Sports bettors are going to have a really tough time with the Bears in 2020. They're a team without a clear identity right now. Will Chicago be closer to the 12-4 team they were in 2018? Or are they headed for even more regression after dropping to just eight wins last year.
Normally, confidence comes via the quarterback. If he's a veteran with an accomplished resume, you may be more inclined to bet the over on a team's win total. But for the Bears? Neither Mitch Trubisky nor Nick Foles is likely to move the needle much. In fact, fans may be more inclined to take the under because of Chicago's questionable outlook under center.
So, what is Chicago's over/under win total? According to William Hill, the Bears are set at eight wins.
Can the Bears snag at least one more win with an improved Trubisky or Foles at quarterback? It seems likely, right? This defense is still one of the best in the NFL and it's fair to suggest they should've won nine or 10 games in 2019 anyway.
According to The Athletic, it isn't an easy decision to make. They're taking the under, albeit reluctantly.
There's a path back to the playoffs. If Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles can combine to give them something that resembles mediocre quarterback play, the defense might be enough to carry the Bears. Adding Robert Quinn to a defensive line that includes Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks gives Chicago one of the league's best pass rushes. If the offensive line were a little better or the Bears had one more pass-catching weapon or the run game projected to be more dynamic, it'd be tempting to take the over. But it's tough to get to the point where nine wins feels more likely than seven.
Here's the thing: it's reasonable to assume the Bears will have better play from the offensive line simply by default. Germain Ifedi is an upgrade over Rashaad Coward and Juan Castillo has rejuvenated a starting five that at one time was considered among the NFL's 10 best O-lines, according to Pro Football Focus.
And let's not forget the pass-catchers who Chicago should get improved play from, too. Ted Ginn? An in-shape Tarik Cohen? A committed Anthony Miller? Those are three talented weapons, and even though the Bears had Cohen and Miller in the offense last year, they didn't perform anywhere near what they're capable of.
Coach Matt Nagy recently said Cohen wants to be coachable; wide receivers coach Mike Furrey said Miller finally dropped his ego and is learning from Allen Robinson. Those are positive developments that should lead to positive results in the passing game.
But we end where we began: the quarterback. Whether or not the Bears get to nine wins comes down to Foles and/or Trubisky.
Call it a hunch, but I'd roll with the over. Foles is a game-manager in the regular season (at worst) and with Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn hunting down quarterbacks, Foles' style of play should translate into nine wins.
If Trubisky keeps the starting gig, it means he's developed into a more predictable and reliable passer while maintaining his big-play ability. The Bears' ceiling will be much higher with a 'good' Trubisky at quarterback. Which, again, means nine or more wins.
The end result should be a 2020 season that comes close to or exceeds double-digit wins.
An over/under win total set at eight games is is one of the toughest calls to make. In a way, it's kind of like choosing between two similarly skilled quarterbacks in a competition for the starting job without the benefit of preseason games: Pick one and hope for the best.
Over/Under Win Totals: How much confidence do you have in the Bears? originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago