Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1) at Chicago Bears (3-1)
I’ve been on the Buccaneers in a big way for the past three weeks, because I’ve felt their defense was being very underrated, and they’ve covered in all three instances, but unfortunately it seems the line has caught up, as the Buccaneers have gone from being 3-point favorites in this game in Chicago on the early line last week to 5.5-point favorites this week. That takes away all line value, as that is my exact calculated line. I’m still taking the Buccaneers, but it’s purely because it’s a short week and the better team tends to be at even more of an advantage on a short week.
Non-divisional favorites of a field goal or more typically cover at about a 61.6% rate on Thursday nights, and, though that drops to 55.6% for road favorites, I wonder how much that will matter without normal crowds. We haven’t seen a big road favorite on Thursday yet, so there are no data points to look at, but it makes sense that the Buccaneers would have a better chance than the typical Thursday road favorites of covering. That’s not enough to bet on the Buccaneers and this would likely be a no confidence pick if this was a normal week, but on a short week, I think it’s more likely we get a strong performance from the Buccaneers than the Bears, so I’d recommend them for pick ‘em purposes.
Update: This line has surprisingly dropped to 3.5 in most places, due to heavy sharp action. I don’t know why the sharps are on the Bears and 4 and 5 aren’t key numbers, but I may consider betting Tampa Bay, especially if this line goes all the way down to 3. Stay tuned.
Update #2: While we’re waiting for this line to hopefully drop to 3, I want to lock in Minnesota +7 for this weekend. I’ll still have a full writeup this weekend as normal, but I was planning on being on the Vikings heavily if Jamal Adams doesn’t play for the Seahawks and he was ruled out early. I don’t want to risk that line dropping from a touchdown, so I’m locking it in now.
Final Update: I’ve been going back and forth on this one, but I think a bet is justified. With the Buccaneers having Leonard Fournette surprisingly active and Mike Evans confirmed active despite missing practice all week on a short week, I have this line calculated at Tampa Bay -6 and they are in a good spot as well. As much as I’d much rather this line be 3, the Buccaneers should win by at least 6-7 points.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24 Chicago Bears 17
Pick against the spread: Tampa Bay -3.5