Bears Falcons Football

Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles leaves the field against the Atlanta Falcons recently in Atlanta. The Bears won 30-26.  September 2020

Every NFL Thursday, I will attempt, using the tools and stats from, to slay the sportsbooks, scribbling my favorite side, total and prop picks for the week’s Thursday night game. Some will win.

Many will lose. Fade or follow? That, of course, is up to you. Here’s where I’m stacking greenbacks on Buccaneers/Bears.

Side: Chicago +4.5 (DraftKings, -110) — A dumpster fire swirling inside the eyewall of a Category Five hurricane. That’s how disastrous Chicago’s offense was a week ago against the visiting Indianapolis Colts. Unable to move the ball consistently and fluidly down the field, freshly inserted starter Nick Foles tossed an uncomfortable number of errant passes. QB26 in adjusted yards per attempt (5.9) and QB32 in adjusted completion percentage, he, like Mitchell Trubisky and multiple Bears QBs before him, is on a fast track toward disappointment. Still, recency bias is an influential drug. The bitter taste of Foles’ downtrodden performance combined with Tom Brady’s five-TD effort against the L.A. Chargers has early bettors hammering Tampa. Over 80% of public spread tickets according to Sports Insights are on TB12.

Chuck Pagano’s defense, yielding just 6.5 yards per attempt, keeps this one close. Fade the majority. 

Total: UNDER 44 (DraftKings, -110) — Pinball games have consistently dialed up crooked numbers on the scoreboard in recent Thursday matchups. However, knowing the defensive strengths of each team, an offensive slog should be fully expected. Both squads rank inside the top-10 in fewest total yards surrendered. Throw in the fact Tampa could again be without the services of rusher Leonard Fournette and premier receiver Chris Godwin, and a 23-20 finish takes shape. 

Prop 1: David Montgomery OVER 21.5 receiving yards (DraftKings, -112) — For those unfamiliar with this balding dimwit's obsession with #MandatoryMontgomery, consider yourself officially indoctrinated. Yes, he’s mostly unreliable on the ground, but Foles’ increased reliance on the rusher as a receiver post-Tarik Cohen knee shredding says the above line is a solid value. So does the matchup. The Bucs have yielded 7.7 receptions and 64.0 receiving yards per game to RBs. If Matt Nagy applies common sense, a rarity, and exploits Tampa’s weakness in the flat early and often, the sophomore back could reach 20 yards by the end of the first quarter. 

Bonus Prop: Tom Brady UNDER 264.5 pass yards (William Hill, -110) — For the future HOFer, the avocado ice cream servings have staved off the erosive effects of Father Time. His five-TD evisceration of the Chargers last week combined with top-10 rankings in deep-ball completion percentage and play-action completion percentage proves he has plenty of petrol left in the tank. However, possibly without Godwin, it’s unlikely he smashes the total above. As detailed previously, the Bears secondary is rather unrelenting. DBs Kyle Fuller and Jaylon Johnson have allowed a combined 63.4 passer rating and 45.3 catch percentage to their assignments. Matthew Stafford is the only passer to hit the over in four games against the Monsters of the Midway. Don’t bet on Brady being the second.