* NBC Sports Washington editor Prince J. Grimes picks his favorite prop bet from Sunday Night Football on NBC.
Spread: Chicago +7.5 (-110) | Los Angeles -7.5 (-110)
Total: 46.5 Over (-121) | Under (+100)
Moneyline: Chicago (+280) | Los Angeles (-360)
Prince’s Prop: Andy Dalton Under 211.5 Passing Yards (-115)
Odds provided by our partner, PointsBet
Three seasons removed from a disappointing showing in Super Bowl LIII, the Los Angeles Rams enter 2021 with renewed hope to return to the big game after replacing Jared Goff with Matthew Stafford at quarterback.
That Stafford could potentially be the missing piece to put them over the top speaks to how potent the rest of this team is, specifically the defensive side of the ball. The Rams return the top-ranked defense from a year ago, anchored by three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald on the front and two-time All-Pro Jalen Ramsey on the back. Because of that, I’m looking at the opposite quarterback, Andy Dalton, not Stafford for my prop pick.
In his first game as a Bear, with the pressure of performing well enough to stave off the inevitable Justin Fields era, Dalton has an over/under of 211.5 passing yards with -115 odds either way on PointsBet Sportsbook. Against this defense, and in Week 1, when the quarterbacks are still getting acclimated and offenses have to knock off a little offseason rust, I like the value on the under.
Coincidentally, Dalton's last team also opened its season against the Rams in 2020. Before Dak Prescott's season-ending injury cleared the way for Dalton to take over in Dallas, the Cowboys' high-powered offense put up 266 passing yards on the Rams in Week 1. But as a lesser player than Prescott on a lesser offense, it won't be easy for Dalton to replicate that.
I also don’t expect this game to be so lopsided that Dalton needs to throw the ball 50 times. Under that scenario, he would obviously pick up a lot of garbage time yardage. But the Bears’ defense is no slouch, so even with Stafford’s familiarity from his time in the NFC North and ability to operate at a high enough level to carry Los Angeles to victory, I like this game to play a little closer until later in the second half when the better team pulls away.
Against a Rams defense that allowed a league-best 190.7 passing yards per game and recorded the second-most sacks in 2020, I think Dalton struggles to get the Bears on track and falls under the 211.5 line. The NBC Sports Edge projection model has him going just over with a 221.6 yards projection.
Tune into NBC at 7 p.m. for Football Night in America ahead of Bears at Rams on Sunday Night Football.