- Baltimore Ravens @ Chicago Bears
- NFL regular season Week 11
- Date: 11/21/2021
- Start time: 01:00 PM ET
- Soldier Field, Chicago
We get several intriguing matchups in the early window of this Week 11 Sunday NFL slate, but from a betting perspective this clash between the 3-6 Chicago Bears hosting the AFC North-leading 6-3 Baltimore Ravens is our favorite.
Both squads are coming in on extra rest as the Bears were on a bye week in Week 10 and the Ravens haven’t played since last Thursday, so they will have 10 full days to prepare for Chicago.
Early money coming in on the home dog
The betting markets opened up with Baltimore laying 6 points on the road which falls mostly in line with our model projections. Wednesday brought a big market move towards Chicago, bringing the spread down to 4.5-points. While this move doesn’t go through any key numbers from a spread perspective, having to lay less than six points with one of the strongest squads of the NFC is pretty intriguing.
The reason why the line moved towards Chicago was the Baltimore quarterback’s illness. Lamar Jackson got sent home from practice on Wednesday due to a non-Covid illness. Head coach John Harbaugh said that he is not concerned with Jackson’s status for Week 11 and the former MVP should be ready to play in what looks like an easy matchup for Baltimore’s offense.
With Jackson essentially confirmed to be available, our model disagrees with the line move and finds value on the road favorite.
Two weak defenses, but one of these offenses has a high upside
Both of these rosters feature sub-par defenses. Chicago allows 12.3 yards per reception, while the Ravens allow 13.1 yards per reception to opposing teams on average. Both squads struggle against deep passing games with the Bears allowing an average depth of target of 8.0 yards, while the Ravens give up an 8.1-yard average depth of target. Football Outsider’s DVOA grades Chicago’s defense the 22nd-best in the league, while Baltimore’s the 25th-best.
Offensively though, this Ravens squad has a giant advantage. Baltimore grades 10th in offensive DVOA, while Chicago is just 27th. The Ravens made a lot of improvements this year but the most important of them is Lamar Jackson throwing deeper passes and doing it more accurately than before.
Jackson’s average depth of target is up 0.6 yards per attempt from last year and he completes his passes at a 64% rate (up from 63% in 2020) despite the added depth. Baltimore’s receivers also average 0.8 more yards per reception compared to last season reaching first downs at a 58% clip (up from 55%).
Our model ranks Baltimore the best rushing offense in the league and the 10th-best passing offense. This is a deadly combination facing a bottom-five defense.
Chicago struggling as an underdog
The Bears have been mediocre this year, and they have been especially struggling against the stronger teams of the league. Chicago is just 2-5 against the spread when they were lined as an underdog by bookmakers.
Before last week’s draw against Pittsburgh, the Bears haven’t covered in three straight games and quarterback Justin Fields was also mediocre at best in these matchups. The 22-year-old had a QB rating of 89.9, 84.6, 44.3, and 75.2 in his last four games.
Chicago Bears – Baltimore Ravens Odds
Pick: Baltimore -4.5 -110 (1.91x) Bet365
We are taking Baltimore’s explosive offense and the former MVP over this Chicago Bears team that truly lacks an identity. The Bears aren’t really good anywhere and we don’t see them slowing down Lamar Jackson or putting up enough points to hang with him.
Note: Our model makes this spread exactly 6 points, so we would bet Baltimore at -5.5 -110 (1.91x) or better.