Best Bets: What are we missing in Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars?

Saturday, 05 October 2019 15:06 EST

When the real golden opportunities in NFL betting come down the pike, very little analysis or elaboration in a column like this is necessary. But when two point spreads that seem wildly off appear in the same week, the NFL bettor must think, “What am I missing here?” In week 5, we’re still scratching our heads over a couple lines out there, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be passing up the opportunities to bet.½

Seriously, what are we missing on

Chicago Bears -5½ vs Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders, over/under 40½ points (UK)

?

The counterpoints, as we see them, include the following.

• Consider the history: Favorites in UK games are 11-5 ATS (12-4 SU) since 2014; and in games not involving the Jacksonville Jaguars, favorites are on a 10-3 ATS (11-2 SU) run in UK games. (NFLbets doesn’t like to dig deep into history in analyzing a bet, but since most teams don’t play in England regularly, league-wide trends over time may be more important that usual.)

• Jon Gruden did not appear to take preparation for this game very seriously last year and made for one of NFLbets’ three Sure Bets last season. Sure enough, this lack led to an intensely poor showing against the Seattle Seahawks and a 28-7 beatdown. This year, part of Gruden’s adaptation involved flying directly to the UK from Indianapolis after the week 4 game. But even if everything does work out vis-à-vis body clocks and alla that, there’s also…

• This will be the Raiders’ third consecutive road game.

• There are solid reasons not to go too gaga over the Raiders’ 31-24 win in Indianapolis, likesay, maybe the Colts just aren’t that great. The defense currently ranks 31st – topping only who else but the Miami Dolphins – in Football Outsiders’ DVOA efficiency metric.

• After the neutral field, the prime factor in keeping this point spread down must be Chase Daniel at starting QB – but while Daniel may be no Gardner Minshu but by all indications could be a reasonable fill-in for at least a game or two around the trade deadline. The Bears miiiiiiight need to score more than 16 against the Raiders, but Daniel’s 22-of-30 for 195 yards plus 1 TD against zero picks is a decent enough start.

• Finally, have we all forgotten about Khalil Mack’s potential to singlehandedly take over games? Has the memory that this is Mack’s first game against the Raiders since his stunning and unceremonious trading away? Will has impact not be huge in this game?

Come on, now. How easy can this get? Take the Chicago Bears -5½ vs Oakland. Plus, adding England and backup game-managing QB to NFLbets’ standing rule of thumb, i.e. Always take the under in Chicago Bears games in 2019, take the under on an O/U of 40½.

Jacksonville Jaguars +3½ at Carolina Panthers

Okay, so what are we missing *here*? Coming into 2019, things in Jaguars land were optimistic. They’d brought over former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles to save them from the tyranny of mediocrity by Blake Bortles, thereby filling the one missing piece on a bona fide Super Bowl contending team.

Instead, of course, the Jags are running with Gardner Minshew, whose odds in the “NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year” proposition bet have fallen to 7/2, now second only to Daniel “Danny Dimes” Jones. (Kudos to those who took a flyer on Minshew at 66/1 or better when he was named Jacksonville’s starting QB.)

So now Minshu has gotten the Jaguars off to a respectable 2-2 SU (3-1 ATS) start, including three consecutive ATS wins and yet … this is Jacksonville’s fifth consecutive game as underdog. Betting on the continuation of a three-game ATS streak is going against the odds, but NFLbets just isn’t sure that Carolina can win this one.

The Panthers are on a 1-3-1 ATS (0-5 SU) run at home going back to last season and were rather gifted their past two SU wins with their own backup, Kyle Allen, at QB. Last week at Houston, Allen took four sacks and lost three fumbles while the Texans couldn’t buy a score. And the week previous was at Arizona – and Allen still managed to be sacked twice and fumble once there, too. The Jacksonville D has managed just two turnovers this season, but both came in the past two weeks and Allen could be an ideal opponent to improve the Jaguars’ standing in that stat.

NFLbets supposes this line is so low because the sportsbooks are expecting some evening out of trends, but for us the biggest outlier of the bunch surrounding this game are those five consecutive outings by the Jaguars as underdogs. We’re simply going with better team right now. Take the Jacksonville Jaguars +3½ at Carolina.

–written by Os Davis