Chicago Bears (6-3 SU, 4-4-1 ATS) vs. Miami Dolphins (5-4 SU, 6-3
ATS), Week 11 NFL, 8:20 p.m. EST, Thursday, November 18, 2010, Sun
Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla., TV: NFL Network
by Badger of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Chi +1.5/Mia -1.5
Over/Under Total: 40
Chicago Bears may have picked the perfect week to travel to Sun
Life Stadium for their NFC-AFC clash with the Miami Dolphins in the
primetime Thursday Night game on the NFL Network.
With a short week to prepare, the Dolphins will need every second of
their time off to try and heal up from the 29-17 victory over
Tennessee on Sunday. Miami has already announced that third-string
quarterback Tyler Thigpen will be forced to start due to injuries to
both Chad Henne (dislocated kneecap) and Chad Pennington (dislocated
shoulder), but his blindside protector at left tackle Jake Long is
likely out (listed as doubtful) too.
Thigpen was effective in mop-up duty late in the Tennessee game,
going 4-of-6 for 64 yards and the game-clinching touchdown strike to
Anthony Fasano late in the fourth quarter, but with only three days
to prepare and minus their stud left tackle the Dolphins may decide
to feature the wildcat look with Ronnie Brown taking as many snaps
The Bears are also facing a short week, but their situation is less
bleak following their big 27-13 victory over Brett Favre and the
Vikings last Sunday. The Bears top-5 defense forced four Favre
turnovers in the game to negate Jay Cutlers two interceptions, and
more importantly they emerged without any injuries in the win that
kept them in a first-place tie with Green Bay in the NFC North.
Considering the circumstances, the fact that the oddsmakers out in
Las Vegas opened the Thursday Night game with the Dolphins as 3-point
favorites at home does make you raise your eyebrows a little. Why no
love for the 6-3 Bears, especially considering the QB situation in
Miami? Despite the fishy opening line, the Dolphins are still listed
as high as 1.5-point favorites at a few offshore sportsbooks as the number is dropping fast as bettors hammer the Bears at the window.
The over/under total opened at 39.5 and has risen slowly up to 40 or
40.5 at a majority of the sportsbooks on the Web.
Without Long at tackle the Dolphins may use this opportunity to run
the ball more often, but center Joe Berger is also nursing a sore
knee, so there are definite kinks in the Miami offensive line this
week. The truth is that with Thigpen calling the signals, no one
really knows what the Dolphins will do with their offensive gameplan
What is certain is that they will have to earn every inch of it this
week against a Bears defense that is performing like the glory day
Monsters of the Midway. Overall the Bears are 4th (301.9 ypg) in
total defense, but against the run the Bears are 2nd in the NFL
allowing a mere 82 yards a game. The Bears dont give up points
either, with their 16.2 points per game average the 2nd-best tally in
the league. All of this would be a tough task for any starter on a
short week, yet alone a third-stringer like Thigpen.
The Bears defense was so good last week against the Vikings that it
didnt matter that Cutler threw two more picks, including an
inexcusable one in the end zone, which is usually the Bears kiss of
death on offense. Cutler still doesnt have much of a running game to
complement him (95 ypg 25th), but even so the Bears offense as a
whole is a very un-Mike Martz-like 29th in the league averaging just
297 yards a game.
Normally the Dolphins defense would stack up well against the Bears
slump-n-dump approach, since they are 8th overall (314.1 ypg) and 6th
against the pass (203.9 ypg), but the stop unit is also nursing
injuries on their side of the ball. Top pass rusher Cameron Wake is
listed as probable with his sore hip, and safety Chris Clemons also
finished the Titans game on the bench with ice bags, so the short
week will affect how well the Dolphins on defense too.
The Bears and Dolphins have played twice in the 2000s, with Miami
winning both games including a 31-13 win in Chicago in 2006 and a
27-9 victory the last time they met in Miami back in 2002. The
Dolphins also covered both of those games, the home game as 10.5-
point favorites and the 06 game as 13-point underdogs.
The Bears historically have had their troubles on Thursday nights
(0-3-1 ATS) and on the road as underdogs (2-9-1 ATS in L12), but they
are 2-1-1 ATS in their four road games this season.
However, the Dolphins just dont cover the spread at home, neither
historically (17-41-1 ATS in L59 home games) or this seasons 2-2 ATS
mark in Sun Life Stadium.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I still think this line smells like a trap, but Im
still walking into it. Chicagos defense is too good for Miami to
score much, and the Bears offense is good enough to score just a
little more in order to win. Ill take the road dog here. Take
Chicago plus the 1.5-points.