Sunday Night Football Trends: Week 1

Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams throws the ball during pregame warm-ups before the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on October 31, 2021 in Houston, Texas.
Image Credit: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

WEEK 1: SUNDAY @ 8:20 p.m. EST

Chicago Bears @ Los Angeles Rams (Line: -7.5, O/U: 46)

Bears Trends

Among the relevant trends here, charting the last three seasons (2018-20), the Bears are 7-5 against the spread (ATS) in primetime games. That’s a $150 profit on a series of straight $110 bets. On the flip side, Chicago has a 2-3 ATS mark for road games at night since 2018 (minus-$130). For the 2020 regular season, the Bears finished 8-8 overall with ATS (minus-$80) and 6-6 versus NFC competition (minus-$60).

The ATS results were tangibly better in two other categories last year, with Chicago going 5-3 on the road ($170) and 7-6 as the betting underdog ($40). The Bears overhauled their quarterbacks during the offseason, signing veteran Andy Dalton and drafting Justin Fields in the first round. Come Sunday, Dalton will be tasked with improving a Bears offense which suffered through bottom-10 rankings with rushing yards per game and total offense last season. The pedestrian results led to Chicago rating 22nd in scoring offense (23.3 points per contest).

The defense was slightly more productive last season. Chicago ranked 15th in rushing defense (113.4 yards per game), 14th in scoring defense (23.1 points per outing), 12th in passing yards allowed (231.6 per contest) and 11th in total defense (344.9 yards per game).

Rams Trends

Los Angeles boasts a solid three-year track record with ATS, enjoying a 26-20-2 overall mark ($400) that includes a12-10-2 home record ($100), 22-16-2 mark as the betting favorite ($440) and 21-14-1 record versus NFC competition ($560) — all relevant in Week 1.

The Rams were similarly stellar with primetime games last season, notching ATS results of 4-1 overall ($290), 3-0 at home ($300) and 3-1 when playing in the Pacific Time Zone ($190). It’ll be interesting to see how quickly quarterback Matthew Stafford can bolster a Rams offense which earned top-13 rankings with rushing yards per game (10th overall), total offense (11th) and passing yards per outing (13th) —  but finished only 23rd in scoring offense (23.3 points per game).

Any bumps in scoring would be greatly appreciated by the Rams’ elite-level defense, which ranked No. 1 overall in passing yards allowed (190.7 per game), total defense (281.9 yards per outing), and points surrendered (18.5 per game). And don’t overlook the rush defense, which finished No. 3 in yards allowed per game (91.3).

Total Trends

In its last 12 regular-season clashes with playoff teams from the previous season, Chicago has a porous Over mark of 1-10-1 (minus-$1000). The Rams and Bears have met three times in the Sean McVay era (2017-present), producing low-scoring games at each turn. In fact, the teams’ cumulative head-to-head average of 26.3 points falls well below this week’s Over/Under of 46.

From an Over/Under perspective, though, Chicago owns a 1-11 record on the Over in its last 12 games as a moneyline underdog of more than +250. And the Rams (and their opponent for that week) finished below the total for all eight home outings at SoFi Stadium last year. The cumulative points average for the eight home games? 34.3 points.