(0-0, 0-0 ATS)
San Diego Chargers
(0-0, 0-0 ATS)
Bang the Book is back with another analysis of the pro football lines for the NFL preseason betting battle between the Chicago Bears and San Diego Chargers from Qualcomm Stadium.
New faces surround the defense for the Monsters of the Midway this season, and they will probably take some time to gel. Remember LB Brian Urlacher? He isn’t exactly a new face to the Windy City faithful, but he missed virtually the entire 2009 NFL betting campaign due to injury. Urlacher should be back in the saddle this week for at least a drive or two as he gets accustomed to game speed again. The Bears will also welcome in DE Julius Peppers, who will make his debut for Chicago on Saturday night. Offensively, the battles to watch will be at the wide receiver positions. QB Jay Cutler was miserable last season, his first in the Windy City, throwing nearly as many INTs as TDs. He’ll be throwing the ball to a plethora of receivers, all of which think they can become starters at some point this year. Johnny Knox, Devin Hester, Rashied Davis, Devin Aromashodu, Earl Bennett, and Juaquin Iglesias may be fighting for just five roster spots as well. Keep a close eye on third string QB Dan LeFevour, who will be making his professional debut as well. The Bears have a proven winner from his days at Central Michigan, but many feel as though the former Chippewas quarterback doesn’t have a game that translates at the pro level.
For the Chargers, the preseason is going to be a time to work on the rushing attack. Without the services of RB LaDainian Tomlinson, the Bolts are going to be relying on both Darren Sproles and rookie Ryan Mathews to carry the pill. Mathews will be making his debut in front of his new home crowd. Rookie QB Jonathan Crompton will be playing in his first pro game as well as he battles for a roster spot and the right to be the backup to starting QB Philip Rivers. On the other side of the ball, it’s going to be good to see LB Shawne Merriman back for the Chargers after he signed a one-year tender earlier this week. Behind him in the secondary though, there are some real issues. Replacing DB Antonio Cromartie is going to be difficult, but the combination of Nathan Vasher, Donald Strickland, and Antoine Cason should be able to fill the role.
We aren’t overly high on either one of these teams in the preseason, and when all else fails, take the points. The Bears did put 90 points on the board and went 3-1 both SU and ATS last NFL betting preseason, and we will look for much of the same starting in this game. Especially when LeFevour is under center, we don’t think that he will accept defeat easily.
Selection: Chicago Bears +2.5