- The New Orleans Saints have quickly emerged as strong favorites in their Wild Card Weekend clash with the Chicago Bears
- The Saints clinched the No. 2 seed in the NFC with a 33-7 win over Carolina, while Chicago claimed the No. 7 seed despite their Week 17 loss to Green Bay
- We’ve got you covered on all the early line movement for next weekend’s NFC matchup at Mercedes-Benz Superdome
The New Orleans Saints will be aiming to avoid a third straight loss in postseason action when they play host to the Chicago Bears on Wild Card Weekend as 8.5-point favorites. Big 33-7 winners over the Carolina Panthers in their Week 17 season finale, the Saints opened as 7-point home favorites before climbing to -8.5 within a matter of minutes.
The Bears saw a three-game win streak end with Sunday’s 35-16 loss to the top-seeded Green Bay Packers, but are back in the playoffs as the No. 7 seed in the NFC on the strength of Arizona’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Here’s a look at the opening lines and what to expect ahead of next weekend’s clash at Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Bears vs Saints Opening Odds
|Chicago Bears||+8.5 (-110)||+350||TBD|
|New Orleans Saints||-8.5 (-110)||-450||TBD|
Odds taken on Jan. 3rd at FanDuel.
Saints Offense Clicking Without Kamara, Thomas
The Saints offense didn’t miss a beat while claiming the No. 2 seed in the NFC with Sunday’s victory over Carolina, despite the absence of rusher Alvin Kamara and receiver Michael Thomas. Kamara tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, which ruled him out of action for Week 17, and also places his status in doubt for Wild Card Weekend.
#Saints star Alvin Kamara’s week:
Score 6 TDs in a win over the #Vikings that wraps up the NFC South title.
Get fined $5,000 for wearing red-and-green cleats in that game.
Test positive for COVID-19, sidelined for Week 17 and potentially wild-card playoff.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 1, 2021
Kamara’s positive test further impacted the team, with rushers Latavius Murray and Dwayne Washington and fullback Michael Burton also being held out of Sunday’s game for precautionary reasons due to close contact with Kamara. However, Ty Montgomery filled the void admirably, rushing for a game-high 105 yards.
Drew Brees mentioned that the Saints will get Michael Thomas back.
— John Hendrix (@JohnJHendrix) January 4, 2021
Thomas has been sidelined for three weeks by an ankle injury, but reports indicate he could return to action in time to face the Bears. And quarterback Drew Brees continued to round into form against the Panthers, connecting on three scoring passes for the third time in five outings.
Bears Back into Playoffs Despite Loss to Packers
Following a pair of impressive road wins in Minnesota and Jacksonville, the regular season ended on a losing note for the Bears. Chicago failed to maintain an early lead in Sunday’s home date with the Packers despite dominating in time of possession. Turnovers proved to be the Bears’ undoing, with Green Bay converting a first-half fumble and a second-half interception into game-altering touchdowns, on their way to victory as 4.5-point chalk.
Despite losing to Packers in regular-season finale, #Bears clinch a playoff berth as Cardinals lose to Rams.
7th-seeded Chicago will play at 2nd-seeded New Orleans in the wild-card round.https://t.co/ZrtIOUuHMt pic.twitter.com/kGuWdhpgvj
— 670 The Score (@670TheScore) January 4, 2021
However, unlike the Saints, Chicago comes out of Week 17 with few injury concerns. SU and ATS winners in five of eight road dates this season, the Bears have received their fair share of respect at the sportsbooks when they play away from Soldier Field. While Chicago sported positive odds in seven of eight road games this season, the team has not been pegged as a road underdog by eight or more points since Week 17 of 2017.
Saints Injury Report a Wild Card for Sports Bettors
Whether that trend continues will depend on the injury situation in the Big Easy, and what the week ahead has in store for Thomas and Kamara. Winners in six of eight home dates this season, the Saints have been regularly pegged as modest favorites against visiting opponents, with their Week 10 win over the depleted San Francisco 49ers marking the only game this season in which they were favored at home by more than seven points. But with New Orleans quickly picking up momentum at the sportsbooks, the line could tilt further in the Saints’ favor if the midweek injury news is favorable. That could create some solid buying opportunities for Bears backers as the week progresses.