November 12, 2016

NFL Football Betting: Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Bucanneers

NFL Football Betting:  Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Bucanneers&h=253&w=372&zc=1

At first glance it doesn’t seem that a matchup between a 3-5 Tampa Bay Bucs team and a 2-6 Chicago Bears team wouldn’t be particularly interesting. We think otherwise. On paper this is at very least an evenly matched game but more importantly this could be a vert strong betting proposition. It’s hard to tell what’s going on with the Tampa Bay Bucs. One week it looks like Jameis Winston is improving as a NFL quarterback only to have him look completely lost the next week. We’ll give current Tampa head coach Dirk Koetter a grade of ‘incomplete’ at this point with a 3-5 record eight games into his tenure but it’s no secret that the Bucs haven’t had a capable head coach since John Gruden nearly 10 years ago. One solid asset working the Bucs’ favor is former Boise State running back Doug Martin but he’s listed as ‘questionable’ here. Jacquizz Rodgers is almost certainly out which means that the Bucs could be down to their fifth string running back.

The Bears were written off by the public long ago but there’s a problem with that. Although the ‘squares’ have no interest in the Bears their struggles were due in large part due to injuries–particularly on defense. Recreational players have an interesting conundrum with injuries–they obsess over the ones that get reported breathlessly on ‘Sportscenter’ but ironically these are seldom significant. On the other hand, they ignore injuries to the guys in the trenches and lower profile players. It’s these injuries that ‘sharp’ players focus on an you’ll seldom here these reported on ESPN.

Chicago’s Jay Cutler certainly has his issues but in the right situation he can be dangerous. He struggles when put under pressure by a strong pass rush. Tampa Bay doesn’t have that. He’s got a good shot to shred the Bucs’ porous secondary. The Bucs have the #27 passing yards against average in the league but are even more vulnerable against elite quarterbacks. Cutler might not be in the class of Derek Carr and Matt Ryan (who have decimated the Bucs’ secondary over the past two weeks) but he’s got enough skills to do it as well. Throw in a capable coach in John Fox who’ll have the gameplan to exploit the Bucs’ liabilities and there’s every reason to think the Bears will win and cover. Bucs are on a 3-17 SU/5-15 ATS run at home.