- The Bears are 4-12 ATS in their last 16 games.
- Tampa Bay has hit the OVER in 15 of their last 18 games.
- Chicago is 1-6 ATS in their last seven October games.
Turns out Tom Brady does have a little left in the tank. The veteran quarterback rallied the Buccaneers back from a 24-7 first-half deficit, tossed five touchdowns and earned the 38-31 win in regulation. Tampa Bay did fall short of covering the -7.5 hook to fall to 2-2 against the spread, but improved to 3-1 overall.
Nick Foles rallied back his Bears squad in relief of Mitch Trubisky back in Week 3, but could barely muster a touchdown against a pesky Colts defense in Chicago’s 19-11 Week 4 loss to Indy. Foles and the anemic Bears offense failed to even cover the +3.5 at home to drop Chicago to 3-1 SU and 2-2 ATS this season.
|Week 5: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Chicago Bears Game Info|
|Date: October 8, 2020, 8:20 p.m. ET|
|Stadium: Solider Field|
|TV Coverage: FOX|
|Opening Odds: Buccaneers -6 | O/U 44.5|
|How to Bet: Best Online Sportsbook Reviews|
Tampa Bay opened as 6-point road favorites, but that shrunk to Buccaneers -5.5 at most online books as of Monday morning. The Bears moneyline opened at +140, but is now flirting with 2-to-1. Compared to the high totals around the league through four weeks, the OVER/UNDER opened at a modest 44.5 and remains steady at most books. The total has gone OVER in 15 of Tampa Bay’s last 18 games.
The UNDER has hit in six of Chicago’s last seven HOME games, while the OVER has hit in 12 consecutive Buccaneers ROAD games.
Tampa Bay News and Notes
I think it’s worth highlighting the Chargers’ first and third offensive drives – engineered by a true rookie quarterback – in their loss to the Buccs:
- Four plays, 75 yards, touchdown
- 13 plays, 97 yards, touchdown
So, if we’re being honest, it’s hard to tell if the Buccaneers are progressing or regressing after four weeks of play. However, if you ask their head coach, the comeback win over the Chargers was a sign of growth.
“We knew we had played poorly. It was just a show of character. I can honestly say that if this had been last year, we would have gotten beat by 20,” head coach Bruce Arians said.
While this may be true, both Tom Brady and the Buccaneers defense require more evaluation.
The veteran quarterback just lost his top tight end, O.J. Howard, to an Achilles injury, star receiver Chris Godwin (hamstring) is on the mend again, Leonard Fournette (ankle) was inactive against the Chargers, and though the five-touchdown performance against the Chargers is worthy of praise, the defense’s inability to slow a rookie quarterback is a sign of work-to-be-done. The sieves in pass coverage are also not something addressed and fixed on a short week. Advantage Nick Foles.
Third-year running back Ronald Jones rushed 20 times for a career-high 111 yards in the win over the Chargers. Chicago’s rush defense ranks 15th against the run, which is likely why we’ll see more of Jones Thursday night. More runs equate to a running clock and provides clarity behind the low point total of 44.5. You grind out games at Soldier Field.
With Godwin sidelined, keep an eye out for second-year receiver Scotty Miller who posted his second consecutive 83-yard performance Sunday. He’s caught three passes of 37-or-more yards this season and is building a better rapport with Brady since a forgettable Week 2.
Chicago News and Notes
It’s hard enough to win in the NFL, but when a team shoots itself in the foot with undisciplined mistakes, the odds of winning dip dramatically. Take for instance the Bears’ eight penalties for 103 yards in lost field position – a football field and change *poof* gone. Now combine that with a continued inability to convert third downs and it shouldn’t come as a shock that Chicago lost on its home turf to the Colts. Through four games, granted with Mitch Trubisky leading the offense the majority of the snaps, the Bears have converted just 33.9% of their third downs, ranked 31st. Against Indy, Foles’ and the offense converted 4-of-14 or 28.5 percent.
“There was really never a rhythm in the game,” head coach Matt Nagy said.
To be fair, the Bears offense did look out of sync, in part, due to Tarik Cohen’s absence. The speedy running back will miss the rest of the season due to an ACL tear suffered during the win over the Falcons. David Montgomery managed just 2.7 yards per carry on 10 attempts against the Colts and now faces a Buccaneers rush defense holding opposing backs to 64.2 yards per game, second-best.
On the injury front, two safeties, Deon Bush and Sherick McManis, are questionable for Thursday night with hamstring injuries. Bush left Sunday’s game, while McManis was inactive against the Colts.
Betting Pick: Bears +5.5
If a true rookie quarterback can keep pace with Tom Brady on his home turf, Nick Foles can carve up the Buccaneers secondary, too. Foles’ performance against the Colts says more about Indianapolis as a defensive threat than it does about Foles being washed up or primed for a trip back to the bench. Brady struggles with pressure in his face. So, you’ll know Khalil Mack n’ Co. will dial up the blitz and make things shaky for Brady Thursday night.