The Chicago Bears will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football in a matchup of banged up 3-1 teams. The short week could cause this one to be a little bit uglier than anticipated with all the skill position injuries, but this is still an intriguing matchup. Here’s what jumps out to me on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Editor’s Note: Buccaneers WR Mike Evans, WR Scotty Miller and RB Leonard Fournette are all active for tonight’s game vs. the Bears.
I’m only going to play this if I can get Tampa -3, and Mike Evans (ankle) is able to play. However, I figured I would offer my lean on a side, even if the conditions for me to bet the game don’t wind up playing out. The Bears are a fake 3-1 in my mind, and have had a ton of difficulty moving the ball with Nick Foles coming in at QB. This offense managed just 11 points at home against the Colts on Sunday and now faces a Buccaneers defense that’s actually playing very well. Even with the lack of weapons at the skill positions for Tampa, I think the Bucs have edges on both sides of the ball that should prevail.
This one I’m probably looking at playing if Evans were to be ruled out. It would level the playing field a bit and really limit the number of players in this game that can make a big play downfield. The Bears are 2-2 to the over this season, but went way under in Foles’ first start, and now he comes back on a short week against another good defense. The Bucs had to win in a shootout after the way they started last week in a game that featured a lot of sloppy turnovers by both teams. This game should set up as much more of a grinder by both sides. There’s a realistic chance the Bucs play without four of their top-five pass-catchers, and Leonard Fournette. Not ideal on the road on a short week.
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Two things factor into making this number too low — Nick Foles in at QB, and Tarik Cohen shut down for the season. Cohen was the pass-catching back, and now more of those duties fall to Monty. On top of that, Mitch Trubisky isn’t back there to run the ball anymore, so Foles will check down in those situations. It led to Montgomery finishing with three receptions for 30 yards last week, and I figure we should see a similar line this time around.
You can make the argument that without Chris Godwin, Justin Watson and O.J. Howard, you can play this over anyway, but it becomes much stronger if Evans is ruled out. No need to overthink this one, even against a solid Bears defense, as Brady only has so many places he can throw the ball. Even if Evans does play, he could be limited, or even struggle to play through an ankle injury — not ideal for a WR. Miller’s been heavily involved in this offense this season, going for 73 yards against the Saints, 83 against the Broncos and then 83 again versus the Chargers. This is a pretty modest number for an over.
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