2011 Season NFL Football Past Picks
September 11, 2011
This pick was released to clients on December 31, 1969 at 9:00PM ET.
Atlanta at Chicago
Sunday 09/11 01:00 PM Eastern
2 units on Chicago PICK () (risk 2 to return 2) RESULT: win
2 units on Game Total UNDER PICK (risk 2 to return 2) RESULT: loss
Atlanta had all the offseason hype - a team that was a No. 1 seed in January (before getting smoked by the Packers) and they made a big splash on draft day to add WR Julio Jones. They are a public team for Week 1 installed as a road favorite. However, take a close look at this group. This team had a lousy preseason with problems on defense, which was a big problem last year. As good as their record was a year ago, Atlanta was No. 16 in total defense and No. 22 against the pass, which is still a weak spot. In preseason, the secondary was awful and Coach Mike Smith spoke about how disappointed he is with the group. Miami had touchdown passes of 44 and 28 yards in preseason, Pittsburgh torched them for 224 yards, and even in a 15-13 loss at Jacksonville they gave up 261 yards passing and 8 of 17 on third down. That's something that Mike Martz and Jay Cutler will attack. The Bears have a talented defense that was No. 9 in the NFL in yards allowed last season, fourth in points (17.9 ppg). They are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games as an underdog and will be sky-high to make a statement in front of the home crowd on opening day as they feel disrespected coming off an 11-win season and getting no respect. My computer matchup has the Bears winning this outright and I agree that they have a decent shot at that. In addition, defenses are ahead of the offenses in September and the Bears are aggressive on defense with LB Brian Urlacher and a team that is deep in the trenches. Chicago started 8-3 UNDER the total last season (4-1 UNDER start), including 2-0 SU/ATS as September dogs against the Cowboys and Packers. They are 62-30-2 UNDER the total their last 94 games as an underdog including 38-18 under Lovie Smith and 15-4 in the past three seasons. Under Smith, the Bears are 11-3 UNDER in the opening two weeks of the season. Look for the home dog with a chip on its shoulder to growl and the Chicago defense to control the game. Play on the Bears, and take the UNDER.