NFL Week 8 – Best Bets Against the Spread: Bears Defense Set to Maul Saints
We had a rough week in Week 7, hitting with the Jets but losing with the Giants and Falcons. This week has a few more byes than usual, so it’s a smaller slate. However, there are a few games that I’m interested in betting. Hopefully, we rebound from last week!
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Carolina Panthers +1 (-110) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers -1 (-110) Total: 46
The Panthers head to Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers after a devastating loss last week at the Bears. Cam Newton easily had his worst game of the season as the offense managed just a field goal in a 17-3 loss at Chicago. The defeat put the Panthers record at 4-3 in what has become a competitive AFC South.
Tampa Bay is a rougher situation with an argument that this is a must-win if they want to have any playoff hopes. The Buccaneers have dropped three straight games after losing to the 30-27 at Buffalo last week. Their record has fallen to 2-4 on the season.
Tampa Bay opened a -1 favorite in this game. It’s hovered between 1-2 points throughout the week, with some sites now at Buccaneers -1.5. Betting action has been much more substantial on Carolina with 70% of tickets going on the Panthers so far.
Panthers vs Buccaneers Prediction
While some might look at this as a bounce-back game for Tampa Bay – I think it’s another troublesome spot for them. Jameis Winston is playing this weekend, but has been limited all week at practice and does have an injury to his throwing shoulder. Both Buccaneers cornerbacks, Brent Grimes and Robert McClain, are questionable to suit up, as well.
Carolina’s defense isn’t an elite unit, but they do bring pressure, something Winston has not dealt with well this season. I know we’ve seen some bad games from Cam Newton this year, including last week, but this is a matchup where he and the Panthers offense should have no issues putting up points.
Even low-passing volume, slow-paced offenses like the Bills have put up points against Tampa’s unit. They’re arguably the worst defense in the league, even behind the Patriots. Take the road team +1 and consider a moneyline bet on Carolina, as well.
Chicago Bears +9.5 (-110) at New Orleans Saints -9.5 (-110) Total: 47.5
As mentioned above, the Bears defense took care of business in their matchup against Carolina. Trubisky had to throw the ball just seven times the 17-3 victory! The win moved the Bears to 3-4 on the season. It’s a near certainty he goes over that mark this week as Chicago travels to the Big Easy to take on New Orleans.
The Saints lost their first two games of the season, but have rattled off four straight wins since, including last week’s 26-17 over the Aaron Rodgers-less, Packers, at Green Bay. New Orleans’ defense has seen the largest improvement. While the unit is still below average, it’s far from the historically bad defenses that have plagued the Saints in recent years.
The Saints opened at -9 and have gotten most of the betting handle so far. Just over 60 percent of wagers have come in on the hometown team. The odds have moved to -9.5 at most spots, though it may be -10 at some operators.
Bears vs Saints Prediction
The Bears are a tough team to get interested in, mostly because of their head coach and poor play calling. However, their defense is legit and one of the most underrated units in football. They prevent big plays and are good against the run while boasting an intense pass rush.
I don’t expect them to hold Brees down all game, but if Chicago can get their running game going – they may be able to churn clock and cut down the number of possessions in this game. If they can have any success on offense – that should translate to a game that is within single digits.
The frustrating part is that Bears run the ball at the same rate if they’re winning or losing. So, if the Saints can move the ball efficiently, it could spell doom for Chicago. However, I believe in this Bears defense more than others. There is also a good chance that the Bears offense, especially their run game, will have success against New Orleans’ defense.