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HomeSportCaleb Williams, Bears shaking up the odds: ‘Their ceiling is high if he excels’

Caleb Williams, Bears shaking up the odds: ‘Their ceiling is high if he excels’

by News7

While the city of Chicago craves its first Super Bowl trophy in almost 40 years, third-year Bears general manager Ryan Poles is doing everything in his power to lay a strong foundation for sustained success.

It’s one thing to spin the roulette ball and hope for the best every year. It’s another to build your organization around draft picks, shrewd trades and financial flexibility. Perennial contenders tend to outlive one-hit wonders.

Poles’ best move to date was a franchise-altering trade 14 months ago. He shipped the 2023 No. 1 overall pick to the Carolina Panthers for two first-rounders, two second-rounders and wide receiver D.J. Moore.

Carolina drafted Bryce Young last year and still finished 2-15, paving the way for Chicago to take generational USC quarterback Caleb Williams first overall and star receiver Rome Odunze from Washington ninth overall this year.

That’s akin to landing Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase in the same class.  

“The Bryce Young trade was tremendous for the Bears,” Westgate SuperBook executive director John Murray told FOX Sports from Las Vegas.

“Most teams aren’t looking to trade out of No. 1,” Murray continued. “The Bears got an offer they couldn’t refuse, and the chips fell their way, so they could draft one of the best quarterback prospects in the last 10 years.

“The best part about having Caleb Williams, though, is that you’ve got a very talented quarterback on a rookie contract. There’s nothing more valuable in the NFL than having a top-level quarterback on a rookie deal.”

Take a bow, Ryan Poles.

It also doesn’t take much for Bears fans to get excited about the offense. The team has never had a quarterback throw for 4,000 yards or 30 touchdowns in a single season. Erik Kramer’s 1995 campaign (3,838 and 29) is the benchmark.

“Caleb is accurate from the pocket, he gets the ball out quick, and he’s responsible for so many explosive plays,” Murray analyzed. “He can run and throw on the run, too, unlike Justin Fields. Chicago is getting the total package in terms of quarterback talent.”

If all goes to plan, this offense — with Williams, Odunze, Moore, Keenan Allen, D’Andre Swift and Cole Kmet — could morph into the best Bears unit since 2013. That team featured Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett, under longtime CFL brainiac Marc Trestman.

The 2013 squad scored a whopping 445 points — second-most in franchise history — but allowed a franchise-worst 478 points and finished 8-8.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Luckily, the Bears defense played like gangbusters after acquiring edge rusher Montez Sweat from the Washington Commanders last Halloween. Chicago allowed only 17.1 points per game over its final nine contests.

“You really can’t assess Poles’ 2024 draft class without discussing Montez Sweat,” Murray said. “The Bears traded their second-round pick for Sweat, and he was an absolute beast for them down the stretch last year.”

Chicago finished 6-3 against the spread (ATS) with Sweat in tow.

As you can imagine, the Bears are one of the sexiest teams heading into next season. Their regular-season win total was 8.5 o-120 when the draft began and one sportsbook was at 8.5 o-145 when the first round ended.  

Don’t be shocked if that number hits O/U 9 soon.

Chicago is already favored to make the playoffs at multiple shops and lots of sportsbooks are playing defense against Bears money in the future markets. The Monsters of the Midway are as low as 3-1 to win the NFC North, 14-1 to win the NFC and 30-1 to win the Super Bowl.

Murray’s shop is one of the Vegas outfits dealing 14-1 in the NFC.

“It’s definitely a defensive number,” he admitted. “We haven’t written a ton of action on the Bears, but their ceiling is high if Williams excels. We have the Bears and Miami Dolphins both at 30-1 in the Super Bowl market. The Dolphins were almost a two-seed in the AFC last year.

“The respect is there.”

Chicago Bears odds to win NFC: *

FanDuel Sportsbook: +2200 (bet $10 win $230 total) 
Fanatics Sportsbook: +2000 (bet $10 win $210 total) 
South Point Sportsbook: +1800 (bet $10 win $190 total) 
BetRivers Sportsbook: +1600 (bet $10 win $170 total) 
Caesars Sportsbook: +1600 (bet $10 win $170 total) 
BetMGM Sportsbook: +1500 (bet $10 win $160 total) 
Circa Sports Sportsbook: +1500 (bet $10 win $160 total) 
DraftKings Sportsbook: +1400 (bet $10 win $150 total) 
SuperBook Sportsbook: +1400 (bet $10 win $150 total) 

* odds as of 5/8/24

The biggest concern bookmakers have for the Bears is head coach Matt Eberflus, who is a measly 10-24 on the Chicago sidelines. Sure, his defense got better in the second half of 2023, but it was impossible not to improve.

It’s no secret Eberflus is a defensive-minded coach, and he’s far from a quarterback whisperer that’ll take a young prodigy to the next level.

“There’s a ton of pressure on Eberflus,” Murray quipped. “If he doesn’t win next season, you know what’s going to happen. I assure you Caleb Williams isn’t going anywhere, and the GM is being lauded all over town.”

At the end of the day, the Chicago Bears are light years ahead of where they were two years ago with Fields running for his life with no weapons and a terrible offensive line. Poles quickly built a support system for the heir apparent, and if The Kid actualizes his potential, look out.

Bears stock is certainly climbing, unlike the free-falling Panthers.

“Carolina missed on C.J. Stroud and Caleb Williams,” Murray cracked. “Stroud was the best rookie quarterback in the last 10 years and Williams is one of the biggest quarterback prospects in the last 10 years. Carolina was horrible for two straight seasons and didn’t end up with either of them.

“That’s pretty amazing.”

Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and NESN. He previously worked for WGN Radio, NBC Sports and VSiN. He’ll probably pick against your favorite team. Follow him on Twitter @spshoot. 

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Source : Fox Sports

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