Vikings vs Bears Week 18 Picks and Predictions: Chicago Gets Clamped

Chicago's season has been done for a while now, and with no Justin Fields, it may be in for tough times with Minnesota in town. Our NFL betting picks expect the Bears' offense to struggle early without their starting QB.

Last Updated: Jan 8, 2023 8:25 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Trenton Gill Chicago Bears NFL
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The Chicago Bears wrap up their NFL season with a home game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday afternoon.

The final week in the NFL regular season is always tough to bet on, and Chicago looks like it has thrown in the towel by shutting down quarterback Justin Fields for its season finale.

NFL odds have seen some massive movement for this Week 18 showdown, with Minnesota opening as 1.5-point road faves on Monday and currently sitting at -8 as of Friday afternoon.

With motivation tough to measure, I let you know where the betting value lies in my Vikings vs. Bears NFL betting picks and predictions below.

Vikings vs Bears best odds

Vikings vs Bears picks and predictions

It's tough to tell how much defensive intensity the Vikings will have in this game and how long their starters will stay in.

However, I do expect them to come out of the gate fired up after an ugly Week 17 performance where they lost 41-17 to the Packers. Minnesota's defense actually wasn't quite as awful as that final scoreline suggests, considering its offense kept giving Green Bay the ball with four turnovers. 

Minny's defense has been poor against the pass ranking 22nd in dropback EPA, but the Bears won't be able to take advantage of that, especially with Nathan Peterman getting the start at QB. Peterman has just 11 pass attempts over the last four years. He started four games with the Bills in 2017 and 2018 and completed just 51.7% of his passes in those starts — with 3.7 yards per attempt. 

Chicago might have the worst group of receivers in the NFL, and it definitely has the worst group of pass blockers with a league-worst sack percentage of 14%. Not only is that number nearly 4% higher than second-worst Denver, it doesn't take into account that Fields was occasionally able to escape pressure while Peterman will be a sitting duck.

Don't count on the Bears' offense to have any success, especially in the first quarter, and bet on their first drive to end up in a punt.

My only hesitancy about this play is that Peterman might immediately turn the ball over, but I'm expecting a conservative game plan from Chicago in the early going and an emphasis on running the ball.

My best bet: First Bears drive result - Punt (-140 at DraftKings)

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Vikings vs Bears spread analysis

Week 18 might not matter to most playoff-bound teams, but the Vikings will likely want to end the season with some positive momentum after getting curb-stomped by the Packers last week. Minnesota is 12-4 straight up and has claimed the NFC North title, but it has rarely impressed this season, going just 6-9-1 against the spread. 

All four of its losses were ugly (including an embarrassing 40-3 loss at home to the Cowboys in Week 11 and a double-digit defeat to the Lions last month) and many of its victories have been razor close. In fact, while it is 6-3 SU since the start of November, it's just 3-5-1 ATS during that span and four of those victories came by exactly three points. 

Vikings' coach Kevin O'Connell has been vague about his plan for the starters on Sunday, but they can get the No. 2 seed with a victory and a 49ers loss (albeit as -1,000 favorites at home against the Cardinals).

They'll likely want to build some chemistry on their line, with third-string Chris Reed taking over at center due to injuries and right tackle Brian O'Neil partially tearing his Achilles tendon last week.

Expect quarterback Kirk Cousins, Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook, and superstar receiver Justin Jefferson to all see the field for at least the first few drives. 

The Bears are on a nine-game losing streak and have gone just 2-7 ATS during that span. They are coming off a 41-10 loss to the Lions where they surrendered 504 yards and had a pathetic 30 net passing yards of their own. Chicago's passing game has been awful even with Fields and could be even worse with Peterman under center. 

They are leading the league with 181 rushing yards per game, but that was largely due to Fields who was on pace to break the NFL record for rushing yards by a QB before being sidelined by a hip injury. They have been terrible on the other side of the ball and rank last in the NFL in DVOA defense.

Vikings vs Bears Over/Under analysis

With the immobile Peterman at QB, Khalil Herbert and David Montgomery will find it tough to find running room. Especially against a Vikings front that is a respectable 13th in the league in defensive rush EPA. The weakness of Minnesota's stop unit lies in its secondary, but this Chicago offense isn't built to exploit that. 

Meanwhile, the Bears' defense is 30th in the league in rush DVOA while ranking 31st in pass DVOA, so regardless of what the Vikings do they'll have a tough time stopping them. 

It's tough to handicap the total for this game because although the Bears should struggle on offense, they could also give up many points.

I have a tough time seeing Minnesota leaving Cousins, Jefferson, and Cook in this game for too long, especially if they build an early lead. However, backup QB Nick Mullens and second-string running back Alexander Mattison are more than capable of moving the ball against this pathetic Chicago D.

Vikings vs Bears betting trend to know

The Over is 8-2 in Chicago's last 10 games overall while cashing in six straight contests for Minnesota. Find more NFL betting trends for Vikings vs. Bears.

Vikings vs Bears game info

Location: Soldier Field Chicago, IL
Date: Sunday, January 8, 2023
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET
Opening odds: Bears +1, 46

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