The Bears host the Raiders in week 4 so let’s take a look at this contest and all of the key information, Odds, Trends & significant Injuries to come up with a solid NFL pick.
Odds Overview Oakland Raiders at Chicago Bears
The Oakland Raiders (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) head to the Midwest and Chicago’s Soldier Field on Sunday to face the Chicago Bears (0-3 SU, 0-3 ATS) in a Week 4 inter-conference affair. Currently (Tuesday evening), the visiting Raiders are solid 3-point favorites across the NFL odds board—the MGM Mirage is still hanging a 2½—with the Total in this contest at 44 or 44½ most places. On the Money Line, the favored Raiders are priced at -150 with the host and underdog Bears priced at +136 on the takeback (Pinnacle). The Chicago Bears Team Total Points has been set at 20½ (Ladbrokes) for this game while the Oakland Raiders Team Total Points has been set at 23½ (Ladbrokes). Two Alternate Lines: Raiders -2½ -130, Bears +2½ +100; Raiders -3½ +120, Bears +3½ -140 (5Dimes).
Oakland Raiders (77 PF-86 PA)
Oakland has a new Head Coach (Jack Del Rio) and are the best they have been in quite some time—as many Power Rankings reflect—but this is the point in the Regular Season where the rubber meets the road. Fortunately for QB David Carr (5-4 Away) and the Silver and Black, they are playing the Bears (-59 PD), a team with no Wins, an injured starting QB and a Defense as porous as they come. The Raiders (150/1 to win Super Bowl, Betfred) are led by QB David Carr, 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. The Point Spread in this game speaks volumes. 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, DT Justin Ellis (Ankle), DE Benson Mayowa (Knee), FB Jamize Olawale (Ankle) are all listed as Questionable while WR Andre Debose (I-R) and S Jimmy Hall (I-R) will both be Coaches’ Decisions. S Nate Allen (Knee) remains on the Raiders Injured-Reserve List.
Chicago Bears (46 PF-105 PA)
The Chicago Bears starting QB Jay Cutler (Hamstring) is still out and being replaced by backup Jimmy Clausen but WR Alshon Jeffery (Hamstring) is listed as Probable here and Chicago (500/1 to win Super Bowl, Coral) and first-year Head Coach John Fox could really use him at this point in the season, seeking its first win and sitting on just 46 points. But a little reflection: The Bears have played two of the toughest teams in the NFL and the two toughest in the NFC in the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks, so the rest of the schedule may seem much easier and this is a game Chicago can win. And needs to win. But much can be read from the Point Spread here. With the Raiders improvement and Chicago’s decline—knowing who each have played—it would seem like a Pick ‘Em game. But it’s not. The perennially poor Raiders (11-37 SU L3 years) opened at 3-point favorites, in great part because of Clausen who did nothing against Seattle. Chicago’s 10 possessions? Punt. Punt. Punt. Punt. Punt. Punt. Punt. Punt. Punt. Punt. Here, against the Raiders on Sunday afternoon, expect Clausen to get the football to dependable RB Matt Forte (59 rushes, 276 yards TD)—both by Land and by Air—TE Martellus Bennett (13 receptions, 118 yards TD), WR Jeffery and WR Eddie Royal (11 receptions 60 yards). As mentioned, the Bears WR Jeffery (Hamstring) is Probable; DT William Sutton (Bicep), T Jermon Bushrod (Concussion) and P Patrick O’Donnell (Knee) are all listed as Questionable; QB Cutler (Hamstring) is Doubtful; and Rookie (West Virginia) WR Kevin White (Shin) is Out Indefinitely. S Ryan Mundy (Hip) remains on the Chicago Injured-Reserve List.
Series Numbers, Recent Relevant Trends and Game Expectations
Doing some research on the series creates much conflict when handicapping the Total over the L10 meetings (1981-2011) and comparing the current ATS Total marks of both teams. Bears’ Overs are 2-1, while Raiders Overs are 3-0, but 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). So, conflicting numbers, but the best read on that may be that those numbers are from the Dark Ages (1981?) and the Over/Under record of Chicago and Oakland are recent. The last time these two teams met, the Raiders won 25-20 as 3-point favorites in Oakland in 2011, while the last time these two played here in the Windy City, the Bears won, 17-6 in 2007, covering as 3½-point chalks. Chicago is 8-2 ATS over the L10 vs. Oakland and 4-0 ATS the L4 here at Soldier Field, but that was in much better times and when this team wasn’t one of the worst five teams in the league. The biggest key here may be the Bears Defense, which has allowed the most points in the NFL (105). 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 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 the mercurial Cutler is at QB. Oakland games have had 46, 70 and 47 total points, all Overs, so with Jimmy Clausen likely glad to be back Home and not playing the Seattle Seahawks and that nasty Defense, the bears should be able to score between 2-3 TDs and with dependable K Robbie Gould, around 3 FGs. So, between 21-30 points for the hosts. And with Rookie Cooper (Alabama) looking to bust out, and playing a team which has allowed 26, 48 and 31 points, 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 can take it to 3-1, we lean to the over with our NFL picks there should be around 50 points scored here despite the (stale) Series history.
NFL Pick: Raiders & Bears 'OVER' 44 (-110) at The Greek