At long last, the NFL regular season is almost here, but there’s one more preseason week before teams can kick off their official schedule. The Chicago Bears host the Buffalo Bills for both teams’ dress rehearsal before both teams start the campaign with big matchups against division rivals. Let’s look at the odds and find some value in this preseason finale.
Bills vs Bears Odds
NFL odds used for this Buffalo vs Chicago preview were found at FanDuel Sportsbook and are current as of Aug. 21, 2023, at 2:30 p.m. ET.
- Moneyline: Bills (-110) • Bears (-110)
- Spread: Bills -1 (+100) • Bears +1 (-120)
- Total Points: Over 37.5 (-110) • Under 37.5 (-110)
- Implied Score: Bills 19.25, Bears 18.25
Bills vs Bears Predictions
Score Pick: Bears 22, Bills 19
Buffalo has made the playoffs four years in a row, including three consecutive division titles- they know the general basis of their scheme and who will be playing this year. There’s always something to tweak in the NFL, but the overwhelming likelihood is that they will let almost all of their starters have effectively a week off and rest up for the regular season.
Josh Allen got to play for a good while last week, which head coach Sean McDermott probably viewed as a dress rehearsal; last year, he rested most of his starters in the final preseason game, including Allen, who did not see the field at all. In relief of Allen, Matt Barkley was awful and threw three picks, something to keep in mind as he will likely see a lot of snaps in Allen’s potential absence.
The Bears are a younger team than the Bills and, as such, have a lot more to figure out. They’ve brought in a lot of new players over a busy offseason, and appear to be working on a potential offensive scheme overhaul, so every opportunity to test things out in a low-stakes environment is valuable. It’s likely that they put a lot more into this game than Buffalo in terms of playing their best options.
Justin Fields, for instance, did not play a snap last week, but he played a good amount in week 3 last year, as did many of the Bears’ starting skill players at the time. Matt Eberflus isn’t going to burn out his starters, but in the interest of preparing for a big season and keeping everyone warm, I wouldn’t be surprised if Fields and others see some action.
Bills vs Bears Best Bets & Props
Over 37.5 (-110)
FanDuel Sportsbook • WAGER: 2 units
My NFL bet of the day will be on the total for this game, which I believe will go over. 37.5 is a pretty interesting number for this game, considering the consistency between both teams, despite playing various starters in Weeks 1 and 2. Both of the Bills’ preseason games thus far have had an identical scoring total, with that number being 42.
The Bears have been right at the same level and almost as consistent; their games have ended with totals of 41 and 40. Based on this trend and the personnel who could be getting playing time for both teams, it’s worth investing in this Over.
FanDuel Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 unit
Confusingly enough, the Bears are +1 on the spread, but the game is a pick ‘em in terms of the moneyline. That’s a strange situation, so feel free to keep shopping around for plus-odds on this line, but I’m still taking it rather than the spread since it’s a slightly better payout.
That being said, the Bears have more of a reason to take this game seriously; Eberflus showed a willingness to play starters in preseason week 3 last year, and this is a young team that will want some positives to build on going into what will be a make-or-break season for many in the organization.
Bills vs Bears Same Game Parlay
Bills vs Bears SGP (+247)
DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: .5 unit
- Over 38 (-110)
- Bears (-122)
With limited options during the preseason, we’re taking what we can and increasing the payout on two favored minus-odds outcomes. The Bears are much more likely to play their starters, and in the preseason, simply who sees the most playing time can be a huge determining factor in picking a winner.
On a related note, the Chicago offense needs the most work, so Eberflus could choose to keep scoring points all game long without necessarily using the personnel needed to stop the Bills’ backups from doing so as well. I like the score to get relatively high in this one and for the Bears to come out on top.