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Lovie Smith: Bears were motivated by being eight-point underdogs

Lovie Smith AP

In the NFL, the company line is to pretend point spreads don’t exist: No one associated with the NFL is even supposed to admit to thinking about anything associated with gambling.

But Bears coach Lovie Smith acknowledged after Monday night’s win over the Eagles that he and his players took notice of the point spread and were motivated by being underdogs.

We’re a good football team, just not getting a whole lot of respect,” Smith said. “When you go on a road, the Chicago Bears shouldn’t be eight-point underdogs when we come and play a team, and the guys took notice of that.”

Smith’s comments are posted at NFL.com, so the league isn’t exactly hiding from them, but it is unusual to hear a coach publicly admit to looking at the point spread.

Privately, talk of point spreads in locker rooms may not be as unusual as the NFL would like.

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37 Responses to “Lovie Smith: Bears were motivated by being eight-point underdogs”
  1. bcjim says: Nov 8, 2011 10:26 AM

    8 pts? Who set that line?

  2. joetoronto says: Nov 8, 2011 10:32 AM

    “Lovie Smith: Bears were motivated by being eight-point underdogs”

    Whoops.

  3. strctlylo says: Nov 8, 2011 10:32 AM

    Coughlin mentioned it in his post game talk to the team after the NYG/Pats game.

  4. glac1 says: Nov 8, 2011 10:34 AM

    I would hope that wasn’t the reason to be motivated and I hope he knows better then that. They’re paid professionals and should be ready to go each and every week.

  5. piemasteruk says: Nov 8, 2011 10:36 AM

    The NFL need to grow up and acknowledge that gambling is as American as apple pie and what adults do with their money is entirely their own business.

  6. purpleguy says: Nov 8, 2011 10:37 AM

    No NFL player should have to be motivated by a point spread.

  7. polegojim says: Nov 8, 2011 10:38 AM

    Foolish statement Lovie… so if the Bears are NOT underdogs, they’re not motivated?

    Tthe Bears should be motivated by the desire to WIN for them and their fans… by their HEAD COACH…. by the Leadership of the Quarterback…. Oooops my bad on that last one.

  8. jpb12 says: Nov 8, 2011 10:42 AM

    Thank God for Vegas.

    Both Lovie and Tom Coughlin noted the 8 and 9 point spreads against their teams in post game comments

  9. cakemixa says: Nov 8, 2011 10:43 AM

    Should have known Vick was in trouble with 8 point dogs coming into town.

  10. schmokes says: Nov 8, 2011 10:44 AM

    When has a coach or team ever shied away from pointing to the spread as a means of “disrespect”? Dumb article.

  11. kh221 says: Nov 8, 2011 10:51 AM

    Underachieving Eagles should have been motivated, but showed no sense of urgency or fight. You can stick a fork in the dream team.

  12. oxycode30 says: Nov 8, 2011 10:53 AM

    Pretending betting on the games doesn’t occur extends to this forum where pro-wagering comments are removed. Running from reality is extremely unbecoming of the league (and this forum) and pretending that “fantasy football” is some acceptable substitute for straight wagers, over/unders and parlays is delusional.

  13. boilerup1869 says: Nov 8, 2011 10:59 AM

    I’m not sure what Lovie’s role is in the Bears organization.

  14. danospleasanton says: Nov 8, 2011 11:00 AM

    I thought I was the only one who thought that spread was too large. So glad I took the Bears and points. Thanks Bears!!

  15. pikindaguy says: Nov 8, 2011 11:01 AM

    Players should be allowed to bet on themselves for moneyline bets., it’s not as if their goals would be aligned any differently if they were allowed to.

  16. greenpacker says: Nov 8, 2011 11:02 AM

    i am a dieheart packer’s fan (wisconsin born, raised AND educated) and i holey agree that the bears are underratted.

    -if there is any teams in the league left on the packers schedule is will be the bears who they will be deal the first lost. even although they dont play again until week 6teen

  17. heyguru1969 says: Nov 8, 2011 11:04 AM

    Kind of reminds me how players refused (for a while) to acknowledge their role in fantasy football, and now it’s as wide-open as any other topic. Glad Lovie made a few bucks, too!

  18. philtration says: Nov 8, 2011 11:04 AM

    The Bears have beaten the Eagles 4 of the last 5 years and Michael Vick has never beaten them.
    It was the Bears that came up 7 points shy to the Packers in the NFC championship game last year, not the Eagles.

    Whoever set the spread at 8 points is an idiot.

  19. comeonnowguys says: Nov 8, 2011 11:06 AM

    They always have wonky lines with the Bears. It’s to get the meatball fans voting.

  20. herokravon says: Nov 8, 2011 11:06 AM

    Actually they were 9.5 point underdogs closer to kickoff….thanks.

    Herokravon
    PFT Assistant to the GM

  21. norcalchief says: Nov 8, 2011 11:12 AM

    The ignorance on the part of people saying these statements is laughable (Mike & Mike said roughly the same thing this morning).

    Let’s get on the same page people: the betting line has zero, ZERO to do with how good someone in a dark room in a faraway city thinks your team is or isn’t.

    The betting line is set so that the amount of money bet FOR a position equals the money bet AGAINST a position. Period, end of story.

    If anything, Lovie should take this as a sign that Vegas had to encourage money on the for Eagles side, because at a pick-em or +3 spread, too much money was on the Bears to cover.

  22. tformation says: Nov 8, 2011 11:18 AM

    It wasn’t just Vegas that was disrespecting the Bears, every single analyst on ESPN picked the Bears… except Ditka. And he’s kind obligated to pick the Bears. Both PFT “experts” picked the Eagles over the Bears too.

    Too many sports media people have bought the “dream team” hype. The Eagles look great on paper. On the field, they look like paper tigers.

  23. westmantooth says: Nov 8, 2011 11:24 AM

    They were also motivated by being home underdogs in the NFC Championship Game last year. Urlacher made that extremely clear.

    How did that work out?

  24. champ27 says: Nov 8, 2011 11:24 AM

    They were motivated because they were underdogs……Then why are they not undefeated.

  25. nineroutsider says: Nov 8, 2011 11:25 AM

    Martz hasn’t called a game I liked since he was with the Rams, but if he calls them like that the Bears are a playoff team.

  26. mjkelly77 says: Nov 8, 2011 11:25 AM

    Hey, it’s the point spread that made the NFL what it is today.

  27. gergie1957 says: Nov 8, 2011 11:34 AM

    I was wondering which Eagle team showed up last night? It wasn’t the team that showed up to play the Cowboys. Last week they were flying around hitting the Boys in the mouth, left and right.
    Last night they were slow to the line, confused, and hesitant. We’ll see who shows up next week.

  28. bearsrulepackdrool says: Nov 8, 2011 11:44 AM

    You don’t have to look at the spread in Vegas or another gambling site. The media will do it for you as soon as it comes out. Heck ESPN has the spread on their bottomline on a daily basis. What you expect people to just ignore that?

  29. joecb91 says: Nov 8, 2011 11:47 AM

    Its not just about being underdogs, its about how much the Eagles were favored by. If the spread was more like 3 points they probably wouldn’t mind as much.

  30. kiefs85 says: Nov 8, 2011 11:54 AM

    Nice try “greenpacker”. You’re going to have to be a bit less obvious with your grammatical errors. Enjoy your Bears or whomever you cheer for—it will be over soon.

  31. bearsrulepackdrool says: Nov 8, 2011 12:25 PM

    early line Bears a one point favorite against Detroit. I’m going to need you to find better motivational tactics this week.

  32. kevpft says: Nov 8, 2011 12:34 PM

    @norcalchief, you’re wrong about the betting line. It has everything to do with how good they think the team is, because that’s how they set that magical point where the money equalizes.

    Maybe you’re trying to say that it’s nothing personal? That I would agree with. But that’s not how motivation works – whether it’s personal or not, if an institution is putting its financial stake on a safe bet being your team losing, that’s something that can readily motivate a team to not perform to diminished expectations.

  33. greenbaysucks says: Nov 8, 2011 12:43 PM

    The fact that this spread was 8 points is just crazy.

    These teams have played against each other A LOT in the last few years. They know each other. Teams that know each other tend to have closer games.

    The other point – the Eagles are overrated. They are bad. Too much talent, not enough chemistry.

  34. piemasteruk says: Nov 8, 2011 12:43 PM

    “The betting line is set so that the amount of money bet FOR a position equals the money bet AGAINST a position. Period, end of story.”

    This is not the case. Period, end of story.

  35. makinghtmlcodeforfacebook says: Nov 8, 2011 1:46 PM

    bcjim says:
    Nov 8, 2011 10:26 AM

    “8 pts? Who set that line?”

    - the people that gamble on the game set that line. How did that comment get so many thumbs up?

  36. granadafan says: Nov 8, 2011 2:32 PM

    “pikindaguy says:
    Nov 8, 2011 11:01 AM
    Players should be allowed to bet on themselves for moneyline bets., it’s not as if their goals would be aligned any differently if they were allowed to.”
    =======================================================

    Ever heard of point shaving and “integrity of the game”? Sure, a player(s) can win, but win below the point spread and pay off their bookie or make loads more cash. If you can’t see anything wrong with that, then there’s no point in continuing the discussion.

  37. asublimeday says: Nov 8, 2011 4:37 PM

    i am a dieheart packer’s fan (wisconsin born, raised AND educated) and i holey agree that the bears are underratted.

    -if there is any teams in the league left on the packers schedule is will be the bears who they will be deal the first lost. even although they dont play again until week 6teen
    ————-

    Haha awesome. That Wisconsin education shining through!

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