Jim O'Donnell: Nobody walks in L.A. -- unless you're betting against the Bears Monday night

  • Bears head coach Matt Nagy has plenty to be happy about with a 5-1 record this season.

    Bears head coach Matt Nagy has plenty to be happy about with a 5-1 record this season. Mark Busch/Shaw Media

Updated 10/21/2020 2:44 PM

THERE IS A REGIONAL ENTREPRENEUR who is more than a little bit reminiscent of F. Scott Fitzgerald's Jay Gatsby.

That's especially true if Gatsby made off-rack jeans and esoteric T-shirts look fashionable even at his own grand soirees.


Three years ago, the fellow won about $90,000 betting the NFL.

In 2018, he lost roughly $230,000.

Last year he took a knee and didn't bet.

Nonetheless, he hosted a sterling event for this year's Bears-Lions opener, insisting, "Oh no, I'm not betting NFL games again this year."

A chase-sensitive insouciant noted the gent was a speck too animated as Mitch Trubisky rallied the urgent of Lake Forest to a 27-23 victory.

Afterward, the visiting snoop said, "You know, for a fellow who's not betting the NFL this year ..."

"Ah, ah, ah," was the reply.

"I said I'm not betting 'NFL games.' I do have 80 grand on the Bears to win more than 8½ games. I think they're a lock."

Five weeks later, the Bears are 5-1. They can crawl home 4-6 and Gatsby will cash.

Up next, under the lights of "Monday Night Football," are the Los Angeles Rams (4-2) and their new $5.7 billion SoFi Stadium (ESPN, 7 p.m.).

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The milkman's line on the game was 7½. It dipped to LA -6½ after the Bears beat Carolina and the Rams fell to gutty Jimmy Garoppolo and the Forty-Niners.

Now it's fluttering around 5 and the Bears may wind up spotted a mere 3½.

But forget the point spread. The simple question facing the most fervent burnt orange-and-blue speculators is:

Do the Bears win the game?

So much about the current campaign doesn't make sense. So who this side of San Bernardino would say, "No?"


• As head coach of the Bears, Matt Nagy is 25-14, despite elements in a local media dying to malign him;

• In all three seasons with Nagy at the helm, the Bears have opened 3-1 -- but his first two editions lost their next two games;


• The Bears are one of the six lowest-scoring teams in the NFL, along with the Jets, the Jaguars, the Giants, the Broncos and Washington -- the other five combined are 5-24;

• The Bears are fourth in defensive cap spending ($99 million) but have less than $2 million of that spending on injured reserve;

• Sometimes, the lords of the NFL just sprinkle moon dust along a chosen team's improbable arc.

Tom Thayer, sage optimist, says the offense will get better.

Less positive suggest that offensive tackle Charles Leno Jr. should start his own line of sportswear for the more robust young man labeled "Yellow Flag No. 72."

The gamblin' Gatsby -- like so many Bears fans -- just wants that win tote to mount.

STREET-BEATIN': The retirement of Doc Emrick as lead play-by-play on NBC's NHL coverage calls for nothing but grateful toasts. The man was gracious, extraordinarily talented and smart enough to withdraw from events before events withdrew from him. ...

Young Joe Davis, 32, who filled in for Joe Buck on Game 7 of the NLCS Sunday night, was completing his turn on the Beloit College campus station 10 years ago. (Even from the shores of the Rock River, that's called "rapid ascent.") ...

The Fox Sunday telecast was the highest-rated MLB game since G7 of the Yankees-cheatin' Astros in 2017. Before that, both 2020 LCS were down 30 percent. ...

Dave Eanet and Ted Albrecht return for their 27th season together when Northwestern hosts Maryland Saturday (AM-720, 6:30 p.m.; TV -- BTN). Eanet is pointing to new offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian and transfer grad QB Peyton Ramsey as spigots of hope. ...

Xfinity/Comcast announced a monthly increase of $6.20 to pay for the Cubs's Marquee Sports Network. (Yes, bad economic times, but MSN chief Mike McCarthy has to address deficiencies in content, promotion and media relations.) ...

Credible speculation that Clemson's Trevor Lawrence will leverage his senior year of eligibility to get out of playing for the New York Jets. (Maybe he's been getting postcards of Halas Hall in the fall.) ...

And, news that ESPN has scraped to find Union Home Mortgage to sponsor the Gasparilla Bowl prompted Jon Freier to ask: "Why don't they just fast-forward to 'The Cannabis Growology Bowl'? "

• Jim O'Donnell's Sports & Media column appears Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at jimodonnelldh@yahoo.com.

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