The Rams will host the 8:20 p.m. ET kickoff at SoFi Stadium, with the game available on NBC. L.A. is coming off a 10-6 campaign that ended with an NFC Divisional Round loss to the Green Bay Packers; it followed a win over the NFC West champion Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card Round. Chicago went 8-8 and finished second in the NFC North; it then lost 21-9 in a road playoff game against the New Orleans Saints.
It’s the dawn of a new era for both teams, though. The Rams dealt QB Jared Goff and several draft picks to the Detroit Lions for veteran QB Matthew Stafford early in the offseason. The Bears let QB Mitchell Trubisky leave in free agency; they then signed veteran QB Andy Dalton and traded up to select QB Justin Fields at No. 11 in the draft.
SNF BETTING ODDS AND ANALYSIS
The Rams arepoint favorites at home in primetime in Week 1. It’s one of the largest spreads of the opening week. The point total is among the lowest for Week 1.
The spread is indicative of the 2021 expectations for both teams. Los Angeles shares the third-best odds of winning Super Bowl LVI at +1300, while Chicago is a bottom-end contender at +5000. The Rams are the favorites to win the NFC West at +180 and have a projected win total of 10.5. The Bears are third by the odds to win the NFC North at +375; they have a projected win total of just 7.5 in the first 17-game regular season.
At FanDuel Sportsbook, 57 percent of bets and 65 percent of the betting handle had come in on the Bears in the first 24 hours. Fifty-nine percent of against the spread (ATS) bets were on the Rams but 57 percent of the handle remained on the visitors.
Here are the betting trends of note for both the Rams and Bears from the 2020 season:
- The Rams were 9-7 ATS in the regular season and covered by 1.1 points per game. The Bears were 8-8 ATS but covered by 2.3 PPG despite winning by just 0.1 PPG.
- Chicago was 8-8 against the Over/Under and played 1.6 PPG above the line; Los Angeles had the second-lowest Over percentage in the NFL with a record of 4-12 against the number and fell an average of 5.4 PPG shy of the line.
- The Rams were 7-3 straight up outside of the division in the regular season; the Bears were 6-4 outside of the NFC North.
- Los Angeles was 8-4 straight up as a favorite and won by 5.8 PPG, including the playoffs. Chicago was 6-7 as an underdog in the regular season.
- L.A. beat Chicago 24-10 in a Week 7 Monday Night Football meeting at SoFi Stadium last season. The Rams easily covered a closing line of 6.5 points and the point total came in 10 points below the projected line.
Fields will be the talk of the town in Chicago for the rest of the offseason as the presumptive QB of the feature for the long-offensively challenged Bear; however, fans are likely to need to wait a little while longer for his regular-season debut. Dalton should draw the start against the Rams after signing a one-year, $10 million contract, and is favored to do so by DraftKings Sportsbook.
The Rams had the No. 1 scoring defense in the 2020 regular season with 18.5 points allowed per game. They were ninth by ESPN’s Pass Rush Win Rate but a modest 16th by Run Stop Win Rate. They were also fourth by Football Outsiders’ total DVOA and first by weighted DVOA (fourth vs. pass, third vs. rush). L.A. was second in the NFL with 53 sacks and 12th with 14 interceptions.
That defense lost some complementary pieces this offseason but anchors DT Aaron Donald and CB Jalen Ramsey remain. LB Leonard Floyd was re-signed. Offensively, Stafford was the only notable change for head coach Sean McVay. He comes off a 4,084-yard, 26-touchdown season with the Lions. He’ll be surrounded by the best supporting cast he has had since Calvin Johnson retired, with WRs Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. Second-year receiver Van Jefferson steps into the No. 3 role vacated by Josh Reynolds. While the Rams WR corps is stacked, their backfield is in rough shape heading into the season with Cam Akers done for the year (Achilles).
The Bears are again expected to focus on defense and the run game until Fields is deemed ready to step in. Dalton completed 64.9 percent of his passes for 2,170 yards and 14 touchdowns against eight interceptions as a backup-turned-starter for the Dallas Cowboys last season. Bears RB David Montgomery had a breakout second season with 1,508 yards from scrimmage and 10 total touchdowns. WR Allen Robinson was retained on the franchise tag.
Chicago allowed 23.1 PPG last season with the offense often leaving the defense with unenviable field position. The Bears recorded 35 sacks and 10 interceptions while ranking 25th in Pass Rush Win Rate and 17th in Run Stop Win Rate. Chicago was eighth by total DVOA.