- Jeff Gold, ESPN Insider
The 2013 NFL season has started, but apparently the New York Giants have yet to receive the memo. Perhaps they think Roger Goodell's plan to expand the playoffs goes into effect immediately, though they would still need to win a couple games to actually qualify.
Unbelievably, the Giants, the preseason favorite to win the NFC East, are now 1,000-1 at the Las Vegas Hotel to win the Super Bowl. That's not a typo. For some context, the Broncos are 2-1, the Rams are 300-1 and the Jaguars are 9,999-1.
The Chicago Bears got off to a nice start, winning their first three games under new coach Marc Trestman. But it might have been misleading. They were thoroughly outplayed in their Week 1 win over the Bengals, came out on top in a bizarre game full of special teams and defensive scores against the Vikings and then held on against the winless Steelers. The past two weeks haven't been pretty, with losses to the Lions and Saints.
For so long, we've taken for granted that the Bears had a top-notch defense, but that simply might no longer be the case. Key players like Julius Peppers and Lance Briggs are old, Brian Urlacher is gone and the head coach focuses on the offense. Lovie Smith was a massively flawed coach in many respects, from game management to picking offensive coordinators to lead the way, but he was one of the best defensive minds in the game.
According to ESPN Insider's PickCenter, the public is backing the Bears, who are a touch more than a touchdown favorite, at a 55 percent clip. Let's turn to some line analysis from bookmaker Jay Kornegay of the LVH and our panel of handicappers.
Matchup: New York Giants at Chicago Bears
Spread: Opened Bears minus-8; now Bears minus-7.5
Total: Opened 46.5; now 47.5
Jay Kornegay says:
Jeff Gold gives a gambling preview of the "Thursday Night Football" game between New York and Chicago.