The Chicago Bears upset the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season, but that game was in the Windy City. When the teams meet Sunday in Tampa, the Bucs are sizable favorites on the NFL odds.
How to Bet Bears at Bucs NFL Odds & TV Info
- When: Sunday, 4:25 PM ET
- Where: Raymond James Stadium
- TV: CBS
- Radio: http://www.siriusxm.com/nfl
- Stream Option: NFLSUNDAYTICKET.TV
- Opening NFL Lines: Bucs -12.5 (total 47)
The Bears upset the Bucs 20-19 last year on a Thursday night at Soldier Field. Cairo Santos kicked a 38-yard field goal with 1:17 remaining. DeAndre Houston-Carson broke up Tom Brady’s fourth-down pass with 33 seconds left after Santos kicked the go-ahead field goal. Brady apparently wasn’t aware it was fourth down, thinking it was third. He threw for 253 yards and one touchdown. Khalil Mack had two sacks for Chicago. Nick Foles was the QB that night and played pretty well but won’t see the field Sunday. Chicago owns a 40-20 edge in the series overall.
Why Bet on Chicago?
Chicago (3-3) lost 24-14 at home last week to Green Bay. The Bears’ offense went two-plus quarters between scoring drives against the Packers. The unit is ranked 30th in the NFL in points per game (16.3) and last in yards per game (246.2).
The key to improvement on offense is developing consistency. On the Bears’ six other possessions against the Packers excluding their two touchdown drives, they failed to score or even advance inside Green Bay’s 30-yard line.
Justin Fields completed 16-of-27 passes for 174 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He rushed six times for 43 yards, his best rushing output of the season. He’s averaging just 140.5 passing yards per game as a starter with a 2:2 TD:INT mark.
“That’s one big difference I’m starting to find out,” said Fields, “is you’ve got to put drives together rather than just have a good play here, have a good play there. If you have a bad play in college, it’s easy to get that yardage you lost the next play, where in the NFL, it’s not as easy.”
Rookie running back Khalil Herbert rushed 19 times for 97 yards and one touchdown. With David Montgomery (knee) on I.R. and Damien Williams out after a positive COVID test, Herbert got the start and handled all 19 backfield carries, catching two passes for 15 yards. Montgomery remains out and Williams is up in the air this week.
Chicago’s defense enters the game tied for the league lead with 21 sacks, while Tampa Bay’s offense has allowed just nine sacks, tied for fifth-fewest in the NFL. One of the Bears’ best defenders, though, is in question as he landed on the COVID list early this week – still a shot he can play. If Quinn is asymptomatic and is vaccinated, he would be able to return once he produces two negative tests 24 hours apart. Quinn was a free-agent bust last year but already has 5.5 sacks (9th in the NFL) and a forced fumble.
Why Bet on Tampa Bay?
The Bucs (5-1), who began play as an expansion franchise in 1976, have matched the best start in team history. They also began 5-1 in 2005, 2002, 1997 and 1979. Tampa Bay has never opened a season 6-1. The Buccaneers have a chance to improve their 2021 record at home to 4-0, an important goal given that they won’t play another game on their own turf for almost a month.
Tampa won at Philadelphia 28-22 last Thursday. Tom Brady completed 34-of-42 passes for 297 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Brady has the second-most passing yards (2,064) and touchdown passes (17) of his career through six games, topped only by his 2,163 passing yards in 2011 and his 21 touchdown passes in his MVP season of 2007. His 2,064 passing yards this season rank No. 1 in the league.
Tampa Bay’s blockers have done a very good job of protecting Brady (and Brady’s reliance on quick-release passes has helped, too), ranking fourth in the NFL with a sacks allowed per pass rate of just 1.11%.
Leonard Fournette rushed 22 times for 81 yards and two touchdowns, adding six receptions for 46 additional yards. Both the carries and receptions were new season highs, while the two-score effort was his first of 2021. Fournette has seized control of the Bucs’ backfield away from Ronald Jones on early downs and made it difficult for Giovani Bernard to emerge in passing situations.
Tampa Bay has played the past few games without future Hall of Fame tight end Rob Gronkowski, and he’s not playing here. OJ Howard has been a bigger part of the offense with Gronk out. Receiver Antonio Brown, who had a TD catch vs. Philly, is in question for this one with a sprained ankle.
Also in question are inside linebacker Lavonte David (high-ankle sprain), cornerback Richard Sherman (hamstring) and outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder/hand). Starting cornerbacks Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting are on injured reserve for a still-undetermined amount of time and cornerback Jamel Dean missed a game with a knee injury of his own. Safety Antoine Winfield, Jr. has missed the last two contests due to a concussion but is likely to return this week.
- Bears are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games as an underdog.
- Bears are 2-5 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
- Bears are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games as a road underdog.
- Buccaneers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games as a favorite.
- Buccaneers are 4-14-1 ATS in their last 19 games in October.
Expert Prediction: Bucs 24, Bears 14
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