After the excitement of Thanksgiving, a single game of Thursday Night Football is a little underwhelming. However, the makeup for that is that this game has real playoff implications for both teams. A win for the Dallas Cowboys puts them in prime position for the NFC East. Meanwhile, a win for the Chicago Bears keeps their slim hopes of the #6 seed alive for one more week. Let’s take a look at how our team sees TNF on Week 14 of the 2019 season going with their picks.
Location: Soldier Field
Time: 8:30 pm EST
Spread: Cowboys -3
This has been one of the most lopsided prime time games of the season in betting terms. Over 75% of the bets and over 80% of the money has been coming in on the Cowboys, and yet strangely, the line has yet to really deviate anywhere. If we see a slight change in the betting patterns we could see this game move down to Cowboys -2.5 before kick-off. The total has been bet more evenly in this game. Around 60% of the bets and the money have been on the under, but there has not been significant enough action to see any movement in the line.
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“I have no real feel for this game. It should be an easy win for Dallas, but we have seen them choke the game away a couple of times now. I also do not trust the Bears in the slightest, as they made the Lions look good at times last week. The Bears offense has also struggled this season, and there is simply no way you can trust them. I am staying away from this one officially, but my lean, if you want to add some spice, would be Randall Cobb anytime touchdown at around +250.
“I’m on Dallas and the over here. Since Week 10, Dallas has passed the ball 61% of the time (7% more than their season average), while Chicago has passed the ball 57% of the time (on par with their season average). Both marks are above the league average (54%) during that period. Chicago has been successful when doing so as well, ranking fifth in the NFL in early-down passing success rate. The Cowboys defense ranks 22nd in the same regard. While the Bears defense poses a slightly tougher challenge (11th in early-down passing success rate since week 10), Dak Prescott should have success here. The Cowboys are 6th in early-down passing success rate, and overall rank first in the NFL in yards per play. They have a stellar offensive line (1st in adjusted sack rate) to protect Dak and give him time to hit his targets downfield. It should be a pace up game for Chicago as well, given the Cowboys rank 4th in total pace and third in situation neutral pace on the season.
As for the spread, the Cowboys have an advantage in two of the three crucial areas I look at when breaking down a spread: QB play and trench play. Chicago might have the advantage at head coach, but how much better is Matt Nagy than Jason Garrett really? The gap cannot be that great. Dallas has the second-best yards per play differential in the league +1.4 behind only San Francisco. Their team is one of the best in the league; they are just at a severe disadvantage in the coaching department, which is why they’re only 6-6. If there is a gap in coaching here, it is minuscule at best. Dallas should be a -6.5 point favorite here when just looking at yards per play, so getting them at just -3 offers immense value.
I would wait to see if the spread dips to -2.5 at your sportsbook, as I think it is worth it to risk taking a -3.5. If it never gets there, fire away at Dallas -3.”
1u – Dallas Cowboys -3 | -110
1u – Over 43.5 Total Points | -110
“This Thursday night, two 6-6 teams will face off with huge playoff implications on the line. The Dallas Cowboys will travel to the windy city to take on the Chicago Bears, where the Cowboys are currently 2.5 road favorites. The reality of the situation is the Dallas offense is quite different from the offensive juggernaut they were to start the year. The team has managed only 24 offensive points total in their last two games. Meanwhile, the Bears seem to be righting the ship after two wins, albeit against subpar teams like the Giants and Lions.
On the plus side for the Cowboys, they are currently fifth in the league in passing yards on the road. The team performs well on the road this season and has actually been struggling at home. Both Dallas and Chicago are top-10 in defending the pass, but the Bears are seventh in the league against the run. The Cowboys have struggled in that division, allowing 90.3 yards per game.
We have to keep in mind that this is a December game in Chicago. Cold, unpleasant weather will likely be a factor here. With that being the case, I lean to the team with the better run game. Ezekiel Elliot should be able to do enough on the ground, and hopefully, Dallas figures out a way to involve Tony Pollard more. If that is the case, I expect the Cowboys to be able to cover the spread here. In a close game that should be decided by a field goal, I would go with Dallas. To be even more confident here, Chicago has gone 2-8 ATS in their last 10 Thursday games!
Another play that I like about this one is a half time bet. The Cowboys come into this contest 10th in the league in first-half points this year as they average 12.1 points per game. Chicago, on the other hand, is tied for 31st in the league by scoring just 7.2 points per contest this season in the opening half of games. Take the Cowboys FH ML.
1u – Dallas Cowboys -2.5 | -110
1u – Dallas Cowboy First Half ML | -112
“While many trends point toward taking the Chicago Bears at home on Thursday Night Football, the majority of the underlying metrics suggest that the Cowboys are a far superior football team. That’s said, I was on Dallas on Thanksgiving, and I still can’t get over how Jason Garrett let that game get away from him. They were dominating the line of scrimmage in the 1Q and then completely abandoned the run the second they fell behind. The one weakness in the Chicago Defense is against the run, so if the Cowboys feed Zeke Elliot they should be able to pull out a close victory. I just don’t have enough trust in their coaching staff to do all that. I would lean toward the Cowboys -3 in this spot, although I also think teasing Chicago up to +9 and taking the Over down to about 37 points has some value as well. Overall, this will likely be a stay-away for me.”
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