After back-to-back weeks with laughable Thursday night matchups, we finally get a game with some intrigue to kickoff NFL Week #5.
We get a QB rematch from Super Bowl LII except both players are with new teams. Tom Brady is coming off of a five-touchdown performance in a win over the Los Angeles Chargers while Nick Foles enters after an inauspicious first start with the Chicago Bears.
The Buccaneers are -3.5 point favourites with a 44.5 Over/Under, giving this game an implied score of (TB) 24 - 20.5 (CHI).
Below are my favourite Prop Bets for Bucs vs Bears.
Ronald Jones II (TB) — Over 67.5 Rushing Yards (-115)
With Leonard Fournette listed as doubtful and LeSean McCoy already ruled out, Jones will handle the majority of the backfield duties on Thursday. He played just 64% of the snaps in Week 4, but there will be a few more to go around with McCoy out. Over the last two weeks, Jones has averaged 16.5 carries per game and 4.4 Yards Per Carry (YPC) on the season—that alone works out to 72.6 yards, which would hit the over.
When you factor in the matchup, it looks even more likely. The Bears are an average rush defense, ranking 16th in Rush DVOA through four weeks. They gave up 93 yards on 14 carries (6.6 YPC) to a 35-year-old Adrian Peterson in Week 1 and have given up a total of 269 rushing yards (49 carries — 5.5 YPC) to opposing team’s top running backs thus far.
Mike Evans (TB) — Over 60.5 Receiving Yards (-115)
Evans clearly hasn’t been 100 percent since the start of the season, but he is gutting it out and still putting up big numbers. His gimpy ankle makes me a little nervous and I don’t place this bet until he’s confirmed to play, but if he plays I like him to top 60 yards.
With Chris Godwin already ruled out, Evans is poised to dominate the target share again. In the games that Godwin hasn’t played, Evans is seeing a 22.2 percent target share. A stark upgrade from the 10.8 percent when Godwin is in the lineup. He has turned those targets into 14 receptions for 226 yards.
The Bears corners grade out pretty average according to Pro Football Focus and they stay locked on their respective sides all game. That will allow Bruce Arians to move his best WR all over the field to help him get open.
Allen Robinson (CHI) — Over 5.5 Receptions (-225)
I don’t love the odds on this one and feel free to skip it if you don’t either but it’s a near-lock. Robinson is seeing an absurd 26.1 percent target share in this offence and the QB change has not affected that at all. He saw 10 targets in Foles’ first start and is averaging 10.3 targets and 6.3 receptions per game this season. With Brady playing well, the Bears will likely be chasing in this game, which furthers Robinson’s chances of going over 5.5 receptions.
Jimmy Graham (CHI) — Under 30.5 Receiving Yards (-115)
Graham is only on the field about 66 percent of the time and runs routes on 69 percent of his snaps. Those numbers are pretty average and on Thursday he will go up against Lavonte David, the No.1 ranked coverage linebacker in the NFL (per PFF). Graham has looked solid in the last two weeks, averaging 5.0 targets and 46.5 receiving yards but this matchup is awful. Last week David held one of the league’s best, Hunter Henry, to two catches and 39 yards. So far this season, opposing team’s tight ends have averaged 43.3 yards per game but Graham isn’t Jared Cook, Noah Fant, or Henry.
Visit play.spreads.ca to lock in your bets on tonight’s game!
-- by Timmy Bits