The Chicago Bears have prided themselves on having one of the best defenses in the league, and they have linebacker Khalil Mack to thank for a big portion of their step up this season.
The All-Pro edge rusher has been an intimidating presence rushing off the edge this season. With nine sacks in 10 games, he has wrecked havoc on opposing quarterbacks on a consistent basis. His ability to penetrate the backfield has also opened up opportunities for his teammates, as he has taken on several double-team blocks, which has allowed players like Akiem Hicks and Leonard Floyd to have numerous one-on-one situations against blockers. Mack’s pressures have also forced quarterbacks to panic and make poor throws, which has helped the likes of Kyle Fuller and Eddie Jackson make as big of steps as they have this year.
Despite having missed two games to injury, Mack is still one of the favorites to win the Defensive Player of the Year award. He faces tall odds going against Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald, though, who leads the league in sacks with a whopping 16.5 through 12 games.
Sascha Park of Sports Betting Dime states that Mack has helped the Bears in a major way, while also helping betters make some money this year.
Thanks largely to the NFL’s top-ranked defense (per DVOA), the Bears have won five straight and lead the NFC North by a game and a half. Our Bears betting stats page shows they have covered 8 of 11 games to date, and if you’d put $50/week on Chicago to cover, you would be up a tidy $233 on the year.
However, Vegas still sees Donald, who is on track to be the first interior defensive lineman to lead the NFL in sacks since former New Orleans Saints star La’Roi Glover in 2000, as the heavy favorite to win Defensive Player of the Year. Mack is viewed as a distant second-place option with odds currently at +450.
Even though the odds are against Mack to be crowned as the best defender in the league this year, his performance this season has warranted All-Pro recognition, a feat that no Bears player has reached since Brandon Marshall in 2012.