Monday Night Football games are always tough for handicappers to navigate.
Throw in two injured QBs – one announced on the morning of the game – and tonight’s primetime clash between the Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers is about as easy to read as Sanskrit.
Oddsmakers opened San Francisco as high as an 8-point home favorite, with QB Alex Smith expected to play despite suffering a concussion in Week 10. Helping that hefty line was the absence of Chicago QB Jay Cutler, who also suffered a concussion last Sunday.
However, ESPN reported that Smith did not receive clearance to play Monday morning and the spread has been in a free fall ever since.
Books are dealing the Niners as low as 3-point favorites, with money pouring in on the Bears, who go with backup Jason Campbell under center. San Francisco is turning to dual-threat pivot Colin Kaepernick, who has taken some snaps this season and stepped in for the injured Smith last weekend.
“I think it’s easier to have more confidence in the Niners' QB than the Bears' QB,” Jay Rood, sportsbook director at the MGM Mirage, told Covers. “(Kaepernick) has been in games, he’s been part of the plan. Campbell’s just been carrying the clipboard.”
Rood, who opened the Monday nighter with San Francisco as a 5.5-point favorite, took money on the home side early but says since the announcement of Smith’s status, it’s been all Bears. However, the ticket count is still in favor of the 49ers.
As for the total, which has dropped from 38.5 to 34 points, Rood says sharp money is on the under while squares have been flocking to the over, looking to cash in on the low number.
“The squares are betting the over because it’s a low total. But it’s a low total for a reason,” Rood says. “It’s like in baseball, people see a six up there and automatically take the over. But that number is set at six for a good reason.”
Check out the latest line moves for tonight's Monday Night Football matchup.