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The Chicago Bears will open the 2022 NFL season by hosting the San Francisco 49ers. NFL handicapper Jason Yamaguchi offers his analysis along with his pick for this Week 1 matchup.

Chicago Bears vs. San Francisco 49ers Prediction, Pick, and Odds: How Much Scoring Should We Expect?

Following a season that ended on the road in the NFC Championship Game, the San Francisco 49ers will look to open the Trey Lance era with a win in Chicago. Aside from quarterback, San Francisco's roster is somewhat weaker than last year's, although they are bringing back the cornerstones that led the franchise to four playoff wins in the last three seasons.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Bears have not won a playoff game in 11 years, mainly because they've been unable to solve their quandary at the quarterback position. Chicago's hope is that Justin Fields is the answer, but he proved little during the 10 games he started in 2021. For any glimmer of hope to materialize around the 2022 Bears, Fields will need to break out and take a major step forward. Will we see signs of that in Week 1 against the 49ers, or should Bears fans expect the start of another disappointing season? Here are our picks, predictions, and odds for Sunday's game between the San Francisco 49ers vs. Chicago Bears.

Bears vs. 49ers Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: Sunday, September 11

Time: 1:00 pm ET

Where to Watch: FOX

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Chicago Bears vs. San Francisco 49ers Prediction

In order to project the number of points, we should expect from this game, let's first look at the matchup between Chicago's offense and San Francisco's defense. At first glance, the matchup between the 49ers' defensive front and the Bears' offensive line stands out as a massive mismatch. The Bears will be starting fifth-round rookie Braxton Jones at left tackle; his job is to protect Justin Fields' blindside. That is a problematic proposition, to say the least. When you're facing an edge rusher — Nick Bosa — who posted 15.5 sacks and 32 quarterback hits last season. The rest of Chicago's offensive line is only marginally better, and they will still need to prevent the likes of Arik Armstead and second-round edge rusher Drake Jackson from getting to Fields. It's not an enviable task, and I think that the 49ers' front will live in the backfield on Sunday.

If the Bears want to minimize the risk of allowing back-breaking sacks that could wreck their game plan, the only option will be to lean on the run game. That is not a viable alternative, in my opinion, given that the 49ers boast one of the top linebacker tandems in the NFL. All-Pro Fred Warner has been among the league's elite middle linebackers for the better part of four years, and Azeez Al-Shaair had a stellar 2021 campaign during which he secured a full-time starting role. Additionally, Dre Greenlaw is returning from injury. All three of them are stout against the run, and neither David Montgomery nor the Bears' offensive line exactly instills fear in opponents, to begin with.

In other words, Chicago's best option from an offensive standpoint is probably to pass early and often, but their lack of aerial weapons beyond Darnell Mooney means that this approach is unlikely to generate ideal results. Overall, I expect the 49ers to put on a defensive clinic and hold the Bears to a low-point total.

Next, let's look at how San Francisco's offense matches up with Chicago's defense. Trey Lance will be making his third career start — the first two were inconsistent performances against the Cardinals and Texans in 2021. The lack of data on Lance means that there's additional uncertainty when betting the total on this game.

Specifically, it's possible that Lance will storm out of the gates with guns blazing, and the Niners will force this total over. However, I don't see that as the median outcome for this matchup. It's far more likely that we see a mixed bag — a few flashes of Lance's arm talent, a couple of long runs, and one or two turnovers.

As we head into the weekend, the biggest factor working against this 49ers offense is the potential absence of star tight end George Kittle. Kittle missed his second-straight day of practice on Thursday, meaning it's relatively unlikely that he will suit up on Sunday. If he doesn't play, the Niners' offense will suffer significant blows on two fronts. The obvious one is the passing attack — Kittle's absence would mean that Lance would have one fewer weapon to target.

On top of that, Kittle is probably the best blocking tight end in the league. No tight end contributes more frequently and effectively to his team's run game than Kittle does; that would be a major hole to fill, perhaps one that would force the 49ers to adjust their game plan. Either way, it isn't an ideal situation for San Francisco's offense.

Chicago's defense isn't awful, but it is also significantly downgraded from their defenses of the past few years. The Bears' most significant loss of the offseason was losing three-time All-Pro Khalil Mack via trade without a real plan to replace his production. The ensuing lack of pass-rush is my worry for this game — if the 49ers get their passing attack rolling while sprinkling in their designed runs for Lance, Deebo, et al., the scoreline could get ugly. Still, I'm confident that there's value on the under due to Kittle's groin injury, Chicago's offensive ineptitude, and the growing pains that will likely accompany Trey Lance.

Bears vs. 49ers Pick

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Article Author


Jason Yamaguchi is an avid New York sports fan. He has a proven record of providing +EV bets by combining traditional handicapping tactics with advanced statistics. You can follow him on Twitter @TopMoneyPicks to view all of his bets, including NFL, NHL, and MLB picks.


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