After a long week, the Chicago Bears will gear up to hit the road this weekend to take on the Carolina Panthers. The Bears are on top of the world right now after defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Thursday night to improve to 4-1. The extra rest the Bears will receive lends well to their chances of being as healthy and prepared as possible to take on a Panthers squad that has reeled off three straight wins.
Stats To Consider
The Panthers return home after defeating the Atlanta Falcons 23-16 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium last Sunday. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw for 313 yards and two touchdowns in an incredibly efficient performance. Wide Receiver Robby Anderson posted another excellent performance, catching 8 passes for 112 yards, as he has become Bridgewater’s number one target. Former Bear Mike Davis continues to fill in nicely for injured all-pro Running Back Christian McCaffrey, rushing for 89 yards and being a receiving threat out of the backfield. The Panthers currently sit as the 6th best offense in football, with the 5th best passing offense in the league, averaging 281 yards through the air. They are 14th in rushing, averaging 117 yds/gm, which is around the middle of the pack. Carolina is 15th in total defense, 5th in passing defense, and 25th in rushing defense.
The Bears invade Bank of America Stadium after having defeated the Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football last week 20-19 at Soldier Field. QB Nick Foles had a solid night, passing for 243 yards and a TD, while also throwing an interception. WR Allen Robinson caught double-digit passes in a dominant performance, 10 receptions for 90 yards. The Bears still could not get their rushing game on track with RB David Montgomery, who ran for only 29 yards and a TD. The Bears sport the 27th ranked offense in the league, ranking 23rd in passing with 228 yds/gm, and 27th in rushing with 95 yds/gm. They have the 9th ranked defense in football, ranking 10th against the pass giving up 231 yds/gm, and 16th against the run giving up 113 yds/gm.
Chicago Bears (4-1, 2-0 Away) vs. Carolina Panthers (3-2, 1-1 Home)
Date: Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020
Time: 1:00 p.m. EST
Venue: Bank of America Stadium — Charlotte, NC
Spread and Odds
All NFL betting lines, odds and prop bets are available on FanDuel Sportsbook.
Moneyline: CHI: (+128) | CAR: (-152)
Spread: CHI: +2.5 (+100) | CAR: -2.5 (-120)
Total: 44.0 – Over: (-120) | Under: (+100)
Public (Spread) Betting Percentages via oddsFire: CHI: (73%) | CAR: (27%)
Odds to Win Super Bowl LV: CHI: (+4400) | CAR: (+6500)
Spread: As of this writing, the number is moving in Chicago’s favor. The line initially opened with the Bears as 3-point underdogs and they since have moved down to 2.5-point dogs. This is significant because the spread has moved under the key number of 3 to get you under a field goal. The Bears find themselves once again as underdogs to an NFC South team after opening as 5.5-point dogs last week to the Buccaneers. While the Bears are 4-1, they have done almost nothing to inspire confidence offensively. They average only 21 points per contest, which is 26th in the league in PPG. However, you have to give them props for resiliency, and they have perhaps the best QB in football during late-game situations over the last few years.
On the other side, rookie Head Coach Matt Rhule has his Panthers sitting at 3-2 early in the season. This is a squad that many predicted to have 3 wins TOTAL throughout the season. The Panthers will be looking for a fourth straight win after starting 0-2.
Moneyline: The Bears are currently sitting at +128 on the moneyline, while Carolina is priced at -152. Going into the weekend, we expect the number to shift even more towards Chicago’s favor, and it will be interesting to see where the money goes. Will the sharp’s side with the public and bet on Panther regression, or will they show belief in the young team?
Over/Under: The total for this game sits at 44, which is exactly what it was last week for the Bears against Tampa. That game hit the under with a low total of 39 as we predicted last week. The Panthers meanwhile, produced the very same total against Atlanta last week with 39 combined points. Both teams figure to struggle to put points on the board in this one, as the Chicago defense is ranked 9th in football and their offense is 27th. Look for the under to hit again this week, in what should be a lower-scoring affair.
Line Analysis: This game comes down to whether you believe in Foles, Montgomery, and the Bears’ tough defense or Carolina’s upstart confidence. The line is fair, as both teams are about average.
Betting Splits: As of this writing, 73% of the money is coming in on Chicago, while the Panthers are receiving 27%. This explains why the spread and moneyline are and will move further towards the Bears.
Player Props: Player props have not yet been released for this game. They usually release on game day and will have numbers based on a player’s recent performance. Some players to consider in this one are TE Ian Thomas and WR DJ Moore for Carolina. The Bears have been very good in the red zone this season, but have struggled to defend tight ends. Thomas should have a low number, as he hasn’t been a difference-maker this season for Carolina. Moore is someone to look at, as he has been largely disappointing this season after many predicted him to be the number one receiver. He had a long TD against Atlanta last week, which might get him back on track.
For Chicago, there will not be a better time this year to get your running game right. Carolina is ranked 25th against the run, so look for Montgomery and Cordarrelle Patterson to finally have good games.
Game Prediction and Final Thoughts
This will finally be a game where we see the Bears rushing attack get right. With Kawann Short out for the Panthers, their already poor run defense gets even weaker. If Chicago can’t run against this defense, they should just pass for the rest of the season. Meanwhile, the Panthers are bound to have a game where they finally show us that they are the Panthers. Regression could come against this very good Bears defense, and it could come in a hurry. Carolina hasn’t played any good opposition this season besides Tampa Bay, and they lost that game. The Bears get the win on the road 23-20 and improve to 5-1 on the season. They make us all look foolish to have ever doubted them.
– Chicago is 3-2 against the spread (ATS) in its last five games.
– The total has hit the under in three of Chicago’s last five games.
– Carolina is 3-2 ATS in its last five games.
– The total has hit the over in three of Carolina’s last five games.
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