Bears vs. Buccaneers Pick
According to oddsmakers at Bovada.lv, Tampa Bay is the clear favorite at home, as the Bucs are getting odds of -7 points against the Bears. The over/under total for the contest has been listed at 43 points. Chicago has won and covered the spread in three of the last four meetings with Tampa Bay. These two will meet from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Sunday and the game will air live on FOX.
Tampa Bay was scheduled to open its season at Miami last week, but Hurricane Irma postponed the game to a later date. Tampa was impacted by the hurricane as well, so Sunday’s game could have a little extra emotion from the fans. The Bucs are coming off a 9-7 record in 2016 in which they were also 9-7 against the spread. Jameis Winston threw for 4,090 yards and 28 touchdowns with 18 interceptions. He is being looked at to take a big step forward this season. He has an elite receiver in Mike Evans, who caught 96 passes for 1,321 yards and 12 touchdowns a year ago. The team also added DeSean Jackson in the offseason. In the backfield, Doug Martin is suspended for the first three games leaving Jacquizz Rodgers to handle most of the carries. Defensively, Tampa Bay was one of the worst in 2016. The unit allowed 23.1 points and 367.9 yards per game. However, the unit had 38 sacks and forced 28 turnovers. Gerald McCoy remains the team leader with seven sacks a year ago.
The Chicago Bears started their 2017 season with a 23-17 loss at home to the Atlanta Falcons, but Chicago managed to cover the 6.5-point spread. The Bears were held to 301 yards of offense in the loss while allowing 372 to the Falcons, including 308 passing yards. Mike Glennon threw for 213 yards and a touchdown in his Chicago debut, but the team lost receiver Kevin White to a broken shoulder blade. He has been put on IR. Tarik Cohen, the backup running back, was actually the leading receiver (47 yards) and leading rusher (66 yards) for Chicago. He may have to take on the bulk of the action this week as Jordan Howard is listed as questionable with a shoulder injury.
Sunday is a big opportunity for Tampa Bay. Many feel this could be the year the Bucs take a step forward to becoming a real contender in the NFC. Winston shows a lot of promise and he has plenty of weapons to work with. This defense should also know Mike Glennon well, as he was with Tampa Bay prior to Chicago. Still, something about the 7-point spread scares me. Chicago played Atlanta tough last week and should keep getting better as Glennon gets more snaps in the offense. Chicago is actually 6-2 against the spread in its last 8 after a loss while Tampa is just 21-45-1 ATS in its last 67 home games. The Bucs will have to work out the Week-1 rust that Chicago was able to shake off last week. I expect this game to remain close.
NFL WEEK 2 PREDICTION: CHICAGO BEARS +7