Bears-Bills Betting Preview: How to Profit off Nathan Peterman’s Return
Kevin Jairaj, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Nathan Peterman
Betting odds: Chicago Bears at Buffalo Bills
- Spread: Bears -10
- Over/Under: 37
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
>> All odds as of Friday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets
Betting market: After this line opened on Tuesday morning, both sharp and public bettors were on the Bears, who moved from -8 to -10 within about an eight-hour span.
Since then, it has remained rather stagnant, but Sports Insights’ line predictor tool believes the next move will be back down to 9.5. At the time of writing, more than 65% of bettors are fading the Bills, who will be starting Nathan Peterman (see live betting data here). — Mark Gallant
Did you know? Peterman has thrown nine interceptions on 81 career pass attempts. In regular-season games Peterman has played, the Bills are 1-6 straight up and 2-5 against the spread. — John Ewing
Buffalo is averaging 10.9 points per game this season. The Bills have scored 11 points total over the last two weeks. In fact, over their last two games the Bills have more penalties (13) than points (11), have punted nine times and turned the ball over seven times (while forcing none). — Evan Abrams
Trends to know: If you are betting the over/under, here are a couple of things to consider:
The total for the Bears-Bills game has been set at 37. If it closes there it will supplant another Bills games as the lowest total of the season: Buffalo vs. Tennessee closed at 38 on Oct. 7. The Bills won that game 13-12.
Buffalo’s past six games have gone under the total. Teams with that long of an under streak are actually 40-33-2 (54.8%) to the over in their next game since 2003, per our Bet Labs data.
As an overall trend, totals set below 40 have been profitable to the over later in the season. The over is 279-239-6 (53.9%) in such games played in November or later. — Abrams
Biggest mismatch: Chicago’s pass defense vs. Peterman
Last season, Peterman threw five picks in the first half of his first career start. This season, Peterman has thrown one every eight attempts. Overall, Peterman has thrown nine interceptions on 81 career passes, and his 11.1% interception rate is the worst of any quarterback who has attempted at least 80 passes since the league shifted to a 16-game schedule in 1978.
Which team is healthier? Bears
The Bears could once again be without difference makers Khalil Mack (ankle) on defense and Allen Robinson (groin) on offense, while right guard Kyle Long (foot) could be out much longer than just Sunday. Wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (knee) is tentatively expected to suit up.
The Bills will start Peterman under center with both Josh Allen (elbow) and Derek Anderson (concussion) banged up. The defense could be without defensive end Trent Murphy (knee) and first-round linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (concussion).
DFS edge: The Bears defense leads the main slate with a 3.6 sack projection in our FantasyLabs Player Models against an abysmal Bills team that will be rolling out Peterman at quarterback.
Even if Mack doesn’t suit up, the Bears are still playable considering the Bills’ offensive line ranks 31st in adjusted sack rate, and Buffalo has an absurdly low 13.5-point implied team total.
Bet to watch: First Half Over 18.5
For the fourth time over the past two seasons, Peterman will get the start for the Bills. And if past performance is any indication, we could be in for a turnover fest.
Peterman in his career has dropped back to pass 95 total times and has 10 career interceptions and has fumbled the ball 3 times (including the playoffs), for a 13.7% interception or fumble result per dropback.
For a comparison, since the start of last season the worst QB according to passer rating has been DeShone Kizer (60.0). He has 572 dropbacks with 23 interceptions and 10 fumbles, an INT/fumble rate of just 5.8%.
Turnovers — if they’re not returned for touchdowns — often give offenses a short field and, as a result, can lead to more points than expected.
Even if Peterman stays turnover-free, another thing that can benefit this over: “Famous” Nathan throws the ball farther downfield (6.3 average pass yards at reception) than quarterbacks such as Aaron Rodgers, Andy Dalton, Matthew Stafford and Ben Roethlisberger.
Now for a look at the total, the full game over/under is 37 and the first half is set at 18.5.
Since 2005, betting the first-half over in games with a total of 18.5 or less has profited bettors 26.9 units (56% win rate).
When the game is played in November or later — after a team’s statistical profile has been developed and a total this low would be justified — the first-half over is 111-75-5 (59.7%).
And since 2012, when offensive production has increased, the over is 17-8 (68%), covering by 4.3 points per half. — Abrams
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.