Oakland Raiders (2-2) vs. Chicago Bears (3-1) in London
Ordinarily, it’s smart to take the favorite in these international games. Favorites are 23-10 ATS all-time in international games and it makes sense that better teams would be better prepared for an unusual situation like this. However, I think this line is too high at Chicago -5. The Bears are 3-1, but they aren’t playing as well as they did last year, ranking just 21st in first down rate differential at -1.52%, despite playing a pair of winless teams in the Broncos and Redskins.
The Bears’ defense has played well, ranking 6th in first down rate allowed, but not as well as last year, when they finished first by a wide margin, while their offense has really struggled, ranking 29th in first down rate. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky seems to have taken a step back in his third year in the league, but his absence with a shoulder injury could still hurt this team, as now they have to turn to journeyman backup Chase Daniel, who can’t challenge defenses with his mobility or his arm downfield.
The Raiders haven’t been great this year, but they’ve been a little better than I expected and I only have them calculated as 3-point underdogs in that game. That number would drop even further if stud defensive linemen Akiem Hicks were unable to play for the second straight week due to injury, which looks like a real possibility. I’m leaving this as a low confidence pick for now, but I may decide to bet the Raiders on Sunday morning if Hicks is ruled out.
Chicago Bears 20 Oakland Raiders 17
Pick against the spread: Oakland +5