury to star EDGE Khalil Mack (foot) along with the offseason departure of CB Kyle Fuller are two big reasons why.
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With Andy Dalton set to start at quarterback again for the Bears, the hope will be that he can build off a solid performance on Thanksgiving. Dalton threw for a season-high 317 yards against the Lions and led an 18-play drive that resulted in Chicago’s game-winning field goal.
Dalton may run head coach Matt Nagy’s “system" better than Fields, yet that didn’t lead to many points on the board against one of the league’s worst defenses last week.
Chicago has the benefit of home field, and the weather should be near-freezing with drizzle and wind in the teens. This is foreign territory for the Cardinals, who are typically dry on the west coast in their domed home stadium.
Chicago is very, very unlikely to win this game straight up, but do not assume they’ll get walked all over despite all typical indications pointing toward such a result.
Prediction: Cardinals 23, Bears 17
Cardinals vs Bears Best Bets
Best Bet: Bears +7.5 (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 2 Units
Kyler Murray is one of the NFL’s best signal-callers, and DeAndre Hopkins one of the best wideouts. However, they are both potentially returning from a long layoff.
Football is a rough sport, and getting rest is necessary. Too much can occasionally do harm, especially if it is a result of injury. Murray and Hopkins are also at risk of re-injury despite missing nearly the entire month of November to heal.
Chicago is technically coming in rested as well after playing on Thanksgiving rather than the previous Sunday. They are not a very good football team on the precipice, but there is talent in spots that cannot be counted out.
Yes, Chicago barely beat the winless Lions, but they should be capable of keeping it within eight points against the Cardinals. Arizona’s rush defense ranks No. 15 despite their passing defense ranking third. Chicago will not be completely lost on offense if they play to their strengths.
I’m backing the Bears as my NFL pick of the day.
Best Bet: Under 42.5 Total Points (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
This game will be very gross thanks to the prevalence of both teams’ run games. James Conner will likely take on a larger load if Murray plays to prevent him from taking hits and/or running, while the Bears’ run game has been the only life they’ve had all season.
Chicago will do everything in its power to grind out downs and keep the ball out of the Cardinals’ hands, while Arizona is unlikely to press against an opponent they consider inferior.
Chicago is also No. 20 in seconds per play, while Arizona ranks No. 24.