Injury and practice reports are out for most teams, and with that new information should come some new value. Here are my two best bets for Sunday.
Chicago is coming off of a huge win at home against the Ravens this past week, and now they head into St. Louis, once again with Josh McCown as their starter. McCown has played well backing up Jay Cutler so far this season, and even on the road, he has the ability to lead this Bears’ offense against a bad defense.
Speaking of bad defenses, McCown is going to have to do his best franchise quarterback impression if the Bears want to stay in the playoff race. Cutler is still a couple of weeks from returning to the field, and the Bears have a chance at taking over the division this week with a win and a Lions loss. I think they can do it, and at +1 underdogs in the NFL Odds, it seems like they have betting value here. However their defense is going to be an issue in this game, and for the rest of the season. Chicago has to stop the Rams’ running game if they want to win.
The Bears are 3-1 ATS in their last four games against the Rams, and 5-2 ATS in their last seven against the guys from St. Louis. I think playing in the dome will help the Bears’ offense, even with the likely crowd noise. If this one comes down to a shootout, I have to like the Bears in this one. The defense in this game should be shaky, but Chicago trumps St. Louis offensively, (even with McCown) and I see that being enough to get the win.
My Pick: Bears +1
The Panthers have been the surprise of the NFL season, and now after knocking off two of the NFL’s elite teams in as many weeks, they head into Miami to play the Dolphins. They are -4 ½ favorites on the road this week in Miami, and I could not like them more. With their stellar defense, Miami’s offensive line is going to crumble.
Even without Charles Johnson, the pass rush from Carolina will be too much to overcome for a team that’s given up 41 sacks this season. On the flip side, the Dolphins will likely give Cam Newton some trouble, but the Dolphins’ run defense has not been very good lately, or this season. The Dolphins are giving up and average of over 150 yards rushing in their last three games, and against the Panthers’ running attack, things don’t look good.
Miami is only 2-5 SU and ATS in their last seven games overall, and I think they could be slightly overvalued here at home against one of the better teams in the NFL. I am laying the -4 with Newton and company for my NFL picks. It smells somewhat like a trap, however I don’t trust the Dolphins as far as I can throw them. The Panthers are the play.
My Pick: Panthers -4 ½