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Are the Bears Worth the Gamble?



    Are the Bears Worth the Gamble?
    Getty Images
    CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 27: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears rolls out to pass against the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field on September 27, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears won 20-17. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jay Cutler

    Mr. Coppock: I don't get this. Why has Monday Night Football been such a rousing success over the years? Did ABC just get lucky with Howard Cosell and Don Meredith back in the 70's?

    Reply: Wake up, kid. Sure Humble Howard gave viewers a locked-in villain and "Dandy" Don with his  down home style of humor put a football-minded public in a side headlock.

    But here's the bottom line, MNF would have come and gone in three years - maybe less - without the presence of America's greatest indoor sport: gambling.

    I'll guess we're all in agreement on the following: the NFL is colorful, violent and electric with larger than life figures who tend to grab our attention. Right?


    The NFL is really about "action", "the juice", "the man" and the rush of putting a couple of bucks down on the home team or that out of town club you cherish more than a tax return. Just how much does betting influence viewership on the Roger Goodell instant money machine?

    One helluva lot. I would dare say that TV numbers on the 32 team empire would drop a minimum of 30% without the mere presence of betting lines.

    Now that I've got you properly warmed up lets play our own little game. We're going to send the Bears down to the Georgia dome to play the Atlanta Falcons for the right to work the Super Bowl XLV.

    However, to do so the Bears will first have to beat - you heard it here first - the Philadelphia Eagles in the conference semi-final.

    The Green Bay defense is playing at a tremendous level and Aaron Rodgers has become one of the 4-5 best QB's in the NFL but the Pack has played out the deck. They will stumble in the City of Brotherly Love this weekend.

    Why do they call Philly the City of Brotherly Love? Fans in that town are so brutal that if there's no ballgame they'll go to the local airport and boo the traffic controllers.

    So Team Vick with more buildup than Lady Ga Ga will travel to Chicago to rematch the Bears on that wonderful lakefront turf that resembles, choose one: a putting green at Augusta National or a pot hole on the Dan Ryan.

    We immediately give the Bears 3 points for home field and home crowd. Jay Cutler carved up the Philly secondary when the two clubs met earlier this year.  Add another 2 points.

    Now, here is the key. In Vegas-speak, the Bears along with the Packers, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and New England Pats are a so-called Public team. What's the hook? Glamour, sex appeal, tradition.

    The public will over bet on Team Lovie because Joe Fan wagers with his heart and not his head while dreaming dreams of Gale Sayers, Dick Butkus and, of course, Cade McNown.

    The result?

    Add another point. We now have the Bears on the board as 7 point favorites. Dangerous territory. Chicago money may drive the line to 7.5. That number, gang, is way too heavy.

    Logically, the Bears should be 6 point faves. But - and this goes back to the Christians vs. the lions - the public, logic and betting meet about as often as I pick up a lunch tab.

    Anyway, thank you for attending the seminar. Please deposit your parlay cards on the way out.

    Final score: Bears 26 Eagles 23.

    Next stop the great south where the Bears, a speed team made for the indoor turf, will punch out the Falcons to stamp their ticket for the big show.

    Am i absolutely grade A certain I'm on target? Hell no.

    That, my chums. is why they call it gambling.