If we learned anything from The Last Dance, it's that Michael Jordan loves competition, especially when there's big money on the line. We just didn't know it extended all the way to fishing.
On Tuesday his Airness made headlines by participating in the 62nd annual Big Rock Blue MarlIn Tournament. But Jordan didn't just participate, he nearly won. His "Catch 23" crew caught a 442-pound blue marlin off the coast of Morehead City in Jordan's home state of North Carolina.
Unfortunately, Jordan's big fish ranked 6th overall, which meant he didn't qualify for a portion of the $3.3 million prize money.
Speaking of Jordan, what can bettors expect from the football team that hails from the city where MJ won his six championships?
After an impressive 2018 in which the Bears went 12-4, won the NFC North and were a missed field goal away from winning a playoff game, Chicago regressed to 8-8 last season. A big reason for the step backward was the poor play of quarterback Mitch Trubisky, whose passer rating fell from 95.4 to 83.
In an attempt to push Trubisky (or replace him), Chicago traded for former Super Bowl winning quarterback Nick Foles. In free agency, the Bears added former Cowboys edge rusher Robert Quinn and former Packers tight end Jimmie Graham. Chicago didn't have a first-round pick because of the Khalil Mack trade, but added Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet in the second round.
The Bears are at a crossroads in 2020. It's sink-or-swim Year 4 for Trubisky and head coach Matt Nagy is on the proverbial hot seat. Bettors are wondering: Are the Bears more like the 12-4 team from two seasons ago or the 8-win team from 2019?
According to the oddsmakers, it looks like more of the latter.
Chicago's 2020 win total is mostly at 8 across the market, although there are some notable fluctuations at specific books. Circa Sports and FanDuel are both hanging a win total of 8 with heavy -125 under juice (over + 105). DraftKings is a notch below at 7.5 with -115 over juice (under -106). PointsBet is the lone outlier offering a win total of 8.5 with massive -164 under juice (over + 135).
There are two big takeaways here. First, oddsmakers have somewhat differing opinions of the Bears, although the general consensus based on smart money and house liability is another 8-8 season, or even worse, 7-9. Second, this presents bettors a big opportunity to shop for the best line depending on your opinion of the Bears. Having multiples outs is critical here. If you believe in Chicago, grab the over 7.5 at DraftKings. If you don't believe in Chicago, grab the under 8.5 at PointsBet. A rare middling opportunity exists, although it's tough to stomach laying a hefty -164 price on the under.
Chicago's schedule is relatively difficult this season. Their 2020 opponents went a combined 129-125-2 (.509) in 2019, giving the Bears the 13th-hardest schedule in the NFL.
Here is the full Bears schedule
Week 1: at Lions
Week 2: vs Giants
Week 3: at Falcons
Week 4: vs Colts
Week 5: vs Bucs
Week 6: at Panthers
Week 7: at Rams
Week 8: vs Saints
Week 9: at Titans
Week 10: vs Vikings
Week 11: Bye
Week 12: at Packers
Week 13: vs Lions
Week 14: vs Texans
Week 15: at Vikings
Week 16: at Jags
Week 17: vs Packers
Don't bank on a playoff berth for Chicago. The Bears are a -250 favorite to miss the postseason at DraftKings and a + 200 underdog to make the postseason.
Chicago is + 425 to win the NFC North. The Vikings (+ 150) and Packers (+ 170) are virtual co-favorites. The Lions are a + 600 longshot.
The Bears are + 2000 to win the NFC and + 4000 to win the Super Bowl.
One big question that bettors are wondering: Who will be under center? Trubisky or Foles? According to the books, it looks like the former Eagle.
Foles is a -305 favorite to start Week 1 at DraftKings. Trubisky is a + 200 dog.
In terms of player props, wide receiver Allen Robinson's over/under receiving yards is set at 1,050.5. Last season, Robinson finished with 1,147 receiving yards.
Running back David Montgomery's over/under rushing yards is 900.5. He rushed for 889 yards in his rookie year in 2019.
Khalil Mack is + 1200 to win Defensive Player of the Year, trailing only Aaron Donald (+ 700) and Nick Bosa (+ 1000).