Chicago Bears (3-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-1)
The Buccaneers entered the season as one of the top Super Bowl favorites, bringing back all 22 starters from last season’s Super Bowl winning team, and they have gotten off to a 5-1 start thus far, but they’ve gone 3-0 in one score games, so they’ve gotten somewhat lucky to be where they are record wise. They also lost five regular season games last season before getting hot in the post-season and they are also dealing with something that they really didn’t last season, which is a significant amount of injuries, a list that has been growing by the week. In total, the Buccaneers will be without top cornerback Carlton Davis, fellow starting cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, top off ball linebacker Lavonte David, starting edge defender Jason Pierre-Paul, stud wide receiver Antonio Brown, and talented starting tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Despite that, the Buccaneers are still favored by 11.5 points in this matchup against the Bears. The Bears looked like one of the worst teams in the league to start the season, but they’ve been better in recent weeks, as their defense has gotten healthier, their offense is in marginally better hands with promising rookie Justin Fields under center rather than low upside veteran Andy Dalton, and their special teams has played great in recent weeks. The Buccaneers should still win this game relatively easily, but my calculated line has the Buccaneers favored by 10, suggesting we’re getting some value with the underdog at +11.5. This isn’t a bettable game, but the Bears are the better side for pick ‘em purposes.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27 Chicago Bears 17
Pick against the spread: Chicago +11.5