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Books need Packers in big way over Bears in NFL season opener

Updated September 5, 2019 - 2:12 pm

Las Vegas sportsbooks will be pulling for the Packers over the Bears in Thursday night’s NFL season opener at Soldier Field.

Especially Caesars Entertainment, which has been buried in Bears money since its new sportsbook opened Sunday at the Horseshoe Hammond in Hammond, Indiana, located 15 miles from Soldier Field.

“It’s unbelievable,” Caesars director of trading Jeff Davis said. “We’ve been open since Sunday and we have the same number of bets in Indiana as Nevada, where we opened the game in late April.

“I can’t believe how much liability there is, given how short it’s been open.”

Chicago is a consensus 3-point favorite over Green Bay at Las Vegas books, but is a 3½-point favorite (even) at Caesars and a 3½-point favorite at the South Point.

“We need the Packers here as well but it’s not as lopsided here,” Davis said.

CG Technology has a mid five-figure liability on Chicago.

“I don’t see that changing,” CG Technology sportsbook director Tony DiTommaso said Thursday afternoon. “We’ll be Packer fans tonight, for sure.”

Sunset Station sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said the action is on the Bears on the point spread and the Packers on the money line (plus 140).

The underdog has won the Thursday night NFL opener outright the last three years.

Chicago, which went 7-1 against the spread at home last year, blew a 17-0 halftime lead over Green Bay in last season’s opener at Lambeau Field, where Aaron Rodgers returned from injury to rally the Packers to a 24-23 win.

“Of the top three teams in the NFC North (Bears, Packers, Vikings), any of them is about a 3-point favorite at home right now,” Esposito said. “It’s a tough game to handicap. There’s a lot of pressure on both teams. The Bears made it to the playoffs by riding their defense but they need Mitch Trubisky to take that next step and the offense to compete with that defense.

“Green Bay has a new coach and the Packers have dominated the Bears of late but they haven’t done enough to help Aaron Rodgers on the offensive side of the ball.”

The Packers have beaten the Bears in four of their last five prime-time meetings.

“I’d rather need the Packers tonight than need the Bears,” Davis said.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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