Tampa Bay Buccaneers -3.5 @ Chicago Bears: 44.5
The 3-1 Bucs travel North to Soldier Field to take on the 3-1 Chicago Bears. The Buccs are 2-2 ATS and 3-1 to the Overs with a +22 point diffrential while the Bears are 2-2 ATS and 2-2 on totals so far this season and sitting on +4.
A weird quirk of the Bears so far, they’ve still not scored in the third quarter of a game, so I guess if you’re staying up for this then take the Bucs to win the 3rd. Or on Skybet you can get Tampa -1.5 at 11/10 which seems fair given the Bears ineptitude.
The Bucs are beaten up on offense and it could hurt them in this one, Godwin is out, OJ Howard is out, Justin Watson is out, Lesean McCoy is out, Fournette is probably out, Evans is questionable, Scotty Miller is questionable, while a few of them wouldn’t really change my view on the team, having group injuries is always a big negative for a team and could hurt them.
For what it’s worth I think Evans and Miller will both play, but Evans was clearly in some discomfort last week and will likely be hampered with his injury through the game. Both have settled in well with Brady and both were on the scoresheet last week. The WR3 (assuming these two play) is either rookie Tyler Johnson (9/2) or Cyril Grayson (16/1) fresh of his stint as intern to Bruce Wayne. The price on Johnson is too short for me to give him much thought, Grayson probably about right at that price, strangely enough I don’t know much about him.
Cameron Brate found the endzone last week and steps forward a notch in the TE rotation with Howard out while Gronk seems to be blocking more this season. There’s a chance Gronk steps up to the Howard position, but it seems more likely to me that it’s Brate.
Ronald Jones finds himself as the main man in the running game once again, he should get the bulk of the carries with no-one else really there having had 20 for 111 yards on the ground last weekend and the Bears are worse vs the run than the pass, so it could lean to him getting work tonight, his yards are set around 70. I think he’ll go over that but it’s too high for me to back it. Ke’shawn Vaughn looks like he’ll get more of the passing work as RoJo pissed off Brady last week with drops. Over 14.5 rec. yards for Vaughn is tempting.
The defense is great, ranked 2 against the run and despite allowing some big plays last week still 4th vs the pass so they should be able to do a decent job in stopping a poor Bears offense.
Big dick Nick got the start of Mitchell Trubisky last week, cue the first loss of the season for them against a tough Colts defense. It seems like it went as expected in fairness, 26 of 42 for 249, 1 TD, 1 INT for Foles. Sounds about right, it is what it is, a minor upgrade on Mitch.
He does offer Allen Robinson the best QB he’s played under though and he seems to be appreciating that with over 100 yards in each of his last two games (including the one that Foles came in) and a TD in both of them, you’re looking at 7/2 for him to repeat that tonight although I think he’ll be shadaowed by Carlton Davis who’s done a job on the likes of Michael Thomas and kept Keenan Allen under 8 ypc last week. Outside of him I’m done with thinking Anthony Miller is going to do anything and leaning towards Darnell Mooney to be the WR2. He caught 5 of 9 for 52 yards last week and has had a role in every game so far. Ted Ginn is an after-thought at the moment as well without any real downfield passing.
Jimmy Graham has somehow scored a few times for the Bears this year and caught 4 passes from Foles last week, he seems to be the main target at TE with Harris and Kmet behind him.
They lost Tarik Cohen at RB leaving them very short there and they’re the only team in the league without a rushing TD so far this season. Monty does have a receiving score though. He faces a tough task against this Bucs unit so my hopes aren’t high of that stat changing tonight. His line is around 49 from the places I’ve looked. Cordarelle Patterson will get a few touches, both carries and receptions but can’t be trusted, and they brought in Lamar Miller but I don’t think he’s ready yet.
Defensively they’re still strong though ranked 5 against the pass and 16 against the run according to DVOA. Of course it’s early in the season but that’s all we’ve got.
Every Bears game has been by 8 of fewer points so far, with the injuries to the Bucs passing corps I wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar result tonight. It’s a bad spot for the Bucs really, on the road on a short week riddled with injuries.
The Bucs are the better team though and with the line coming down you can probably get a 3 on them if you wanted to back them. I’d lean to the Bucs and the Under but I’m staying away from both tonight. The defenses are probably the stronger units on both teams here so theoretically it should be a low scoring affair.
Thursday nights so far;
- 2 home wins, 2 road wins.
- Favourites are 2-2 Straight up.
- ATS record; Underdogs 3, Favourites 1.
- Totals; Overs 3, Unders 1.
Bets for me.
- Cameron Brate anytime – 7/2 (WillHill)
- Bucs -1.5 – 3rd Quarter handicap – 11/10 (Skybet)
Good luck if you’re following.