Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers
(Packers linebacker Clay Matthews is looking to get back to his 2010 form)
The Green Bay Packers get another chance at home after losing to our picks for the NFC the 49ers when they host the Chicago Bears on Thursday night in a standout matchup from the first couple of weeks' action. The layers are expecting a shootout & they've set the total points line at 50.5 but the score going over that is entirely plausible as both teams' opening games surpassed it (52 for Green Bay & 62 for the Chicago). 12 of the Packers' 17 games last year went 51+ points as Aaron Rodger went pass mad & although the Bears' defense is very good it won't be as tough as the brilliant 49ers & that means we should be looking at Green Bay scoring close to or north of 30 points alone. With the Packers' rushing attack looking weak that should mean they pass even more often that means that time won't run off the clock so quickly & higher scores become more likely.
(Brandon Marshall has settled in very nicely already with the Bears)
For their part the Bears look to have made one hell of an astute signing with Michael Bush as a complementary running back to Matt Forte, we pointed it out before their opener & he went & proved it by pushing home two TDs when down at the goal line - it means they've improved their likelihood of getting touchdowns when in the red zone rather than field goals & again means higher scoring games. The Packers remain weak in coverage & will struggle with Brandon Marshall who has instantly linked up with Jay Cutler after previously being together at Denver & he should get a stack of receiving yardage again.
The Bears' offensive line still doesn't inspire huge confidence when protecting the passer & Green Bay's defense will be on high alert, especially Clay Matthews who had 2.5 sacks v the Colts after a bit of a down year in 2011 following being named defensive MVP in 2010. If the Packers can't get to Jay Cutler he'll hit Marshall & it will set up Forte to break some big runs & the value might lie here with the visitors at 12/5 with Coral. We certainly like the over 50.5 points bet as this game looks like being a cracker with the Packers difficult to stop & the Bears looking effective in the passing & ground games.
Leyton Orient vs Brentford
Leyton Orient host Brentford at Griffin Park in a League One game as Orient try to catch up with the schedule after having a game with Hartlepool postponed. Brentford are sat in 7th spot on eight points whilst Leyton Orient have played a game less & have three points on the board. Orient's points came as they beat Swindon last weekend to arrest a terrible start to the league season with three defeats from three games against Tranmere Rovers, Stevenage & Crawley Town. An away win at Swindon is impressive on paper but there seems to be a bit of unrest in the Robins dressing room & the result probably said more about Swindon than the O's.
(Clayton Donaldson is in great shape & it's paying off with goals)
Brentford have won two of their last three games against Crewe (5-1) & Colchester (1-0) & have drawn both matches on the road. In their five matches there have been seven goals scored in the 80th minute or later so this game could be in the balance right to the end. We don't think that it will be that close though as Brentford's attacking threat is potent with Clayton Donaldson thriving now he seems to have established himself as the main man up front & the summer signing of the Moroccan Farid El Alagui has added some class whilst striking up a solid partnership with Donaldson.
Leyton Orient have just two goals in the League this year & their best chance of success is surely to try to defend & catch Brentford on the break, we don't feel they have the quality to compete though (finished 20th v Brentford's 9th last year) & Brentford are a fair price at 7/5.
Chicago Bears to beat Green Bay Packers at 12/5 (Coral)
Over 50.5 points total in Bears v Packers game at 10/11 (General)
Brentford to beat Leyton Orient at 7/5 (Paddy Power & Coral)