A pair of 3-1 football teams kick off Week 5 of the NFL season on Thursday night.
There’s plenty of NFL sports betting interest to be had for Thursday Night Football. The Chicago Bears host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The game airs live at 8:20 p.m. EST on Fox and the NFL Network.
Oddsmakers favor the Bucs on the road
According to oddsmakers at FanDuel, the Buccaneers are the road favorite for this game. Tampa is getting odds of -4.5 points against the Bears. Oddsmakers at PointsBet also see the Bucs as a -4.5 favorite.
If you’re looking for a straight-up wager, the Buccaneers are listed with a line of -225 to win. The Chicago Bears odds are +188 to win straight up.
When it comes to the over/under, the total is currently set at 44 points with the over and under carrying a -110 line.
The home team has won and covered the spread in three straight meetings between these two. The Bears are 4-2 against the spread in their last six against the Bucs as well.
For the over/under, these two have gone over the total in three of their last four meetings.
Buccaneers rolling under Brady
After a season-opening loss to the New Orleans Saints, the Bucs have won three straight.
Last week, Tampa won a shootout at home with the Los Angeles Chargers, 38-31. The Bucs were a 7.5-point favorite, so they dropped to 2-2 against the spread for 2020.
Tampa is 3-1 with the over this season, as it has put up at least 28 points in its last three games.
The Buccaneers made the biggest splash during the 2020 offseason when they signed Tom Brady at quarterback. The 43-year-old played for the New England Patriots from 2000-19 and won six Super Bowls with the franchise.
Brady has put up promising numbers in the first quarter, throwing for 1,122 yards and 11 touchdowns with four interceptions. Under Brady, Tampa’s offense is averaging 30 points per game, which ranks eighth in the NFL right now.
Brady may be without some of his top targets on Thursday. Tight end OJ Howard suffered a season-ending Achilles injury last weekend. Top receiver Mike Evans is questionable with an ankle issue while Chris Godwin is doubtful with a hamstring injury. These three have combined for eight touchdown receptions in 2020.
Rob Gronkowski, who has been largely ineffective, is also questionable to play due to a shoulder injury.
Bears drop first game as offense struggles
The Bears were a surprising 3-0 to start the season thanks to big comeback wins over the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons. However, Chicago took its first loss last Sunday when they fell to the Indianapolis Colts 19-11 at home.
Chicago is 2-2 against the spread thus far, failing to cover in both home games. The Bears are 2-2 with the over/under, hitting the under in both home games. That has made Chicago somewhat predictable for Iowa sports bettors.
Offense has been an issue for Chicago thus far in 2020. The Bears average just 21.3 points per game, which ranks in the bottom 10 of the league.
The No. 2 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Mitchell Trubisky, has been benched by the Bears. He threw for 560 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions before being pulled for Nick Foles.
Foles led the Bears on a comeback win over the Falcons but struggled last week against the Colts. He has thrown for 437 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions.
Allen Robinson II is Chicago’s top playmaker. He has caught 25 passes for 331 yards and two scores. David Montgomery is the team’s leading rusher with 218 yards.
Defenses could tell the story
While each offense is in a different state, the Tampa and Chicago defense are among the stronger units in the NFL.
The Bucs are giving up just 312 yards per game, which ranks fourth in the NFL. The rush defense (64.3 yards per game) ranks second in the league.
Tampa’s pass rush is one of its strengths. The Bucs are third in the NFL with 14 sacks. Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul each have three to lead the team.
The Bears are giving up 345.3 yards per game, which ranks seventh in the NFL. Their 20.3 points per game allowance ranks sixth.
Roquan Smith has been active in the defense, leading the team with 33 tackles. He also has 5.5 tackles for loss. Akiem Hicks leads the defensive front with 3.5 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss.