Bears vs Steelers Monday Night Football Picks and Predictions: Steelers Will Cage Bears At Home

You never quite know what you're going to get from the Steelers, but they invite an underwhelming Bears team to town to close out Week 9. Our Bears vs. Steelers NFL betting picks break down who to back on MNF.

Last Updated: Nov 8, 2021 6:55 PM ET Read Time: 5 min

Monday Night Football in Week 9 features a battle between a pair of historic NFL franchises as the Chicago Bears face the Pittsburgh Steelers. We're mentioning these clubs' pasts because the present doesn't look great and we're a bit annoyed at the schedule makers who've given us some head-scratching matchups in prime time lately.

But hey it's still football action on Monday night even if these sluggish offenses are giving us the lowest total on the NFL betting board this week. So here are our best free Bears vs. Steelers picks and predictions for Monday, November 8.

Bears vs Steelers odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

The line opened with the Steelers as 6.5-point favorites with the Over/Under at 40. Early money came in on the Under moving the total to 39 while some books have adjusted the line to -6 for the home side. Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full NFL odds before placing your bets.

Bears vs Steelers picks

Picks made on 11/05/2021 at 5 p.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Bears vs Steelers game info

Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
Date: Monday, November 8, 2021
Time: 8:15 p.m. ET

Bears at Steelers betting preview


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Key injuries

Bears: Khalil Mack ED (Out), Eddie Jackson S (Out), Germain Ifedi OT (Out), Tarik Cohen RB (Out), Nick Foles QB (Out), J.P. Holtz TE (Out), Alec Ogletree LB (Out), Damien Williams RB (Out), Artie Burns CB (Out).
Steelers: Eric Ebron TE (Out), Zach Banner OT (Out), JJ Smith-Schuster WR (Out), Stephon Tuitt DE (Out), Dwayne Haskins QB (Out), Anthony McFarland RB (Out), Ahkello Witherspoon DB (Out), Buddy Johnson TE (Out).

Find our latest NFL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Bears are 1-7 ATS in their last eight games as an underdog. Find more NFL betting trends for Bears vs. Steelers.

Bears vs Steelers predictions

The Steelers are on a three-game winning streak and are fresh off a 15-10 upset victory over the Browns as 10.5-point underdogs. That improved their record to 4-3 (3-4 ATS) and suggests that rumors of their demise may have been premature after consecutive losses to the Bengals, Raiders, and Packers.

The Bears are coming off a 33-22 loss to San Francisco and have dropped three games in a row to fall to 3-5 SU and ATS. When they lose, they don't even keep things close, with each of their five defeats coming by double-digits. 

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was limited at practice on Thursday with a hip injury, but he's played through that injury for much of the year with mixed success. Sure, Pittsburgh ranks a modest 19th in the league in passing DVOA according to Football Outsiders, but that's still better than the Bears, who rank dead-last.

First-round draft pick Justin Fields has shown some improvement for Chicago, but he's still averaging just 6.3 yards per pass attempt with three touchdowns and seven interceptions. And he's struggled to stand and throw in the pocket, with the Bears offensive line having the league's worst adjusted sack rate.

The Steelers have question marks throughout their lineup, but one thing they do very well is get after the quarterback, pressuring opposing passers on 28.6 percent of all dropbacks, good for third-best in the league. The Bears will need to run the ball efficiently if they want to move the chains, but that'll be easier said than done against a Pittsburgh defense that ranks sixth in the league in rush DVOA.

Meanwhile, the Bears run defense ranks just 24th in DVOA and will be taking on a Steelers ground game that has stepped up in recent weeks. The Steelers have been a costly side to back as favorites lately, but they pose matchup problems for Chicago and seem to have momentum. Back them to win and cover. 

With two teams boasting stout defenses, punchless offenses, and profitable Under trends, betting on this game to go below the total seem like the obvious play.

That said, this total of 39 is painfully low and it won't take much from either squad to top. Keep in mind that the Bears' last two games have seen total scores north of that number, while three of the Steelers' previous four contests have seen at least 43 total points scored. 

Although the Bears defense has plenty of big-name players and a nasty reputation, they have shown cracks recently, especially against the run, where they have surrendered 160.3 rushing yards per game and 5.5 yards per carry over their last three contests. That's bad news against a Pittsburgh attack that has been gashing opponents on the ground lately, rushing for 147, 119, and 115 yards over the last three games. 

While we pointed out Fields' mediocrity in our ATS bet, it's worth mentioning that he put together his best performance last week, completing 70.4 percent of his passes for 175 yards and a touchdown while running for 103 yards and another score. The rookie has been using his feet more in recent weeks, totaling 81 yards on 14 carries against the Packers and Bucs, and that adds another wrinkle to a Bears offense that desperately needs a spark. 

While we don't see this game being a shootout by any means, we think improved offensive play from both sides will lead to the total sneaking over this low number. 

After the Steelers lost wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster to season-ending shoulder surgery, someone in their receiving corps needed to step up. That someone has been rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth, who had seven catches for 58 yards against the Seahawks in Week 6, then came off the bye week to post four catches for 44 yards versus the Browns last week.

While yardage totals can always be a bit volatile for receivers, targets are typically a good long-term measuring stick and Freiermuth received seven targets in each of those contests.

The Steelers grabbed Freiermuth in the second round after a productive career at Penn State and the youngster was expected to platoon with veteran Eric Ebron. With Ebron ruled out for Monday's game, expect another strong performance from Freiermuth, who could see even more looks with Roethlisberger banged up and looking to dump it off.  

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