Washington Commanders (1-4) at Chicago Bears (2-3)
This is a tough call. Normally I like home favorites in non-divisional Thursday games because teams tend to be at a disadvantage when they travel on a short week to face a relatively unfamiliar opponent, unless they happen to be the significantly better team. As a result, non-divisional home favorites cover at a 63.2% rate on Thursdays when both teams are on short rest. The Bears are favored in this game, but only by one-point and, while the visiting Commanders aren’t drastically better than the Bears, they are still the significantly better team and, as a result, I have them as 1-point favorites on my calculated line. That’s not significant line value, but it probably nullifies any extra advantage the Bears would get at home on a short week against a non-divisional opponent.
Both of these teams have struggled this season, but the Bears’ struggles have been even worse, even though they’ve managed to win one more game than Washington. In both of their wins, the Bears have lost the first down rate and yards per play battle, by 0.41% and 1.30 against the 49ers and by 1.39% and 0.08 against the Texans, winning those games as a result of much less predictive metrics than yards or first downs. In terms of schedule adjusted overall efficiency, which is based on first downs and yards, the Bears rank 30th, 2.5 points behind the 25th ranked Commanders. The Commanders also have a four point edge in my roster rankings. This is a no confidence pick because we’re only getting one point with the Commanders, but they should be slightly favored to win this game.
Washington Commanders 24 Chicago Bears 23
Pick against the spread: Washington +1