Chicago Bears (3-1) at Miami Dolphins (3-2)
The Dolphins have really fallen back to earth after a surprising 3-0 start. After winning those first 3 games by a combined 23 points against a relatively easy group of teams, the Dolphins have lost their last 2 by a combined 41 points on the road against a pair of tough teams in the Patriots and Bengals. They’ve suffered a few injuries, with cornerback Bobby McCain and defensive end Cameron Wake missing last week’s game and likely out again this week, and on paper they are one of the least talented teams in the league right now without those two key defenders. The Dolphins return home this week, but they have another tough opponent on deck, with the Chicago Bears coming to town.
Before their week 5 bye, the Bears had a breakout performance in a 48-10 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers aren’t exactly the toughest of opponents, but the Bears have been impressive beyond just that one game. They are 3-1, rank 2nd in first down rate differential at +7.59%, 3rd in point differential at +46, and could easily be 4-0 if they didn’t blow a big second half lead in Green Bay in an eventual 1-point loss. Mitch Trubisky remains a question mark under center, despite shredding an awful Tampa Bay secondary for 6 touchdowns, but outside of the quarterback position this is arguably the most talented team in the league. Even with Trubisky a question mark, this is arguably a top-5 team right now, thanks to the most talented defense in the league.
We’re getting good line value with the Bears as just 3.5 point road favorites, as I have this line calculated at -6.5, but the Bears are also in a conflicting spot this week, which makes them a less confident bet. While they are coming off of a bye, and road favorites of 3.5+ are 16-4 ATS since 2010 after a bye, they also have to turn around and face the Patriots in a week, a game in which they will likely be home underdogs. Road favorites are just 25-52 ATS before being home underdogs since 2010, so this could easily be a trap game for the Bears, even off of a bye. They’re the pick for pick ‘em purposes, but I’d need this line to go down to 3 to put any money on Chicago.
Update: Ryan Tannehill was surprisingly ruled out Sunday morning, after re-aggravating a throwing shoulder injury during Friday’s practice. That’s obviously a blow to the Dolphins, who now have to turn to backup Brock Osweiler, but the line has compensated appropriately, moving from 3.5 to 7, so this remains a low confidence pick.
Chicago Bears 23 Miami Dolphins 10
Pick against the spread: Chicago -7