Sunday Night Football Preview

Bears at Packers

Each week, TheLines will provide a betting breakdown and analysis for the upcoming Sunday Night Football game. We’ll look at SNF betting odds and see why they’re moving a certain way, along with breaking down the matchup.

The Green Bay Packers (7-3) host the rival Chicago Bears (5-5) at Lambeau Field for the 8:20 p.m. ET Sunday Night Football kickoff in Week 12. Green Bay is coming off a 34-31 overtime loss against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 11 but remains safely atop the NFC North. Chicago had a bye last week and hopes to regroup after dropping four in a row following a 5-1 start; the Bears come into Week 12 one game ahead of the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions for second in the division.

This is the first meeting of the year between the historic franchises. They’ll play again in Week 17 at Soldier Field in Chicago but several key Packers starters could have the week off if the division is won before then. The Packers won both meetings last season by scores of 10-3 and 21-13, and they’ve won seven of eight head-to-head contests since the 2015 season.

Green Bay is favored by () points on its home field with this game carrying the largest spread of Week 12. The Packers opened as 7-point favorites last week before the road loss against the Colts. The Over/Under of () is among the lowest projected totals of the week.

SNF betting odds and analysis

 

The Packers carry the least profitable moneyline odds of Week 12. No team has a lower implied win probability than the Bears, who offer better than a 3-1 return on investment with an upset road win.

Despite the lopsided odds and lines, the Packers have received the bulk of the betting action. Sixty-nine percent of against the spread bets and 76% of the ATS betting handle was on Green Bay at FanDuel Sportsbook through Wednesday afternoon.

A more even 54% of the moneyline tickets were on the Bears with bettors looking for an underdog to back. The sharps are still on Green Bay’s moneyline with 86% of the ML handle on the hosts.

With little inspiration to bet the Bears, action should continue leaning toward the Packers with the spread possibly growing through the weekend.

Here are the key betting trends for the Packers and Bears heading into their SNF matchup:

  • Green Bay is 3-1 at Lambeau Field this year while Chicago is a respectable 3-2 on the road.
  • The Packers own a 6-4 against the spread record (2-2 at home) to the Bears’ 5-5 ATS mark (3-2 on the road).
  • Green Bay is also 6-4 against the Over/Under while topping projections by 5.7 points per game. Chicago is 3-7 against the O/U and falls 4.0 PPG shy of the line.
  • Games at Lambeau Field are just 2-2 against the number and top the line by an average of 0.2 PPG.
  • The 8.5-point line is the second-largest spread of the season favoring the Packers. They failed to cover as 13.5-point favorites in a 24-20 home win against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 10.
  • The Bears are underdogs for the ninth straight game and 10th time in 11 games this season. They haven’t faced a spread greater than 6.5 but are 0-2 against that number.
  • The projected total is the lowest for a Packers game since Week 1 when they topped a 44.5-point line in a 43-34 win over the Minnesota Vikings.

Bears at Packers game matchup

 

The Packers, who are averaging a third-ranked 30.8 points per game on the season, are being led by the offensive Big 3 of QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Aaron Jones, and WR Davante Adams. A rejuvenated Rodgers has 29 touchdown passes against four interceptions with another score on the ground; he leads the league with 9.3 adjusted yards per attempt and a 115.8 quarterback rating.

Jones has 795 yards from scrimmage and eight TDs in eight games, though he has just one 100-yard rushing game. Adams leads the league with 105.9 receiving yards per game with totals of 847 yards and 10 TDs in eight games. He has topped 150 yards in a game three times. WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (25 receptions, 518 yards, 4 TDs) and TE Robert Tonyan (32, 391, 6) have emerged as reliable options for Rodgers, and WR Allen Lazard will play his second game since returning from injury.

And then there are the Bears. QB Mitchell Trubisky will draw his first start since Week 3 in place of an injured Nick Foles (hip). Trubisky completed just 59.3% of 86 passes for 560 yards and six touchdowns against three picks before being replaced under center.

Bears second-year RB David Montgomery will return from injury for Week 12. He missed Week 10 but recovered over the bye. He has a modest 684 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns on 161 touches across nine games. WR/RB Cordarrelle Patterson ranks second on the team with 118 rushing yards and 41 carries. WR Allen Robinson, handcuffed by horrendous quarterback play, has 63 receptions on 95 targets for 755 yards and three scores.

Chicago has the edge defensively, as it does against most opponents. It’s fourth in the NFL by Football Outsiders’ Total DVOA and eighth with opponents averaging just 5.2 yards per play. The Packers surrender 5.8 yards per play. As such, Chicago gives up just 20.9 PPG to Green Bay’s 25.8 PPG allowed.

Both teams rank in the middle of the pack with 21 defensive sacks through 10 games. They are both ranked in the bottom third of ESPN’s Team Pass Rush Win Rate. Chicago’s strength is in run stopping while ranked 12th; Green Bay ranks 19th.

The offensive line has been a strength for the Packers. They’re ranked No. 1 in Team Pass Block Win Rate and No. 2 in Team Run Block Win Rate. The Bears’ O-line ranks 24th and 25th, respectively, in those metrics and isn’t providing much help for Montgomery and the QBs.

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How to watch Sunday Night Football

NBC will air all Sunday Night Football games.

The Week 17 TV spot on Jan. 3, 2021 will remain open until much later in the season, as potential playoff battles will factor into the league’s flexible scheduling decisions.

Games are also streamed all season on NBC’s website and the NBCSports mobile apps. Most packages on streaming services such as fuboTV, Hulu, PlayStation Vue and Sling TV include NBC.

SNF drew an average of 20.5 million viewers in 2019. It was Sunday Night Football’s best ratings in four years.

SNF’s Week 1 TV ratings in 2020 were not great, however, as there was a 15% drop in viewership from the previous year. The game in 2020 featured Cowboys vs. Rams, while the 2019 opener was the Patriots vs. Steelers.

SNF betting tips

How to bet Sunday Night Football like a sharp

The hype and hoopla circulating Sunday Night Football can distract casual bettors. Analysts, reporters and local news crews have a full week to pump out every different angle to the game and dig for stories. Players can add to the mirage on social media whether by talking up their own team or taking too many shots at the opposition.

Learn to separate the hype from fact and don’t fall victim to live-betting out of boredom if the game ends up being a dud. Look at the lines early in the week to assess the odds before the public money starts pouring in and either bet on the numbers set by the books or sit and wait to see if the line shifts in your favor. Reassess later in the week and bet against the public if the line shifts too heavily based on nothing more than favoritism.

The standalone nature of the game also draws in more bets. The entire nation is focused on one single game, which, more often than not, is no bigger than the dozen or so games that preceded it that week. Never bet just to add to the excitement (or create excitement around a lackluster matchup) if wanting long-term success. Wait to see if the favorite falls behind early and then is given a high number as a sudden in-game underdog. Carefully browse through lines on prop bets, looking at different sportsbooks and pick the best value. Shop around and pick on a book that seems out of touch with the others. Don’t scoff at an easier play on the point spread in search of a big payday with a heavy underdog winning outright.

Sunday Night Football edges

Primetime games often see home teams too heavily favored. Do the research, keep up to date with injury news and look at the matchup in a vacuum to see if the odds check out. Don’t look too much at individual players returning to their hometown, being reported as having “extra motivation” or who may be close to statistical milestones. Few wide receivers, for example, can seriously impact a game on their own, especially when facing a top corner who’s fully aware of their motivation in the one-on-one matchup.

Look for teams and especially head coaches who thrive under the spotlight and more importantly the additional preparation time. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots receive more primetime slots than the average team. This experience provides an edge in certain matchups against teams who may be overwhelmed from added media attention and interview requests.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does Sunday Night Football start?

Sunday Night Football kicks off every week from Sept. 13 through Jan. 3 at 8:20 p.m. Eastern. The ‘Football Night in America’ pregame show begins at 7 p.m. Eastern. NBC first started airing SNF for the 2006 season, taking over from ESPN.

How to stream Sunday Night Football?

Never miss a SNF game when you’re on the go with the NBCSports mobile apps. Cord-cutters can also use streaming services such as Hulu which includes NBC in most of its packages.

Who are the SNF announcers?

Booth announcers Al Michaels (play-by-play) and Cris Collinsworth (color commentary) provide the broadcast each week. Field reporter Michele Tayofa and rules expert Terry McAulay join in. Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison and Mike Florio make up the pregame show.

Who was the original Sunday Night Football broadcast crew?

Cris Collinsworth replaced legendary former head coach John Madden as the color commentator beside Michaels in 2009.

Who sings the Sunday Night Football theme song?

Country music star Carrie Underwood has been singing the SNF theme since 2013. She replaced fellow country star Faith Hill, who took over from pop star P!nk after just one season in 2007. The current song is titled “Game On”. Previous versions were “Oh, Sunday Night” and “Waiting All Day For Sunday Night” in 2016.