The Chicago Bears travel to Los Angeles as consensus 7.5-point underdogs this week to take on the Rams on Sunday Night Football.
Andy Dalton will get the start for the Bears, much to the chagrin of most of the fanbase. Justin Fields is waiting in the wings, but Matt Nagy and the rest of the Bears coaching staff are unwilling to throw him out in one of the toughest spots on the schedule.
The spread is 7.5 at every Illinois online sportsbook, up from seven in the offseason. The only game with a bigger spread discrepancy is the reigning Super Bowl champion Buccaneers (-8) vs. the Cowboys.
Here are the Bears odds at Illinois sportsbooks, as well as a preview of the game.
Bears @ Rams odds at Illinois sportsbooks
Here’s a look at the Bears vs. Rams odds:
These lines are pretty hammered into place, as Week 1 odds have been available for months. It’s unlikely that you’ll see much line movement at this stage, barring any unexpected injury news.
Los Angeles, by plenty of metrics, had the best defense in the NFL last year. The Rams led the league in opponent yards per play, which takes out noisy factors such as time of possession and is a good indication of how effective a defense really is. Most of the same personnel are returning, including Aaron Donald. And he’ll go up against a patchwork Bears offensive line.
The Rams also led the NFL in sacks in 2020.
Chicago, meanwhile, had a questionable offensive line coming into training camp — and lost projected starting left tackle Teven Jenkins to a back injury.
The Bears will start 39-year-old Jason Peters, a training camp addition, instead. While Peters is one of the great left tackles of his generation, he was likely unsigned for a reason. And with Dalton lacking mobility, it’s easy to see the Bears struggling on offense on the road against the Rams.
Dalton might be capable enough in a good situation, but between the iffy offensive line and a lack of wide receiver depth behind Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney, it’s hard to argue that the Bears’ situation is good.
The over/under for the game is 45. How much Chicago contributes to that total is in serious doubt.
Chicago will see familiar foe in Matthew Stafford
In one of the biggest acquisitions of the NFL offseason, the Rams traded for Matthew Stafford from the Lions. Stafford is a clearly talented quarterback who has played on some poor Lions teams, and Rams head coach Sean McVay is considered one of the top offensive minds in the league.
In theory, it’s a match made in heaven. Unless you’re the Bears in Week 1 and your defense has little-to-no room for error.
On paper, the Chicago defense is clearly its strength.
Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Eddie Jackson and Roquan Smith are impact players at their best, and there are other starters to be excited about it. With that said, this isn’t the surefire top-five unit it once was.
The Bears cut Kyle Fuller for salary cap purposes, and the cornerback depth chart is a cause for concern. Jaylon Johnson was solid as a rookie, but beyond him, Chicago is relying on a mix of young, later-draft picks and journeymen. If the pass rush isn’t extraordinary, the Bears might be ordinary.
And the Rams have plenty of talent on the outside, with Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp the likely beneficiaries of the Stafford addition. Los Angeles took a step back on offense last year, finishing 19th in yards per play with Jared Goff at the helm.
One would expect the Rams to leap back into the top 10 with the Stafford addition. But even if the Stafford-McVay marriage gets off to a rocky start, it might not matter because we raise you a Nagy-Dalton marriage.