What happens when neither team cares if they win or lose? That’s the situation for these NFC North rivals, who matchup in one of the lowest-stakes battles in their recent history. The Vikings are already locked into the NFC’s six seed, regardless of what happens in Week 17. The Bears’ players and coaching staff would probably prefer the Pyrrhic victory to get them to a .500 finish, even though the franchise would be better off losing and improving their draft picks (they don’t own their own 2020 first, third, or fourth, but the difference between a win and a loss could swing their other picks as much as 10 spots, depending on other results). In the words of Ben Folds Five, it looks like a battle of who could care less.
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The Vikings have been hit hard by injuries this season, so they are likely to rest a lot of their best players. Even if WRs Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen are active, it’s hard to imagine in injury-prone pair plays more than a series or two. Similarly, the team is unlikely to rush back either of their top two RBs, Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison, both of whom already missed the much more consequential Week 16 loss. Assuming the Vikings end up treating Sunday more like a preseason game, this might be a good spot to bet on the Bears.
Whether or not these teams are trying to win, there probably won’t be a ton of points scored. Both defenses are in the top six for fewest points allowed and the top seven for defensive DVOA. Add to that the Bears’ offensive ineptitude (they’re third-to-last in points scored and fourth-to-last in yards) and that the Vikings are unlikely to make full use of their offensive stars. The over/under is already the second-lowest of Week 17, but the under remains very much in play.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
Bears at Vikings
Point Spread: Bears +2
Total Points: 37.5
Money Line: Vikings -141; Bears +117
Overall: Bears 7-8; Vikings 10-5
ATS: Bears 4-11; Vikings 8-7
O/U: Bears 5-10; Vikings 8-7
Players to watch: WR Taylor Gabriel (concussion), NT Eddie Goldman (concussion), DT Akiem Hicks (elbow), OL Bobby Massie (ankle), OL Rashaad Coward (knee), DB Prince Amukamara (hamstring)
Players to watch: LB Eric Kendricks (quadricep), RB Dalvin Cook (shoulder), RB Alexander Mattison (ankle), S Jayron Kearse (foot), CB Xavier Rhodes (ankle), DT Shamar Stephen (knee)
- The Vikings have won each of their last eight games against teams that held a losing record.
- The Vikings have covered the spread in each of their last 12 games at U.S. Bank Stadium following a loss.
- Each of the Vikings’ last eight home games against NFC North opponents have gone under the total points line.
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