Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:00 PM EST
CHICAGO +3½ -108 over Tampa Bay
8:20 PM EST. This is the Thursday night game and we’re happy to write that finally, both teams have won a game before playing. The 3-1 Buccaneers are on a three-game winning streak and their passing game is heating up. The 3-1 Bears come off their first loss and their offense is slowing down. So, we ask you, Whose stock is up and whose is down?
The Buccaneers won by a touchdown last week and scored a season-high 38 points. Tom Brady had his best passing performance even without Chris Godwin and the rushing offense had their most productive day even without Leonard Fournette, LeSean McCoy or Kenjon Barner. Brady passed for 369 yards and five touchdowns. The most recent game has the most market influence and in that regard, Tom Brady and the Bucs have great market appeal right now.
By contrast, if you watched the Bears last week at home to Indy, it is nearly impossible to bet them today. The only way one can bet Chicago today is if one didn’t watch them play last week. It was a horror show to watch but in case you missed it, allow us to break it down:
11 points scored at home.
28 yards rushing for the entire game.
4 for 14 on third down attempts.
Longest run was six yards
The Bears took too many penalties and they also had a punt blocked very early in the 1st quarter that set the tone for what was to come. The Bears lost one game but to a fickle market, it had to be scarred by such a pathetic performance. The game was more like a red flag than a one-score loss. Prior to losing, the market and media were correct in assessing that the Bears were lucky to be 3-0, that it was all smoke and mirrors. The Bears stock was low for a 3-0 team going into last week’s game and it dropped significantly after not being able to move five yards in a day and age when home teams are routinely putting up 30 or more.
Let’s not forget or ignore that Tampa was down 24-7 to San Diego the Chargers on Sunday. If you missed that game or missed the end of the first half, we’ll bring you up to speed. The Chargers led 24-7 with 47 seconds to play until halftime. Tampa had just punted, pinning Los Angeles at its own 9-yard line. The Bucs had just one time out remaining so they cannot stop the clock when the Chargers elect to take a knee. Except for one thing. The Chargers chose not to take a knee. Instead, Chargers coach Anthony Lynn decides running a play is the better option. Adding to this brilliance, he figures that handing it off to rookie RB Joshua Kelley, who had a key fumble loss to the Panthers a week earlier, is the most sensible player to give the ball to. Of course, Kelley fumbled, the Bucs recovered and quickly scored a major with a few seconds remaining to halftime. This is what we often refer to as in-game variance. 10-year-olds watching football know what to do but this f**king idiot does not. The momentum swing turns out to be colossal. Instead of heading to a jubilant locker room with a 17-point lead over Tom Brady and the heavily favored Buccaneers, the same locker room suddenly feels like a funeral parlour. With this gift, Tampa would own the second half, outscoring the Chargers 24-7 en route to the victory.
For whatever reason, the Chargers have found more bizarre ways to lose than any team in the history of sports but make no mistake that Tampa was in line to get buried before that play. Prior, Tampa beat Carolina and Denver’s backup QB. In Week 1, Tampa was destroyed in New Orleans. Tampa’s defense is much worse than projected to be. Its offense is minus several key players and now the most overhyped team in the NFL is being asked to spot road points on a short week to a team that is in a foul mood, that had a horrible showing last week and that the market wants no part of.
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CHICAGO +3½ -108 (Risking 2.16 units - To Win: 2.00)