NFL Picks: Raiders & Bears Will Put Up Enough Points so Back 'Over' 44

Kevin Stott

Saturday, October 3, 2015 8:53 PM GMT

With Jay Cutler potentially out again for Chicago and Jimmy Clausen in his stead, is that good for the Over or the Under with our NFL picks when the Raiders and the Bears play on Sunday.

Let’s look at all the information we can in the context of trying to make a logical Totals NFL pick or two for this game, including the weather forecast, some of the different numbers now in the marketplace and the L10 scores in the series and put some words into the feelings as why this seems like an Over game in a field of very Underish scores in this series.

 

Odds Overview

What: NFL Week 4—Oakland Raiders vs. Chicago Bears

Where: Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois

When: Sunday, October 4

Time: 1 p.m. EDT/10 a.m. PDT

TV: CBS, Directv 706, NFL RedZone (US)

Weather: Mostly Cloudy, Gusty, 55°, Winds NE 10-20 mph, 69% Humidity

Current Point Spread: Raiders -3½ (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)

Lowest Total in Marketplace: 44 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, William Hill, CGT)

Highest Total in Marketplace: 45 (Station Casinos)

Alternate Total: Under 46 -133, Over +105 (bet365)

Alternate Total: Under 47 -162, Over 47 +120 (bet365)

First Quarter Total: 8½ (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)

First Half Total: 22½ (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)

 

Current Realities Heading Into This Game
There are some Injury concerns heading into this game, primarily with the host Chicago Bears and mercurial QB Jay Cutler (Hamstring) and the team listed him as Questionable for a third straight day today (Friday). But the Chicago Tribune reports that Cutler has taken equal reps with the First Team as backup Jimmy Clausen (9/17, 63 yards vs. Seahawks) has, so it seems the Bears knows it’s Offense is really hamstrung with its second-string signal caller in—much like 75% of the NFL. Michael Vick can you hear me? Cutler’s status for this game on Sunday against Oakland won’t be finalized until Saturday after the team’s final walk-through. The Chicago medical staff will reportedly try to determine how mobile the 32-year-old Cutler is on his strained Hamstring and how much he can protect himself before making its final determination. Besides Cutler, Rookie WR Kevin White (West Virginia) is still out with a bad Shin while fellow WR Alshon Jeffery (Hamstring) is listed as Questionable for Chicago (500/1 NFL odds to win Super Bowl, William Hill) and first-year Head Coach John Fox, while LT Jerrod Bushrod (Shoulder, Concussion) is out and will be replaced by Charles Leno.

One big problem with backing the Over here though, is that if Clausen does start and play all 60 minutes, he is a Vick-like hinderance to an Offense. Clausen did absolutely nothing against Seattle except make sure that Chicago P Pat O’Donnell got in a nice workout. Chicago’s 10 possessions? Punt. Punt. Punt. Punt. Punt. Punt. Punt. Punt. Punt. Punt. Here, against the Raiders on Sunday afternoon, expect either Clausen or Cutler to try to get the football to dependable RB Matt Forte—whom they offered as Trade bait this week—TE Martellus Bennett WR Jeffery if he can play and WR Eddie Royal, among others. At Home, the Bears should be able to someone score 2 TDs and settle for like 5 Robbie Gould FGs.

The Oakland Raiders (150/1 to win Super Bowl, Betfred) and Head Coach Jack Del Rio are making some noise this year with their 2-1 start and have climbed in many Power Rankings with QB David Carr (5-4 Away), stellar Rookie WR Amari Cooper (20 receptions, 290 yards, TD), Free Agent-acquiree WR Michael Crabtree (18 receptions, 184 yards, TD) and RB Latavius Murray (52 rushes, 248 yards 2 TDs) and Oakland has one of the best Kickers in the NFL (with the strongest leg) is Sebastian Janikowski (5/5 FG, 8/8 XP). Until last week (Browns), the Raiders hadn’t won a game in the Eastern Time Zone in 15 tries, so for a team with the recent track record of Oakland to actually be favored here at Soldier Field in Chicago against the Bears reveals how bad this Chicago team has become and how improved Oakland is.

This will be the second of back-to-back Road games for the Raiders and they will be playing in a Time Zone (CDT) two hours ahead of the one they live in (PDT), so this will be a 10 a.m. physical body start for Oakland. So, some bacon, eggs and a little forearm shiver? On the Injury front, Pass Rusher Khalil Mack and CB Charles Woodson are both expected to play for Oakland.

 

Final Scores in the Last 10 Meetings in the Chicago Bears-Oakland Raiders Series
2011—Raiders 25 Bears 20

2007—Bears 17 Raiders 6

2003—Bears 24 Raiders 10

1999—Raiders 24 Bears 17

1996—Bears 19 Raiders 17

1993—Raiders 16 Bears 14

1990—Raiders 24 Bears 10

1987—Bears 6 Raiders 3

1984—Bears 17 Raiders 6

1981—Bears 23 Raiders 6

 

Series Trends, Game Expectations and Two Kickers Who Seemingly Never Miss
Even though the above Final Scores look anemic, the culture in the NFL has changed over the last decade with most teams evolving into much more Pass-oriented units on Offense, naturally translating to higher Totals at the sportsbooks through these recent years. Not too long ago in the NFL—and it still can happen possibly—Totals as low as 33, 34, 35 and 36 would speckle the Betting Board. Now, all of a sudden 40 seems low. Anyway, the point here is this sample size is from a 35-year Time span, rendering it all almost meaningless. What were you wearing 35 years ago? Were you even born? Chicago actually having Clausen in at QB is potentially in more of a confidence-killer for Over players here against Oakland (3-0 Overs). Hopefully Cutler can give it a go, but with an 0-3 start, it almost seems insignificant in some way and hearing that the Bears (2-1 Overs) were trying to possibly get rid of loyal RB Forte and the fact this team traded LB Jared Allen to the Carolina Panthers and LB Jonathan Bostic to the New England Patriots earlier this week shows they may be bailing on the 2015/16 Regular Season already.

So far, the Bears Defense has allowed 8 Passing TDs in 8 Quarters, so expect Carr to try to exploit this weakness early on against Chicago like Arizona did, trying to hook up with Crabtree and Cooper as much as possible. Cooper could have a 2-TD, 150+ yard monster day if he can handle the forecasted 55° game-time temperatures at Soldier Field. But getting over the Totals number of 44 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) is the question here, and analyzing Box Scores from each team’s first three games shows that the Oakland Raiders (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) and opponents combined for 24, 40 and 20 points in First Halves in Weeks 1-3, while the Chicago Bears (0-3 SU, 0-3 ATS) and their opponents put up 20, 48 and 6 last week in Seattle in a game it seemed the Seahawks only tried so hard to score after knowing the Bears were hapless and hopeless.

Even though the L10 meetings between these two have seen every game end with a maximum of 45 points or less (45, 23, 45, 41, 36, 30, 34, 9, 23, 29), the weakness of the Bears D— which has allowed the most points in the NFL (105)—make one think maybe the Raiders could go over the 45 themselves if everything went right. And remember again that the Raiders hadn’t won a game in the EDT in their L15 tries until last Sunday’s win at Cleveland against the rudderless Browns. The Bears might not be as bad as the Browns, but then again they may be. And with Clausen in, it’s a different feel and flow compared to when Cutler is at QB.

Oakland games have had 46, 70 and 47 total points scored in them, all Overs (Chicago 54, 76, 21; 2-1 Overs), so with Clausen or Cutler just glad to be back Home in the Windy City and not playing the Seahawks and that ferocious Defense, Chicago should creep to around 23-24 points with dependable K Robbie Gould. And with Rookie Cooper (Alabama) looking to bust out, the Raiders should get around 3 TDs and 3 FGs themselves with their K extraordinaire (Sebastian Janikowski), or around 30 points. With Chicago having nothing to lose and being desperate to get that first win and Oakland (W2) loving the opponent in a game that it can win to improve to 3-1, there should be around 50 points scored. And Raiders Overs have been on an absolute tear, going 10-2 ATS over the L12 (3-0 in 2015), including a 7-2 Over run to end last season.

Predicted Final Score: Raiders 27 Bears 23

NFL Picks: First Half Over 22½, Over 44 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)

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