With the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision Monday to overturn a 1992 federal law that banned states from allowing gambling on games, chances are in the near future you’ll be able to freely bet on the NFL and the Bears in Illinois.
So with that in mind, let’s look at some hypothetical prop bets for the 2018 Bears…
Jordan Howard rushing yards, over/under 999 1/2
Only 17 players since the AFL-NFL merger have rushed for at least 1,000 yards in each of their first three seasons. Jordan Howard will vie to be the 18th after rushing for 1,313 and 1,122 yards in his first two seasons with the Bears. On one hand, his role may change in a new offense with more weapons around him than he’s ever had. On the other hand, 43 percent of Howard’s rushing attempts in 2017 came with eight or more defenders in the box — so having more weapons and a less predictable offense could help him get over that 1,000-yard mark again in 2018.
More receptions: Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller or the entire Bears 2017 receiver group
Bears receivers combined for 133 receptions last year, while Allen Robinson averaged 76 receptions in 2015-2016 and Anthony Miller averaged 95 1/2 receptions in 2016-2017. This would require some lofty projections for Robinson and Miller — say, 75 catches for Robinson and 59 for Miller — but the Bears didn’t invest so much money and draft capital into those two players for them not to be productive in 2018.
More receptions/yards: Kevin White in 2018 or Kevin White’s career totals
White enters the final year of his rookie deal with 21 receptions for 193 yards in only five career games, meaning he’ll have to prove in 2018 to not only the Bears but the rest of the NFL he can still be a productive player worthy of a roster spot. The Bears insulated themselves from needing to rely on White’s production in 2018 with the additions of Robinson, Miller, Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton, but there’s a thought that the new coaching staff could re-invigorate White’s career. If he’s healthy and he’s productive, surpassing his career totals shouldn’t be a problem; but those two things haven’t been a given in his tough-luck time in the NFL.
More interceptions: Mitch Trubisky or the Bears’ defense
On the surface, you’d think this is an easy call toward the Bears’ defense, right? Not so much. Trubisky threw seven interceptions last year in an offense that was designed to keep him from making mistakes; the Bears’ defense has intercepted only eight passes in each of the last three seasons. If Trubisky attempts 500 passes and his rookie interception rate of 2.1 percent stays the same, that would give him between 10 and 11 interceptions in 2018. The Bears’ defense needs to find more ways to turn the ball over if it wants to be better, but if it doesn’t, Trubisky could wind up with the higher pick total.
The higher total for Tarik Cohen: Number of nicknames or number of ways he scores a touchdown
Cohen, also known as “Big Daddy,” “Chicken Salad,” “The Human Joystick” and “Chocolate Badger” notched rushing, receiving, passing and punt returning touchdowns in 2018. Either he adds a new nickname, retires one of them or returns a field goal or kick for a touchdown — or, why not, he finds his way onto the field on defense and has a pick-six. Don't put it past him.