Chicago Bears (1-3) at Indianapolis Colts (1-3)
The Colts played in London last week, losing 30-27 to the previously winless Jaguars. The Jaguars have a bye this week, but the Colts are the first team in NFL history to play a game the week after playing an overseas game. I don’t know if this was their decision or the league’s decision, but they don’t go on bye until week 10. That’s gotta hurt them this week. That’s just a ton of traveling, going from Indianapolis to London and back. There’s a reason teams normally go on bye week after going overseas.
Making matters worse, the Colts have to turn around and go to Houston next week for a huge divisional rivalry with a team currently in first place, next week on Sunday Night Football. The Bears, meanwhile, host the Jaguars next week, which is not nearly the same distraction. With an easy game on deck, they should be completely focused for an opponent who might not be. That’s historically been the case, as underdogs are 82-57 ATS since 2012 before being favorites when their opponent will next be underdogs.
That being said, this isn’t a big play for a couple reasons. The first is how many players the Bears are still missing with injury. Middle linebacker Danny Trevathan is expected to return after missing the last few games with a thumb injury, which is a big re-addition, but the Bears are still missing outside linebackers Pernell McPhee and LaMarr Houston, top cornerback Kyle Fuller, and top defensive lineman Eddie Goldman for an extended period of time. Joining them on the sidelines this week are this year’s first round pick Leonard Floyd, which leaves them very thin at outside linebacker, and last year’s first round pick Kevin White, their #2 wide receiver. Quarterback Jay Cutler also remains out, but experienced backup Brian Hoyer has played pretty well in 2 spot starts, to the point where there are rumors he might keep the job from Cutler permanently.
The Colts, meanwhile, are much healthier than they were earlier this season, with defensive Henry Anderson and cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Patrick Robinson back from injury. Those are three of their best defensive players. The Colts still don’t have a ton of talent around the quarterback position on either side of the ball, but we’re not really getting much line value with the Bears at +4.5, even though 3 in 10 games are decided by 4 points or fewer. The second reason I’m not confident in the Bears is because they could be a little overconfident and overvalued off of last week’s home upset victory over divisional rival Detroit, as teams are 52-75 ATS since 2012 off of a home upset win. I can’t saw for sure they’ll be overconfident, but we did lose a lot of value with the Bears in the past week, as this line was at 6.5 on the early line last week. The Bears are the play, but it’s a low confidence pick unless the line happens to creep back up to 6.
Indianapolis Colts 27 Chicago Bears 24
Pick against the spread: Chicago +4.5