Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Chicago Bears: 2014 Week 12 NFL Pick

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8) at Chicago Bears (4-6)

The Bears have a much tougher game next week against the Lions in Detroit in just 4 days on Thanksgiving after this game against the Buccaneers. Favorites of 6 or more (which the Bears are here) are just 46-80 ATS before being underdogs of 6 or more (the early line is 7) since 2002, while favorites are 36-58 ATS before Thursday Night Football since 2008. The Buccaneers, as bad as their record looks, have had a bunch of close games this season, especially on the road where they’ve had win in Pittsburgh and Washington and close losses in Cleveland and New Orleans. They can keep this one close too against a likely distracted Chicago team.

Speaking of the Bears being 6 point favorites, they are 4-6 and teams that finish 6-10 or worse cover the spread as 6+ point favorites about a quarter of the time historically. However, the Bears do just need to go 3-3 over their final 6 games and they’re favored in 3 of those final 6 games, which would put them at 7-9. They’ve also played a bit better than their record, moving the chains at a 76.62% rate, as opposed to 75.59% for their opponents, a differential of 1.03% that ranks 14th in the NFL. The Buccaneers, meanwhile, rank 29th, moving the chains at a 70.21% rate, as opposed to 75.81% for their opponents, a differential of -5.60%. That does suggest that this line at 6 points is more than reasonable, before you take into account the bad situation the Bears are in and how the Buccaneers have played better on the road this season than at home.

The Buccaneers are also in their 2nd straight road game, which tends to be an easier road game as teams get adjusted to the road.  Teams are 181-184 in their 2nd of two road games since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 0.10 points per game, as opposed to 254-364 in their 1st of one road game since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 3.28 points per game. Teams tend to adjust to the road in their 2nd of two road games. However, the Bengals are coming off of a big upset win in New Orleans last week as touchdown underdogs and teams are 39-47 ATS since 1989 as road underdogs off of a road win as underdogs of 7 or more. They could be overconfident here after that, which would nullify any advantage they get from being in their 2nd straight road game.

However, I still think the Buccaneers can have another solid showing on the road and keeping it close against a distracted Bears team. The only reason this isn’t a higher confidence pick is because the Buccaneers have a fairly tough game next week when they host the Bengals. Teams are 57-87 ATS since 2012 before being home underdogs of 3 or more (the early line is Cincinnati -3.5). However, I still think there’s enough to be somewhat confident in the Buccaneers.

Chicago Bears 24 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23

Pick against the spread: Tampa Bay +6

Confidence: Medium

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