It’s the Arizona Cardinals at Chicago Bears in Week 13, and both teams are hopeful for the return of some of their star players. Arizona is coming off of the bye, giving quarterback Kyler Murray and wideout DeAndre Hopkins some extra time to heal from ankle and hamstring injuries, respectively. Meanwhile, Justin Fields is back at practice, but Andy Dalton is getting starter reps as the Bears gauge their starting quarterback’s health.
Fields suffered cracked ribs against the Ravens in Week 11, and head coach Matt Nagy has said that he “likes where he’s at” in his recovery but that the team is in the process of seeing whether his injury has healed enough for him to help the team win. The NFL betting lines have the Cardinals as a -7.5 favorite on the road, so let’s dig a bit deeper and see if they’re likely to cover that spread.
The Arizona Cardinals’ Injury Issues
While the Cardinals are 9-2 and lead the NFC West, they’ve lost two of their last four games, including a surprising loss to the Carolina Panthers.
Injuries to crucial players explain some of this inconsistency, but these injuries don’t explain how the Cards could look so dominant on the road with their backups against the 49ers in Week 9 and then get blown out at home by the Panthers one week later.
They then rebounded in Week 11 with a 23-13 win over the Seahawks thanks to solid quarterback play from Colt McCoy. When healthy, this team looks like a true Super Bowl contender to me, so it will be a welcomed sight if both Murray and Hopkins can return this week.
The Bears’ Offense Is a Picture of Incompetence
There are few teams in the league that are more incompetent on offense this year. The Bears rank 29th in points scored and 30th in total yards (16.3, 296.1) and have not scored more than 27 points in a game all season long.
In addition, rookie Justin Fields has struggled when on the field, with just a 58.1% completion rate, while throwing twice as many interceptions as touchdowns. Andy Dalton threw for 317 yards, a touchdown, and an interception last week in his start against the Lions.
The lone bright spot for the Bears’ offense this year has been the run game. Chicago has managed 126.3 yards per game, good for 8th in the NFL.
Cardinals at Bears: Best Bets
The total for this game is 44.5, and I can’t see that going over. No matter who leads the Bears’ offense, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to muster many points on an Arizona defense that is a top-five in the league in total yards, passing yards, and points allowed. So even if Arizona scores 28, I don’t see the Bears scoring more than 14.
They also get after the quarterback. Linebacker Markus Golden leads the team with ten sacks already, and Chandler Jones has eight. The Cardinals have the seventh-most sacks in the league, while the Bears have given up the most sacks the season (37). These two teams have also combined to hit the under on 14 out of 22 games this season.
I’ll take the Arizona money line at -350 no matter who is at QB, but if it’s Murray, the -7.5 point spread also looks good to me. Chicago averages 169.8 passing yards per game, which is worst in the NFL, and only 16.3 points per game. While the Bears’ defense has been respectable this year, I can’t see Chicago scoring enough points to keep the Cardinals’ win within single digits.
Expect a Desert Storm in the Windy City
The Cardinals at Bears should be an opportunity for a healthy Arizona team to kick-start the final six-game stretch of the season and start gearing up for a playoff run. But, unfortunately for Bears fans, Chicago is experiencing the growing pains you’d expect from a rookie quarterback and don’t have the talent to keep up with Arizona, in my opinion.
So be sure to get your bets in and keep up to date on BetMGM’s football lines for all of your Arizona sports betting action. Create an account today and receive a risk-free initial bet worth up to $1,000.