Sunday NFL Odds, Predictions, Picks: Bears vs. Raiders Betting Preview & Prop for Week 5
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images. Pictured: Damien Williams.
- With Justin Fields officially named the starting QB moving forward, the Bears head to Las Vegas to take on the Raiders.
- Chicago is instilled as the underdog in this Week 5 NFL matchup, but is there any value in betting this spread?
- Our analyst examined the Bears vs. Raiders odds and matchup in order to make his pick below.
|Time||4:05 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
Chicago Bears fans have finally gotten what they’ve been clamoring for: Justin Fields is the starting quarterback. His first start as the official QB1 comes on Sunday in Las Vegas.
The decision to definitively go with Fields comes after weeks of speculation primarily surrounding Bears head coach Matt Nagy, who stated several times that veteran quarterback Andy Dalton would be the starter when healthy.
However, it didn’t take long for him to walk those comments back. This type of indecisiveness isn’t ideal because it certainly impacts the handicap transitioning from Dalton to Fields.
I’ll touch on that and much more to get you set for this AFC vs. NFC showdown in Sin City.
Which Fields Will Show Up?
Which version of Fields can we expect to see on Sunday? Is it the quarterback in Week 3 who completed 6-of-20 passes while averaging 3.4 yards per pass with an 8.5 Total QBR? Or perhaps the one who completed 11-of-17 passes while averaging 12.3 yards per pass with a 74.6 Total QBR in Week 4?
The easy answer would be to say somewhere in the middle. However, I don’t think that’s the case given how Nagy inadequately prepared Fields for his first start back in Week 3 following an injury to Dalton.
The numbers for Fields in Week 3 were especially bad considering he was sacked nine times by the Cleveland Browns. When taking into account the yards lost on those nine sacks, the Bears offense finished with just one passing yard and 47 total for the game.
Fields did manage to bounce back the following week, but he was up against a Lions team ranked 30th in Football Outsiders’ Defensive Pass DVOA and is allowing 14.8 yards per completion, which is the worst mark in the league. The Raiders rank 16th in Defensive Pass DVOA and third in allowing opponents 8.9 yards per completion.
However, Las Vegas is 29th in allowing opposing rushers 4.9 yards per carry and 23rd in allowing 132.2 rushing yards per game. That bodes well for a Bears offense that’s ninth with 122.8 rushing yards per game and 10th with 4.4 yards per carry.
As far as injuries are concerned, four Bears who did not practice this week have already been ruled out: running back David Montgomery (knee), linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe (hamstring) and tight ends J.P Holtz (groin) and Jesse James (personal). Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks is listed as doubtful with a groin injury.
Is Las Vegas Due for a Letdown?
After racking up at least 400 yards of offense in their first three games of the season, the Raiders registered just 213 last week against the Los Angeles Chargers. Two of those first three games went to overtime and Las Vegas won both, which is perhaps why the loss to the Chargers last week seemed almost inevitable.
I’m not sure we can get any definitive answers about the Raiders because of their opposition so far this season. Their best victory was in Week 1 against the Ravens. Baltimore blew a two-touchdown lead in that game for the first time in 82 games, though, and Las Vegas was quite fortunate to come out on top given the hectic finish. The Raiders didn’t have their first lead in the game until they scored the go-ahead touchdown in overtime.
Las Vegas’ other two wins were against the Steelers and Dolphins, who are both 1-3.
This might be a bit harsh on the Raiders, but my point is that it wouldn’t surprise me if we continue to see this team regress in the coming weeks, given their travel, having alternated home and road games through four weeks, and possible lingering effects from the two overtime games.
Looking at the Raiders’ profile, we know they want to pass the ball down the field. They throw the ball 64.77% of the time, which puts them fifth in the NFL. That’s a big reason why they’re second with 326 passing yards per game and fourth with 12.0 yards per completion. That strategy could play into the hands of a Bears defense that’s 10th in Defensive Pass DVOA.
Chicago has the second-highest Defensive Pass DVOA of the teams the Raiders played this season. The Bears are two spots ahead of Miami, who covered the four-point spread in their matchup with Las Vegas. I imagine Chicago will have spent some time this week going over the film of the Raiders’ 28-14 loss to a Chargers team that’s six spots ahead of Chicago in Defensive Pass DVOA.
The Raiders injury report includes three players who’ve been ruled out for Sunday. After not practicing this week, cornerbacks Damon Arnette (groin) and Trayvon Mullen Jr. (toe) will be inactive. Tight end Derek Carrier will also miss the game with a pectoral injury.
Both teams come into this game with significant injuries, as the Bears will be without their starting running back in Montgomery. The Raiders will be without their starting cornerback Mullen Jr. However, I think each team has enough depth not to disrupt their game plans due to those injuries.
For the Raiders, Nate Hobbs will replace Mullen Jr. at cornerback, and his 76.2 PFF player grade is almost seven points higher. I’d expect the Bears to continue to rely heavily on their rushing attack and not expose Fields in the passing game.
For Chicago, Montgomery’s replacement is where we find the most betting value in this game.
Damien Williams will replace Montgomery as the Bears’ lead running back. This is the same player who rushed for 104 yards on 17 carries in the Chiefs’ Super Bowl LIV win. Last week, he rushed for 55 yards on eight carries against the Lions, and he should get plenty of touches within the offense which averages 28 rushing attempts and 122.8 yards per game.
Lastly, I touched on some of the Raiders’ challenges given their travel and two overtime games. Those seem minor compared to the unsettling news about Raiders head coach Jon Gruden using a racial trope in 2011 to describe NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith.
The NFL is a league with more than 50% African-American players. It wouldn’t surprise me if there’s at least some tension in the Raiders building this week. I’m not sure how together this Raiders team will be on Sunday, so that should create additional value on the underdog Bears at +5.5.
Pick: Damien Williams over 59.5 rushing yards
Lean: Bears +5.5