Welcome to the Thursday Night Football betting breakdown, where I’ll provide a betting overview of the upcoming Thursday Night Football game utilizing moneyline, points spread and projected total odds from DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook. Additionally, I’ll hone in on at least one player or game prop each week that I feel has profit potential at one of those three sportsbooks.
All betting takes will be classified as either a “lean” or a “pick”. A lean is a wager that we have a certain degree of certainty in. However, it’s one that still falls somewhere short of a high-confidence selection. A pick carries an additional degree of confidence based on a variety of factors. These include relevant injuries; past track record of each team in those bet types and under the specific conditions that apply; and recent performances of each team leading up to the game.
For more detailed information on this week’s matchup – including further game analysis, betting trends breakdown, betting tips specific to TNF, and a synopsis of the history of the line movement for the game, please see our Thursday Night Football Betting Preview over at TheLines.
Two teams that will never be accused of consistency face off in this late-season battle that has playoff implications for each, but notably more so for one. Both Dallas and Chicago have identical 6-6 marks. Yet they’re in different positioning as far as the postseason is concerned. The Cowboys are getting away with their mediocre mark because the rest of their NFC East mates are in even more dire straits than they are. Consequently, they’re still atop the division after two straight losses. The Bears have no such luck. Their .500 record has them about whether one would expect — on the postseason fringe, needing to win every remaining game and hoping for other matters outside their control to break their way.
One of the ironies of the Cowboys’ rather strange season is they’re seemingly in the process of squandering one of the best offenses they’ve had in years. The Cowboys check in with an NFL-best 432.8 yards per game overall, including 398.2 per road game. And, those numbers remain impressive despite Dallas having run into the buzz saws known as the Patriots and Bills defenses the last two games. The challenge posed by the Bears defense will be formidable as well, but not as much as in seasons past. Chicago has even been uncharacteristically vulnerable at times in Solider Field. They surrendered 24 and 36 points to the Raiders and Saints at home, respectively. Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and company will be at full health and looking to right the ship on their side of the ball after a difficult last pair of contests.
Bears fans have gotten a brief reprieve from Bad Mitchell Trubisky over the last couple of games. The oft-embattled third-year quarterback has thrown for 278 and a season-high 338 yards against the Giants and Lions. The caliber of competition certainly has to be taken into consideration, but Trubisky seems to have an encouraging connection going with second-year wideout Anthony Miller in particular. The Memphis product has a 21-271 line over the last three games. However, Chicago figures to have to work for everything it gets through the air. Dallas has allowed the eighth-fewest passing yards per game (215.2), including 204.3 per road contest. They’ve also yielded the sixth-fewest passing touchdowns (14) overall. The Cowboys are also one of the best teams in the NFC at applying pressure (33 sacks recorded). Meanwhile, Trubisky has suffered from protection problems and holding the ball too long at times (33 sacks taken).
Coach Matt Nagy could opt to lean on rookie running back David Montgomery, who he’s fed an average of just 14.3 carries per game this season, a good bit in this game. The Cowboys come in having shown some recent vulnerability to the ground game by surrendering 115.3 rushing yards per contest over the last three games. Montgomery could be primed for only his third 20-plus-carry workload of the season if he gets going early.
TNF Point Spread
The Bears admittedly have a dismal mark against the spread (outlined below), but this is a must-win. Meanwhile, Jason Garrett may have lost the confidence of his team to an extent and has a less-than-stellar track record in late-season scenarios such as these.
The Cowboys are 7-5 (58.3 percent) against the spread this season, including 4-2 (66.7 percent) as an away team.
The Bears are 3-9 (NFL-low 25.0 percent) against the spread this season, including 2-4 (33.3 percent) as a home team.
The Bears have a bit of confidence coming in, are at home, and need this win more than the Cowboys do. I’m in the camp of a cover for Chicago at minimum.
The Pick: Bears +3 at DraftKings Sportsbook
TNF Over/Under Total
As emphasized earlier, each team will come into this game with a full week of rest. That alone ups the chances of more offense than a late-season Thursday game might typically generate. There’s also the matter of the Cowboys’ No. 1-ranked offense being at full health and Dallas still averaging 25.8 points per game despite scoring just 24 combined against the elite defenses of the Patriots and Bills the last two contests.
The Over is 7-5 (58.3 percent) in the Cowboys’ games this season, including 4-2 (66.7 percent) in their away games. Then, the Over is 4-8 (33.3 percent) in the Bears’ games this season, including 1-5 (16.7 percent) in their home games.
The total shapes up as rather low in my view, given the reasons previously cited. Therefore, I’m in the camp of it being exceeded at least slightly.
The Pick: Over 43 points at FanDuel Sportsbook
Best TNF Prop Bet
Chicago Bears +2.5 and Over 42.5 points (+300 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
In line with my belief in a Bears cover and likely upset and the Over hitting, I like this prop at FanDuel Sportsbook. Thursday’s projected total has been exceeded in four of Chicago’s games this season, including four of its home contests. Meanwhile, eight of Dallas’ games have gone over 42.5 points, including four of its six road contests.