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Colts Bears Betting Predictions – Andrew Luck Plays First Regular-Season NFL Game

Posted by Tony Bryant on 9/4/2012 6:20:14 PM

The Chicago Bears will receive plenty of attention this season, but the focus in week one of the NFL season will fall squarely on the person of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.

Indianapolis Colts @ Chicago Bears – Sunday, September 9    
Betting line: No line

Why Indianapolis Will Win

The NFL betting calculus in this contest is based on a number of factors. The Indianapolis Colts hope that their most recognizable player will defy the odds.

Andrew Luck has the look of an "Anointed One," the makings of an elite quarterback. He memorized the entirety of his playbook by the time Indianapolis had played its first preseason game. Luck, whose Stanford team struggled massively without him in its own season opener on Aug. 31 against San Jose State, carried so much of the workload and responsibility for his collegiate ballclub, so in the NFL, his job might actually be easier. He'll have more talent surrounding him. Indianapolis can climb on his back and regain the winning mindset that was lost last season, in a 2-14 campaign marred by an injury to franchise icon Peyton Manning.

The conventional wisdom says that rookie quarterbacks, especially in the first game of a career, do not do well. Luck could easily prove to be the exception, and with a full playbook for a regular-season game, the Colts' franchise quarterback is in position to have a big day. That would enable Indianapolis to win this rematch of Super Bowl XLI.

Why Chicago Will Win

When football betting pundits size up this game, they're going to realize that the Chicago Bears are no longer a defense-first team. Chicago has an identity rooted in the Dick Butkus years – and then enhanced by the 1985 team – as a franchise built on fire-breathing defenses. Even in recent years, especially when the team made the 2010 NFC Championship Game, Chicago buttered its bread on defense. Now, though, the Bears are in position to win on the other side of the ball.

It's on offense where the true measure of the Bears will be taken. Quarterback Jay Cutler was presiding over a 7-3 team when he got injured last season. It's worth noting that Cutler took two years to find himself in Chicago; he was definitely more a part of the problem than the solution in 2009, but he gradually reined himself in, committed fewer turnovers, and found a way to play within the framework of what the Bears' coaching staff wanted. When the Bears plummeted following Cutler's injury in 2011, the team had come full circle in relationship to Cutler: Once thought of as a talented tease and an utter liability, Cutler – whose inability to finish the 2010 NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers raised questions about his toughness – had become an indispensable player. That's quite a transformation in terms of perspective, a testament to Cutler's emergent professionalism and improved attitude.

The frailty of the Bears' season will be found not in Cutler's body (at least, not in all likelihood…), but in the mind of newly acquired but tempestuous receiver Brandon Marshall. It's always risky to bring aboard a spectacularly talented athlete who also happens to be a headcase. That's what Marshall has been to this point in his turbulent NFL career, but if Marshall can shut up, keep his head down, and make plays, the Bears will have a formidable passing game to complement their rushing attack, led by star running back Matt Forte. Chicago's array of offensive weapons will give the Bears the upper hand in this game. Andrew Luck will have to score a lot of points to keep pace, and that's just not likely.

Who Will Win

It’s possible that Andrew Luck will rise to the occasion, but the odds and percentages suggest that he'll have a tough day at the office. The difference between regular-season ball and preseason competition is immense, and Luck will learn this truth the hard way. Pick Chicago.

NFL Football Betting Pick: Chicago


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