Bears vs. Saints: The best betting props for NFL Wild Card Weekend
The New Orleans Saints hope they have left their playoff ghosts behind them as they prepare to face the Chicago Bears on Sunday afternoon (4:40 p.m. ET, CBS) after being knocked out of the playoffs in heartbreaking fashion each of the last three seasons. They welcome running back Alvin Kamara and wide receiver Michael Thomas back into the fold, and look to make another push deep into the postseason as Drew Brees’ career begins to wind down.
Chicago fans know all about heartbreak, with the “double doink” still causing them pain two years after their last playoff appearance. Sunday’s game will be just six days short of an entire decade since they last tasted victory in the postseason, and they are the biggest underdogs of the weekend as they travel to New Orleans.
Sun, January 10 2021, 9:40 PM
Injuries are the story of this matchup. While the Saints will be getting back two members of their “Big Three” on offense, the Bears will likely be without star linebacker Roquan Smith, although they are “holding out hope” he can play. New Orleans also welcomes the return of safety Marcus Williams, which may be bad news for Bears’ quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.
This game features a high-powered offense for New Orleans and a strong, albeit banged-up, Chicago defense. It is an intriguing matchup, and with it comes the opportunity to find solid value in the prop bet market. Here are the props we believe offer the best value and chances of hitting in Sunday’s NFL Wild Card matchup.
Taysom Hill TD anytime/Saints win
We start off with a double chance bet. While you can get the Saints’ Taysom Hill to score anytime at +200, you can take the double-chance prop and get a bit extra on the biggest favorite of the weekend.
Head coach Sean Payton loves to utilize Hill’s skillset in the red zone, and now that he is no longer the backup (or starting) quarterback, the restrictions have come off.
Hill has scored a rushing touchdown in each of his last three games, and he has also caught a pass in each of those contests. In the Week 8 matchup with the Bears, Hill caught a touchdown pass and had seven total touches in the game. He also has seen fourteen touches over the last two weeks. Getting better than 2-1 for a touchdown and a win is a solid play here.
David Montgomery rushing yards
A large part of Chicago’s offensive success over the past month has been due to the play of running back David Montgomery. As they have attempted to limit the chances for Trubisky to make mistakes, the Bears have committed more to the running game, and Montgomery has delivered. He has rushed for 69 or more yards in six consecutive games, averaging more than five yards per carry during that stretch.
Montgomery has scored seven rushing touchdowns over his last five games. New Orleans has one of the better rush defenses in the league, but they allowed him to run for 89 yards on 21 carries in their previous matchup. Montgomery did so in that game behind a makeshift offensive line. Now with Chicago’s line at full strength, I like the Bears to ride him as long as they can as they try to keep the Saints’ offense off the field.
Saints field goals made
Only the Green Bay Packers have scored a higher percentage of red zone touchdowns over the last three weeks than New Orleans, who have found the end zone on 86.7% of their trips inside the 20-yard line. When the Saints don’t get into the red zone, they still often come away with points thanks to the reliable leg of Wil Lutz, who has made 23 of 28 field goals this season — with only three of them coming from 50 yards or further.
In New Orleans’ last seven games, Lutz has split the uprights on multiple field goal attempts in five of those contests. When the Bears and Saints matched up in Week 8, it was Lutz’s fourth field goal in five attempts that sent the Saints home with an overtime victory. And in the Saints’ last three playoff games, Lutz has hit a pair of field goals in each of them. This one is an easy bet to make.
Jared Cook receptions
With Thomas on the IR and Kamara on the COVID-19 list, the Saints had to utilize different weapons over the past few weeks. Tight end Jared Cook has been one of those, with three or more receptions in four of his last five games. He has also caught a touchdown pass in three of the Saints’ last five games, and has become a favorite target of Brees in the red zone.
While it might seem logical that the return of other weapons could see his production drop, his performance against Chicago in their first matchup says otherwise. Cook was targeted seven times in the contest, catching five passes for 51 yards and a score. In five games against playoff teams this season, Cook has been targeted 25 times.
If Smith cannot go for the Bears, this bet might become the strongest one of the game.