Chicago Bears ( 6-1 SU, 4-3 ATS) vs. Tennessee Titans (3-5 SU, 3-5 ATS)
NFL Week 9
Date/Time: Sunday, November 4, 1:00 p.m. EST
Where: LP Field, Nashville, TN
TV: FOX/DirecTV 705
by Vesper Abadon, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Chi -3.5/Ten +3.5
Over/Under Total: 43.5
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How are the Chicago Bears so good? They’re passing game is ranked an abysmal 30th in the league, and combined with their 9th-ranked rushing attack, they have the 26th overall offense in the NFL through eight weeks. Obviously the answer lies somewhere else, and that would be with their 7th-ranked defense.
Through eight weeks, the Bears have allowed an average of just 14.3 points per game, and have help opponents to an average of 77.9 rushing yards per game (YPG) and 238.1 passing YPG. Those numbers are intimidating to a high-power offense, let alone a 24th-ranked squad like their next opponents-the Tennessee Titans.
Even though the Bears’ offense isn’t awe inspiring, they may appear to be on Sunday when the go up against the Titans’ 30th-ranked defense. Jay Cutler is currently the 23rd-ranked quarterback in the league with a 78.9 rating after completing 125 of 215 passes for 1,545 yards and nine touchdowns. He has also thrown eight interceptions and been sacked 25 times, so all in all not too impressive. With that said, the Titans are allowing 282 passing YPG, so look for Cutler to improve his stats a bit as he looks to hook up with his favorite target-Brandon Marshall-who has 50 grabs for 675 yards (13.5 yard average) and four touchdowns so far in 2012.
Also look for running back Matt Forte to run wild on Sunday. He enters the game with 436 yards on 95 carries (4.6 yard per carry average), including two touchdowns. The Bears average 124 YPG on the ground, and the Titans give up an average of 139.2 YPG. It’s a great opportunity for the Bears to establish the play action and then take advantage through the air. Forte will play a prominent role in that game plan, and of course he’s always a threat to catch passes from the backfield.
Speaking of the Titans, they have had glimpses of greatness despite their dreary ranking. Running back Chris Johnson has been a dud most of the year, but he has the potential to break out with exceptional performances. Johnson has struggle in the last two years, but when he manages to recapture that magic every now and then, the Titans seem to win. It’ll be tough to get Johnson going against the Bears’ stiff defense, but you never know with CJ.
The Titans have potential through the air as well, though they have to do it with veteran Matt Hasselbeck, who replaced the injured second-year QB Jake Locker. Hasselbeck is getting up there in years, but has done an admirable job filling in and connecting with the likes of Nate Washington and rookie Kendall Wright.
The Titans have some weapons, but getting them to all perform in the same game has been a challenge. They’re coming off a heart-breaking loss to the Indianapolis Colts, and have two more weeks to go before their bye. They need a break to rest and regroup, but they’re not going to get it before going up against the Bears and Miami Dolphins, two very tough games.
On the other hand, the Bears are fresh off a motivational win against the Carolina Panthers, which made it five victories in a row, and recently had their bye week. They’re primed and ready to make a push towards the playoffs, and any team standing in their way are in store for quite the brawl.
Vesper Abadon’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: How the Bears aren’t a bigger favorite, I do not know. Every now and then Vegas puts out a bizarro number and even crazier, it drops in favor of the weaker team. We like to call those “fishy lines.” From my 20+ years experience betting on games, these “fishy lines” end up winning 80% of the time. I’m recommending that you watch this line and if it’s still 3.5 on Sunday morning, or better yet, drops even more, to place a lunch money bet on Tennessee. There are some things that just can’t be explained and this is one of them!
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