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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:49 PM

Buccaneers vs. Bears Week 5 Predictions, Odds, Preview


Buccaneers vs. Bears Video Picks


Week 5 hasn't even begun yet and all the news surrounding the NFL this week concerns the positive tests that are popping up more often with numerous teams across the league.

It will be interesting to see how the league deals with these situations in terms of the big picture, getting extra bye weeks later on or even the possibility of forfeitures.

But for now we've got to at least operate like these games will be kicked off per the schedule that's currently out there.

Betting Resources

Buccaneers-Bears Betting Odds

For Week 5, it's the Buccaneers and Bears who get the week started with their TNF contest, as it's Tampa Bay who is the first team this year that enters a TNF contest coming off a straight up win.

So far that hasn't seemed to matter a whole lot to the market in thinking the Bucs will extend their winning streak, as an opening line of Tampa Bay -6 has been bet down day by day to the current number of Tampa -3.5.

The injuries the Bucs are dealing with have a lot to do with that as many of their pass catchers are officially listed as questionable now, but are those losses really worth about three points to the line?

Line Movements

  • Spread: Tampa Bay -3.5
  • Money-Line: Tampa Bay -180, Chicago +160
  • Total: 44.5
  • Odds Subject to Change

    2020 Betting Stats

    (Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under - O/U)

    Tampa Bay

    • Overall: 3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS, 3-1 O/U
    • Road: 1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS, 1-1 O/U
    • Offense PPG: 30.0 (Rank 8)
    • Defense PPG: 23.0 (Rank T-8)

    Chicago

    • Overall: 3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS, 2-2 O/U
    • Home: 1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS, 0-2 O/U
    • Offense PPG: 21.3 (Rank 25)
    • Defense PPG: 20.3 (Rank 7)

    Over vs. Under
    Handicapping the Total

    The last time quarterbacks Tom Brady and Nick Foles shared a football field together was Super Bowl LII, where it was Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles who got the better of New England and broke up what could have eventually been a three-peat for New England. That Super Bowl finished with a 41-33 score, and I wouldn't expect anywhere near that many points in this contest.

    The two QB's are with new teams now, but Foles really struggled in his first start with the Bears, and Brady can't be too enthused about the injury situation for his pass catchers, as he could end up going out there with numerous guys he's barely worked with.

    Everyone knows Brady is as meticulous as it gets in this game, he loves the timing routes, and when you get just a couple of days to practice with new faces - or familiar faces with next to no practice time this week because of injury treatments being done – the success rate of putting up big offensive numbers on a short week drastically goes down.

    That's part of the thinking behind all the Bears support on the point spread pushing that number down, but it hasn't quite yet hit the totals market, largely because the big picture in the NFL so far this year with totals is that it's impossible to bet 'unders' these days with the way scoring is up and 'overs' are cashing at an absurd clip.

    However, eventually these O/U results should start to regress back to the mean, as totals continue to climb each week and market sentiment continues to disregard the 'under' as a viable option. And let's not forget about the lack of offensive penalties we've seen this year that typically stall drives and decreases scoring.

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    False starts are drastically down thanks to minimal crowd noise to deal with, but offensive holding calls are also down about 60% through four weeks and that's a penalty that refs could arguably call on every snap if they wanted to.

    All it will really take for more 'under' results to come in is for the NFL refs to add a few more offensive holding calls to each contest, extending drives to burn more clock (shortening the game) or stalling drives altogether and forcing more punts – something that's also drastically down this year (for a variety of reasons).

    I'm not saying that the Bucs or Bears will get hit hard with offensive holding calls in this game specifically, but this common refrain you hear everywhere in the sports betting content space right now about how “you just can't take unders in the NFL right now” because all these recent games are connecting on 'overs' has reached a fever pitch.

    If there ever was a time to go contrarian for contrarian sake, all this 'over' sentiment combined with the highest weekly average totals we've ever seen in the NFL would be a pretty good spot to do so wouldn't it?

    Tampa comes into this game with a 3-1 O/U record on the year, and the lone 'under' they did have could be considered a bit of a bad beat for 'over' players in that if fell five points short of cashing and there were only five combined total points scored in the 2nd half of the Tampa/Denver game a few weeks back. Bettors see that history and even more love is likely to come in.

    Chicago sits at 2-2 O/U this year, but both of their 'unders' have come at home, and the two 'overs' came against Detroit and Atlanta; two teams that tripped over their own feet in coughing up those victories to Chicago.

    This Bears team just can't really move the ball on offense no matter who the QB is, and with both home games for Chicago finishing with exactly 30 total points, I'm sure 'over' bettors will have no problem conveniently bypassing that specific Bears history in this spot, because who wants to be holding an 'under' ticket in the NFL right now. Right?

    Well, for one, I do, specifically in this game, and likely in many more across the board this week as I do believe this is a great time to take the contrarian route with totals as high as they are.

    Remember, even though a number of 44.5 may not look as high as all the other lofty numbers on the board this week, oddsmakers are still sick of getting beaten by all these 'overs' and have no real choice but to shade almost every game a half-point, a full point etc higher than what the true line should probably be.

    Chicago hasn't put up 20 points yet themselves at home – they've averaged 14 points per home game this year- and Tampa's average point total on the road clocks in at 25.5 PPG right now, nearly 10 points fewer than the 34.5/game they've averaged at home so far.

    Yes, those numbers come from a very limited sample size, but combining those two applicable numbers (Tampa's 25.5/game on the road and Chicago's 14/game at home) still only basically gives you a total of 40. That's before all the injuries and short week, etc are factored in.

    And having totals shaded about a FG higher than home/road point total splits isn't just applicable to this Bucs/Bears game either, it's littered across a handful of games on the Week 5 betting board. For example, Dallas has put up the most average points at home with 39/game, while their opponent this week – the NY Giants – have put up 11/game on the road. That suggests that the total should be around 50, but yet it's sitting at 54.

    Now I know there are definite flaws in using that line of thought as the be all end all, but it's more to show the point that there is going to come a point where these adjustments in totals are going to bring many more 'under' results with them, and I believe it starts in Week 5 with this TNF game.

    Head-to-Head History

    • Sep. 30, 2018 - Chicago 48 vs. Tampa Bay 10, Bears -3, Over 46
    • Sep. 17, 2017 - Tampa Bay 29 vs. Chicago 7, Buccaneers -7, Under 44

    Buccaneers vs. Bears
    Handicapping the Side

    This side is really something that's a much tougher bet to pull the trigger on, as the best of the Bears number is long gone now, so it's really hard to recommend a Bears play at such a worse number.

    If you really do believe in the Bears that much this week, I'd suggest going the ML route for the bigger score as it is. But if you do that, you are going up against Tom Brady's 9-1 SU record all time on TNF and do you really want to be on the other side of that?

    Granted, many of those TNF wins for Brady came when his New England teams would be matched up against far weaker AFC East rivals like Buffalo, NY Jets, or Miami, but is this Chicago team really that much better than some of those squads were?

    Yes, Chicago is 3-1 SU, but I already mentioned that two of those victories were gifted to them by Atlanta and Detroit, and the third win was a 17-13 win over the hapless Giants where Chicago nearly blew a 17-0 lead.

    I've never been one to be shy about grabbing points with bad teams before, and at +5.5 or +6, backing the Bears at home against a banged up Bucs team makes a lot of sense.

    But at +3.5 I want nothing to do with Chicago, nor do I really want to back Tampa until an active roster is known. Adds up to an easy pass on this side.

    Key Injuries

    Tampa Bay

    • WR Mike Evans: Ankle - Questionable
    • RB Leonard Fournette: Ankle - Doubtful
    • WR Chris Godwin: Hamstring - Out
    • TE O.J. Howard: Achilles - Out
    • RB LeSean McCoy: Ankle - Out
    • WR Scotty Miller: Hip, Groin - Questionable
    • WR Justin Watson: Chest - Out

    Chicago

    • S Deon Bush: Hamstring - Out
    • S Sherrick McManis: Hamstring - Doubtful
    • WR Darnell Mooney: Shoulder - Questionable

    Buccaneers vs. Bears - Predictions

    • Score Prediction: Tampa Bay 21 Chicago 18
    • Best Bet: Under 44.5


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