Vikings-Bears: Who has edge in potentially low-scoring game?

Vikings at Bears Betting Odds

● Odds: Bears -2

● Total: 38.5

● Time: 4:25 p.m. ET

● TV Channel: CBS

Odds as of Saturday and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).

This matchup features two defenses that rank in the top five in terms of points allowed per game. The Bears’ offense, however, ranks 30th in yards per offensive play, ahead of only the Jets and Dolphins. While the Bears are small favorites at home, more than 60 percent of bettors are taking the Vikings as of Thursday with tickets essentially split on the total.

So what can we expect from Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears offense at Soldier field?

Our analysts break down the most angles of this divisional matchup, featuring Sean Koerner’s projected odds, a Pro System match and a staff pick.

Vikings-Bears Injury Report

The Vikings could be down their best pass-blocking offensive lineman with Josh Kline still in the concussion protocol. This isn’t great news for Kirk Cousins as the Bears rate as Pro Football Focus’ best pass-rushing unit.

I’d be surprised if Taylor Gabriel (concussion) suits up after missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Kicker Eddy Pinerio (knee) hasn’t practiced this week, and defensive lineman Akiem Hicks (knee) is expected to be a game-time decision. With defensive lineman Bilal Nichols (hand) out, Dalvin Cook’s matchup could get easier if Hicks were to be ruled out. — Justin Bailey

Biggest Mismatch

Bears Pass Rush vs. Vikings Offensive Line

The Vikings enter Week 4 averaging a 1970s-esque 34.3 rushing attempts per game. Part of it is they want to feed Cook, but another part of it is they can’t pass block a lick.

As the Vikings go on the road to face a ferocious Khalil Mack-led Bears pass rush that ranks seventh in quarterback hits (21), fifth in sacks (11), and first in PFF’s team pass rushing grade (84.8), they have to figure out a way to survive with a pass protection unit ranked 31st in PFF’s grades (50.7).

This might come into focus more because the Bears rank fifth in PFF’s run defense grades (76.2), making them much better equipped to slow down Cook than the Vikings’ previous three opponents, the Falcons (16th; 67.3), Packers (18th; 66.5) and Raiders (30th; 56.6). — Chris Raybon

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

● Projected Spread: Bears -2.5

● Projected Total: 39

Bookmakers set what I feel was an aggressive opening line of Bears -3. Predictably, they have been flooded with Vikings tickets (73%) and money (87%) as of writing (see live public betting data here). The early action has forced them to move off the key number and all the way down to -2.

As the line moves toward a pick ’em, it will only open up a bit more value on the Bears, whose offense is starting to show signs of life. However, this is likely a matchup I’m going to pass on. Sean Koerner

PRO System Match

Underdogs have historically performed well in division games as increased familiarity among opponents keeps games competitive, and it’s been profitable to bet small dogs in these matchups to win outright.

Even though teams matching this Pro System have a losing record of 110-113-2, bettors have still been able to turn a profit due to plus-money bets.

A $100 gambler would have returned a profit of $4,770 following this strategy since 2003. The Vikings +112 are a match for this system in Week 4. — John Ewing

Expert Pick

Stuckey: Why I’m Using the Vikings in Teasers

Minnesota is the ultimate teaser piece this week. You’re not only teasing the Vikings up through key numbers of 3, 4, 6 and 7, but you’re doing so in a game with the second-lowest total of the week in what should be a rock fight.

From an X’s-and-O’s perspective, the Vikings are gonna bring pressure with Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter, who both rank inside the top-25 of Pro Football Focus’ pass-rushing grades for edge defenders. And Trubisky is (still) terrible under pressure. He has a 41.4 completion percentage while under pressure compared to 74.3 with a clean pocket through three weeks (per PFF).

Trubisky’s struggles against any defense with a pulse is well documented. Not surprisingly, the much maligned Bears QB has not performed well in four career games against Minnesota: He has a 69.0 QB rating and has averaged 158.5 yards, two touchdowns, three interceptions and a sub-60% completion percentage per game against the Vikings.

I expect Minnesota to scheme pressure and bring blitzes from all over to throw Trubisky off even more.

In a game where the first team to 20 likely wins, teasing the dog through 3 and 7 is invaluable.

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