Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:55 AM
TNF - Cowboys at Bears
Both these teams played on Thanksgiving with mixed results. Starting with the Cowboys (6-6 SU, 7-5 ATS), it was an embarrassing Turkey Day home loss to the upstart Bills in a 26-15 setback as 6 ½-point favorites. Dallas jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead on a Dak Prescott touchdown strike to tight end Jason Witten, but the Cowboys wouldn’t score again until four minutes remaining in regulation.
In between, the Bills ran off 26 consecutive points, as Dallas turned the ball over twice. Prescott ended the day with 355 yards passing, but it was the second time this season that the Dallas quarterback posted gaudy numbers in a home blowout loss (463 yards against Packers). Running back Ezekiel Elliott carried the ball only 12 times, tied for his fewest all season, but racked up 71 yards which came to an average of 5.9 yards an attempt.
The Bears (6-6 SU, 3-9 ATS) erased a 17-7 deficit at rival Detroit last Thursday to knock off the Lions, 24-20. Chicago closed as a 5 ½-point road favorite, marking its seventh ATS loss in the past eight games, but the Bears are back at .500 since owning a 3-3 record in Week 7. Bears’ quarterback Mitchell Trubisky put together his best game of the season by throwing for 338 yards and three touchdowns, including the go-ahead score to David Montgomery with 2:17 remaining in regulation.
In spite of Chicago’s modest two-game winning streak, the Bears remain three games behind the Packers for the top spot in the NFC North and two games back of the Vikings for the second NFC Wild Card position. The 24 points scored at Detroit marked the most posted by the Bears since putting up 25 in a home loss to New Orleans back in Week 7. The defense allowed at least 20 points for the first time in four games, ending a five-game streak to the ‘over.’
YOU DON’T SCORE UNTIL YOU SCORE
The Cowboys’ formula for winning this season has been very simple. When Dallas scores 31 points or more, it has a perfect 6-0 mark. On the flip side, Jason Garrett’s squad has compiled an ugly 0-6 record when being held to 30 points or less. The last two weeks have been especially forgettable offensively as Dallas combined for only 24 points against a pair of solid defenses in New England and Buffalo. The last time the Cowboys won a game when scoring fewer than 30 points was their Wild Card victory over the Seahawks this past January, 24-22.
PROTECT THIS HOUSE
The Bears have played six games at Soldier Field this season and have allowed more than 17 points only once, which came in a Week 7 defeat at New Orleans when they yielded 36 points. Chicago has given up 10, 6, 17, 13, and 14 in the other five home contests, while opponents have posted more than 20 points only once in the past 10 games at Soldier Field, which includes the 16-15 playoff loss to Philadelphia. The ‘under’ has cashed in eight of the last 10 home contests for Chicago, as the Bears have scored at least 21 points only once in six home games in 2019.
For only the third time this season, the Bears are listed in the underdog role. The first two times didn’t work out well for Chicago by losing at Philadelphia, 22-14 in Week 9 and dropping a 17-7 decision to the Rams in Week 11. The last time the Bears closed as an underdog at Soldier Field came last December in a 15-6 win over Los Angeles when they received three points. ‘Dogs have posted a solid 9-4 ATS record on Thursday night action this season, while only two home underdogs have won and covered on Thursdays (Jaguars – Week 3 and Raiders – Week 10).
These NFC squads last met in 2016 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington as the Cowboys took care of the Bears, 31-17 as 6 ½-point favorites. Dallas is making its first trip to the Windy City since 2014 (also a Thursday night game) when the Cowboys held off a furious Bears’ rally in a 41-28 victory as four-point favorites. The Cowboys built a commanding 35-7 lead before Chicago scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to make the final score look better.
Oddsmakers sent out an opening total of 44 and the number is listed at 42 ½ as of Wednesday evening.
Chris David of VegasInsider.com offered up his thoughts on this week’s number.
He said, “This game could be looked at as a bit of a head-scratcher based on the total results for both clubs. The Cowboys have watched the ‘over’ go 7-5 this season and that includes a 4-2 mark on the road. Meanwhile, the Bears have been a great ‘under’ bet at 8-4 and only one of six games played at Soldier Field went ‘over’ this season and that outcome was helped with a big second-half scoring surge when the Saints visited back in Week 7.”
“Chicago is the perfect mold of an ‘under’ team, solid defense and inconsistent offense and that trend has been golden for bettors riding the low side -- especially at home too. The ‘under’ is on an 8-1 run in the last nine home games for the Bears and only one team scored more than 17 points, which came in the aforementioned effort against New Orleans (36-25).”
While those seasonal trends and tendencies could have many bettors placing ‘under’ wagers on Thursday, David points out a total angle that’s correlated to Dallas.
He explained, “The drama always follows Dallas in the NFL and this season is no different. After last week’s loss on Thanksgiving to Buffalo, it’s hard to have any confidence in the Cowboys but if you believe they’re going to right the ship then you would a better offensive effort. Dallas sits at 6-5 on the season and it has averaged 34.3 in the six wins and the ‘over’ has gone 4-2 in those games. If you go back even further, the Cowboys have scored 20-plus points in 16 of their last 17 wins. Bottom line, the Cowboys win when they score. The Dallas team total is hovering between 22 and 23 for Thursday and since I believe the ‘Boys rebound, my lean would be to the Cowboys Team Total Over.”
VegasInsider.com NFL expert Joe Nelson checks in to figure out what has gone wrong with the Cowboys, “Dallas has out-gained 11 of 12 foes this season with the only deficit just -9 at New Orleans. Turnovers can’t account for all the problems at just -4 in turnover margin on the season though the Dallas defense has forced zero turnovers in the past four games for a -5 run in that 1-3 stretch. Chicago is +3 in turnovers on the season, but an offense with a rushing identity has been out-gained on the ground in seven of the past eight games even with a run defense that has allowed 97 yards per game on 3.7 yards per carry this season.”
PLAYER PROPS – According to Westgate Superbook
Total Gross Passing Yards – Dak Prescott (DAL)
Over 276 ½ (-110)
Under 276 ½ (-110)
Total Touchdown Passes – Dak Prescott (DAL)
Over 1 ½ (-120)
Under 1 ½ (Even)
Will Dak Prescott (DAL) throw an interception?
Total Rushing Yards – Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)
Over 81 ½ (-110)
Under 81 ½ (-110)
Will Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) score a touchdown?
Total Completions – Mitchell Trubisky (CHI)
Over 22 ½ (-110)
Under 22 ½ (-110)
Total Rushing Yards – David Montgomery (CHI)
Over 55 ½ (-110)
Under 55 ½ (-110)
Total Receiving Yards – Anthony Miller (CHI)
Over 53 ½ (-110)
Under 53 ½ (-110)
This line has stayed steady this week with the Cowboys as three-point road favorites. The total hasn’t seen much movement as it sits at 43 ½ at most books.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at [email protected]
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.