With training camp soon approaching, the excitement is heating up for the upcoming 2020 season.
The Bears face a make-or-break season in the Ryan Pace-Matt Nagy regime. The organization went all-in on competing this year, making big moves during the free agency period despite being relatively strapped for cash. Perhaps no move was more notable than the acquisition of Nick Foles, giving Mitchell Trubisky competition at the quarterback position and aiming for improvement at the game’s most important position.
Given the importance of the upcoming year, it would make sense to take a look at how bettors view some of the team’s players heading into camp.
The NFL writers at SBD were able to provide some player over/under stat lines for Bears players for the new year, and the resulting product was a mixed bag of some pretty encouraging lines, and others that may have fans feeling disappointed.
Here are some of the notable O/U lines SBD provided:
- Khalil Mack, O/U of sacks: 10.5
- Akiem Hicks, O/U of sacks: 3.5
- Robert Quinn, O/U of sacks: 9.5
- David Montgomery, O/U of rushing yards: 799.5
- Allen Robinson, O/U of receiving yards: 1,095.5
- Bears leading passer, O/U of passing yards: 3,295.5
The particularly encouraging O/U is the edge rusher duo of Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn finishing the year with a combined 20 sacks. Were that total to come to fruition, it would have been the sixth-most sacks tallied by an edge rusher duo in the NFL last season. While Mack has finished with more sacks than 10.5 in a season before, seeing him get back to a double-digit total would certainly be a welcomed sight for the Bears, and having Quinn continue his momentum after a fantastic 2019 campaign would likely help give the team one of the best pass-rushing units in the league.
Allen Robinson’s receiving O/U is also pretty favorable, as back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons would further prove his value as a legitimate No. 1 receiver in the NFL. It would also likely boost his legitimacy in the eyes of the rest of the league, as his 98-catch season fell somewhat under the radar by most standards last year. It may even be a line worth taking the over on, as Chicago currently doesn’t have any other weapons who are either fully proven commodities or still in their prime.
Another interesting O/U would be the team’s passing yards line, especially seeing as though it doesn’t have either Nick Foles’ or Mitchell Trubisky’s name attached to it. The ongoing quarterback battle will be affected with the cancellation of preseason games, and although Foles is seen as the favorite, Trubisky’s incumbency as the Bears’ starter could play into things, as well. All things considered, a total just shy of 3,300 yards seems about right for whoever wins the job. However, the odds don’t say that the team’s total would reach that mark, but rather the team’s leading passer. It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see both Foles and Trubisky start multiple games this year, especially if the winner of the offseason battle stinks up the joint.
While those lines are favorable or at least acceptable from an expectations standpoint, the remaining two O/Us—those of Akiem Hicks and David Montgomery—fall quite a bit shy of an ideal scenario.
Hicks played in just five games in 2019 and tallied only one sack on the year, so that rather disappointing sack production in a limited timeframe could be cause for the odds souring on the former Pro Bowler. Plus, considering he will be 31 in November and is coming off of a season which saw him battle elbow and knee injuries, there is a possibility of regression that many may not be considering enough. However, Hicks has been an unstoppable force for Chicago since arriving in 2016, and even last year his play was fantastic, regardless of low sack numbers. Prior to 2019, he had yet to miss a game as a member of the Bears and had reached at least seven sacks in each of his previous three seasons. Assuming he stays healthy, he should definitely be able to top a rather disappointing 3.5-sack total.
Montgomery didn’t have the best rookie campaign, rushing for 889 yards on a measly 3.7 yards per carry in 2019. By most metrics, he was one of the most inefficient backs in the league last year. While a similar performance this year could potentially indicate he is not the answer at running back, it seems unlikely that he will finish with a total as low as 799.5 yards. His only proven competition out of the backfield is Tarik Cohen, who hasn’t topped 100 carries in a single season at the NFL level yet. Montgomery saw 242 carries come his way, and he likely won't have much in the way of competition for snaps. Barring an injury, it seems likely that he could not only top the current O/U odds, but finish with a total higher than his production last season.