Thursday Night Football Betting Preview: Will the Bears Upset the Buccaneers?

Thursday Night Football has produced some stinkers over the years, but in Week 5, we get a nice little treat of a contest between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears. Both teams are playing well to start the season, with each holding a 3-1 record.

Let's dive into what we think could be some interesting betting angles for this contest.

Take the Bucs Despite the Banged-Up Attack

Signal caller Tom Brady has worked some magic during his time in the NFL, but this is going to be a tough spot for him.

We know that Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard, Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy are all expected to miss the game tonight. Plus, Mike Evans (ankle) isn't a lock to play, either.

So why should you back the Bucs?

This offense has been absolutely on fire of late. Last game, they spotted the Los Angeles Chargers a 24-7 lead before ripping off five consecutive scoring drives and racking up 38 total points. Brady was at his best during this comeback, ripping off 369 passing yards and five scores in the victory and logging a 0.39 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back.

Taking a look at our power rankings, this definitely appears to be an offensive mismatch. While Tampa Bay is only 15th and has been better as of late, the Bears have been dreadful, ranking 24th in the league. Recently switching to Nick Foles to spark the offense, Chicago still struggled a week ago. Over 42 drop backs, Foles posted a -0.33 Passing NEP per drop back and will certainly need to improve for Chicago to cover or win today.

Overs have been getting smashed this season. Through Week 4, eight teams are averaging more than 30 points per game and nine defenses are allowing at least 30 points per outing. The average over/under in Week 1 started at 45.5 points, and it rose to a whopping 49.7 points in Week 4. And even with that rise, overs are 38-26 so far this season. Looking at pace, these teams are fairly middle of the road, averaging about 28 seconds per play in neutral score situations.

Bets to Consider

Public teams almost always generate the cash flow, and that's very prevalent in this contest, as well. Looking at oddsFire, folks are betting on the Brady-led Buccos. A whopping 86% of bets on the spread and 79% of money on the spread is on Tampa. On the moneyline, 74% of the money and 54% of the bets are backing the Bucs.

Our algorithm really likes the road Buccaneers, too, expecting them to pull out the win 62.5% of the time. We think the moneyline should be -167, and it's -172, so the oddsmakers are right in line with us.

For a fun single-game parlay, it feels like Mike Evans has to be in the mix. If he can go, he should be a vital piece of the Bucs' offense. A week ago with Chris Godwin out, Evans caught seven passes for 122 yards and a score. His receiving yardage over/under at FanDuel Sportsbook sits at only 62.5 yards. If you think offense will reign supreme, pair it with the over (44.5 points), which we see hitting 55.6% of the time.

Historical Betting Trends

-- These two teams were terrible against the spread (ATS) in 2019, with the Bears going a league worst 4-12 ATS and Tampa rocking a 5-9-2 mark.

-- If there is one interesting trend, Tampa Bay is 4-0 ATS in their last four games as a road favorite.

-- The Bucs have been outstanding hitting the over. In their last 18 games, they've hit the over 15 times, though most of the sample is with Jameis Winston under center.