Bears vs Vikings Week 18 Picks and Predictions: Minnesota Sees Zimmer Off In Style

It's been a disappointing season for the Vikings, but they're still significantly better than the Bears. Our NFL betting picks expect Minny to finish on a high note — read on to find out why.

Sam Farley - Betting Analyst at
Sam Farley • Betting Analyst
Jan 8, 2022 • 15:23 ET • 5 min read
Justin Jefferson Minnesota Vikings NFL
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Sunday’s NFC North matchup between the Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings is one of the true meaningless games in the Week 18 slate, as both teams are eliminated from the playoffs, so this doesn't count for much beyond pride.

It still has the potential to be a good game, however, with the home Vikings as NFL betting chalk and both head coaches fighting for their futures.

Can either Mike Zimmer or Matt Nagy save their jobs? Read our free NFL picks and predictions for Bears vs. Vikings for how we think things will shake down.

Bears vs Vikings odds

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

The total has dropped slightly from the opening of 44.5 to 44 as of Friday morning, while the spread has moved two points in the Vikings' favor, going from -3.5 to -5.5.

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 Vikings predictions

Predictions made on 1/7/2022 at 11:23 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Bears vs Vikings game info

Location: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN
Date: Sunday, January 9, 2022
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

Bears at Vikings betting preview


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Key injuries

Bears: Akiem Hicks DT (Out), Justin Fields QB (Out), Danny Trevathan LB (Out), Khalil Mack LB (Out).
Vikings: Mackensie Alexander CB (Out), Wyatt Davis G (Out), Michael Pierce DT (Out), Chris Herndon TE (Out), Ezra Cleveland G (Out), Christian Darrisaw T (Out), Eric Kendricks LB (Out), Adam Thielen WR (Out), Irv Smith Jr TE (Out), Everson Griffen DE (Out).
Find our latest NFL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Bears are 0-4 ATS in their last four games against the NFC North. Find more NFL betting trends for Bears vs. Vikings.

Bears vs Vikings picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

It’s been another hugely disappointing season for the Vikings, who’ll welcome the Bears — another team that floundered this season — for the regular-season finale. It’s fair to say that the time is probably up for both Mike Zimmer and Matt Nagy, with both of their fanbases ready for the coaches to move on, but there’s a chance that they may be able to save themselves.

The Vikings sit one spot ahead of the Bears in the NFC North at 7-9 (compared to the Bears’ 6-10) but the preseason expectations were for the Vikings to be closer to the division-winning Green Bay Packers than the division's doormats.

Throughout the season we saw the Vikings have a penchant for tight games, with a whopping 14 games (6-8 SU record) finishing within one score. We've also seen Minnesota flash a dynamic offense, topping 30 points six times and its season-long average of 24.6 points per game is higher than that of the Titans, who are in pole position to claim a first-round bye in the AFC.

That 24.6 points also highlights the biggest difference in comparison to the Bears, who at an average of 18.4 ppg find themselves sandwiched between the Jets and Falcons.

The Vikings' offense has had issues with injuries throughout the year but in truth, it should have been even better. Dalvin Cook is among the elite running backs in the NFL and has the ability to take over any game with his powerful running and great cutting ability. Add in that Alexander Mattison is one of the premier backups in the league and the drop-off when he relieves Cook isn’t big enough to cause real issues.

Minnesota will be missing receiver Adam Thielen, who is on the IR, and despite him finally showing signs of father time catching up with him, was a great second option behind superstar Justin Jefferson. Kirk Cousins has continued to showcase his good (but not quite great) abilities under center — he ranks ninth in touchdown passes (30) with just seven interceptions, but a QBR of 50.6 and the inability to consistently deliver in the clutch (6-8 in those one-score games this year) sits him firmly in the middle of the pack.

We can't harp too much on the offense, though: the real problem for the Vikings has been their defense. Hard-nosed defensive football is something that has been long associated with Zimmer's teams but this season his defense is ranked 22nd in weighted defensive DVOA — eight spots behind Chicago. That’s quite a change for a team that has long had defensive strengths a part of its DNA.

The Vikings rightfully sit as 5.5-point favorites: they may have had their struggles but we still believe they have enough on offense to make up for the defensive frailties — especially against a Bears team that is not very good and will be missing key defensive stars, including Khalil Mack.

Chicago doesn’t want Nagy in charge of the Bears anymore, whereas you get the feeling that the Vikings will be sad to move on from Mike Zimmer, even if the timing is right. The Vikings will get one last win for Mike Zimmer — and help us win our bets by covering in the process.

Prediction: Vikings -5.5 (-110)

The Over is 22-8 in the Bears' last 30 road games against teams with losing records. In recent weeks, they’ve been able to put up scores far higher than their season average — including 29 points against the Giants last week and dropping 25 on the Seahawks the week prior, which bodes well in a rematch against the Vikings, where we only saw a total of 26 points in the first clash this season. 

The Vikings, well, they love an Over. It’s cashed in six of their past seven games overall, gone 5-1 in their last six against NFC opponents, and is 14-3 in their last 17 games following a loss.

With Kirk Cousins under center and with Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook on the field, there is always a chance of the Vikings putting up a big score. Take the Over.

Prediction: Over 44 (-110)

Former LSU star Justin Jefferson has made it clear that the team has underperformed this year, admitting that they should be in the playoffs, but that failure cannot be laid at his feet. The sophomore followed up an incredible rookie year with another sensational season, as he has 103 receptions (fourth in NFL) for 1,509 yards (second in NFL), with nine touchdowns (seventh).

Jefferson found pay dirt when these teams met three weeks ago and while we expect him to find the end zone again, it’s his receiving yards total today which tempts us the most. He was already the most important player in the receiving game but with Thielen out, it’s essential he gets fed the ball if the Vikings want to win.

He was targeted 11 times in last week’s defeat to the Packers and in the past fives games he’s been targeted an average of 12.4 times per game. Back him to smash his receiving yards total.

Pick: Justin Jefferson Over 96.5 receiving yards (-115)

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