Game: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1) at Chicago Bears (3-1)
Location: Soldier Field
Time: Thursday, at 8:20 p.m. ET
Television: FOX, NFLN, Amazon
|Team||Point Spread||Moneyline||Over/ Under||Team Total|
|Buccaneers||-6||-240||44 ½||24 ½|
The Buccaneers and Bears are each 3-1, but they appear to be trending in different directions. Tampa Bay began the season with a 34-23 loss in New Orleans and has won three straight since. Chicago started out 3-0, surviving one close game after another while playing like a team enchanted.
The Bears’ magic fizzled during Week 4, their winning streak snapped in a stifling 19-11 home loss to Indianapolis. Chicago flirted with another potential miracle with an onside kick attempt, but the favored Colts recovered to seal the deal. The Bears find themselves in the role of home dog once again vs the visiting Buccaneers on Thursday night.
The most recent NFL odds on our sportsbook list the Bucs as six-point favorites, with an over/under of 44½ total points. Tampa Bay (-115) is favored to win the NFC South, having leapfrogged New Orleans (Even Money). Meanwhile, Chicago’s (+250) odds to win the division up North are second only to the mighty Green Bay Packers (-275).
Current odds to win the conference catalog the Buccaneers (+450) well ahead of the Bears (+2200) in the NFC race. Super Bowl Odds are similarly disparaging, with Tampa Bay’s moneyline coming in at +1100, vs +4500 for Chicago. Both of these NFC powers would love to notch a win on Thursday, inching themselves closer to a title shot.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
|Team||Record||ATS||ATS Home||ATS Away||ATS Fave||O/U|
Next game: Vs Packers
The Chargers gave the Buccaneers a real run for the money in Week 4. Los Angeles and Tampa Bay exchanged body blows all game long, with the Bucs engineering a fourth-quarter comeback to win. All of the virtual fans in attendance certainly got their money’s worth, in an exciting and entertaining see-saw battle.
Chargers’ rookie Justin Herbert hung tight with Tom Brady, completing 20-of-25 passes for 290 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. However, Brady the G.O.A.T. was dialed in at Raymond James Stadium. Brady completed 30-of-46 passes for 369 yards, throwing a touchdown pass to five different receivers.
The Buccaneers were down 31-28 when the fourth frame began, and Brady asked the Chargers’ D to hold his beer. With 11:05 to play, Brady hit rookie RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn with a quick pass, which Vaughn muscled into the end zone. Vaughn’s TD was the first of his NFL career and was Brady’s fifth of the day.
.@TomBrady‘s 5th TD pass of the day and the @Buccaneers re-take the lead! #GoBucs
📺: #LACvsTB on CBS
📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app: https://t.co/wvEEn0SFTV pic.twitter.com/P2o6uTmZ9D
— NFL (@NFL) October 4, 2020
The scoring strike reclaimed the lead for the Bucs once and for all. Tampa Bay tacked on three more with 2:40 left on the clock, a Ryan Succop FG doing the damage. Buccaneers’ CB Carlton Davis then picked off Herbert, allowing Tampa to grind down the clock and secure the victory.
|Team||Record||ATS||ATS Home||ATS Away||ATS Dog||O/U|
Next game: At Panthers
The Bears had a difficult time getting anything going vs the Colts. The Indy D held a chokehold on Chicago for most of the game. The Bears managed 28 total rushing yards and scored a scanty three points through the first three quarters.
Indianapolis took a 19-3 lead, with 3:47 left. The 2020 Bears never say die, so QB Nick Foles worked some late-game magic. Foles drove Chicago down the field with precision, and the Bears finally broke through with a touchdown to Allen Robinson.
Robinson made several spectacular catches on the drive, which culminated with AR15’s jump-ball scoring snag. The Bears’ star wideout finished with seven catches for 101 yards and the acrobatic fourth-quarter touchdown. Down 10 with only 1:35 left on the clock, Chicago went for a 2-point conversion, and RB David Montgomery scored.
Indianapolis prepared to receive Chicago’s onside kick attempt, and they covered the ball up to shatter the Bears’ comeback dreams. The miracle juice was uncorked too late in the game, and Chicago suffered its first loss.
Betting on the Game
Both teams are playing on short rest, with strong defenses squaring off we’re looking at a low-scoring affair. Several key offensive weapons are “in the shop” for Tampa Bay, with RBs Leonard Fournette, LeSean McCoy, and Kenjon Barner all questionable to play. WR Chris Goodwin is doubtful, and TE O.J. Howard is out.
Points will be coming at a premium. The Bears are an impressive 11-4-1 ATS in their last 16 games as underdogs at home. Chicago +6 looks appealing.
Although it’s expected for this contest to be a tight, low-scoring trench battle, we must recognize Brady’s pedigree. Brady has found his 2020 groove, and that doesn’t bode well for the rest of the league. It’s hard to imagine Tampa Bay losing.
Rock-solid defenses battle in Soldier Field and Tampa’s offensive injuries won’t help the points total. Besides that, Chicago’s offense has been relatively listless. My gut instinct tells me that the Buccaneers will swashbuckle their way out of Chicago, narrowly escaping with a victory. Buccaneers 23, Bears 20.