Chicago Bears at Denver Broncos
Sunday, 12/11/11, 4:05 PM EST, TV: FOX
Opening Point Spread: Denver -3.5
Current Betting Line: Denver -3.5
Opening Total: 36
Current Total: 35.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
The Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos will both have a lot on the line when they meet in Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday. Each team owns a 7-5 record and is fighting for the playoffs, although they are heading in opposite directions due to the play of their quarterbacks.
The Broncos (-3.5, O/U 35.5) are rolling behind QB Tim Tebow, who is 6-1 straight-up and against the spread since taking over for the ineffective Kyle Orton following a 1-4 start. The Tebow phenomenon continues to grow ever since he led them back from a 15-0 deficit to an 18-15 overtime victory at Miami back on October 23.
Denver is riding a five-game winning streak, with all of those wins coming as an underdog. This is the first time the team has been favored since that game against the Dolphins and only the second time since Week 2. The last four games have been decided by seven points or less, with three of them going UNDER the total.
Meanwhile, the Bears have headed in the opposite direction since losing QB Jay Cutler to a fractured right thumb. They had won five in a row with Cutler under center but have dropped two straight with backup Caleb Hanie leading the offense. Hanie has thrown three interceptions in each of his two starts and also has to deal with the loss of star running back Matt Forte to a knee injury.
Forte suffered a sprained MCL in his right knee and has been working hard to get back on the field as quickly as possible. The target date for his return is Christmas Day at Green Bay, although he could still miss the rest of the season.
Chicago is also hopeful Cutler will return before the end of the year. Without him, the team’s offense has sputtered. Hanie could not lead a touchdown drive against Kansas City in a stunning 10-3 home loss last week at Soldier Field. The Bears closed as 9-point favorites and had seen the OVER cash in their previous four games.
The Broncos have lost the past two meetings with Chicago, including the last one on the road in 2007. That game was a 37-34 overtime affair when Cutler threw for 302 yards and two touchdowns against the Bears. The previous four meetings went UNDER the total, including a 19-10 Chicago win at Denver in the last game between the teams there in 2003.
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