The 4-1 Chicago Bears are in a great spot to get their fifth win of the NFL season as they travel to Charlotte to take on the 3-2 Carolina Panthers (1pm ET Sunday, live on Fox).
The Carolina Panthers are easily one of the more surprising teams on the season thus far. They enter Sunday’s game on a three-game winning streak beating the Chargers, Cardinals, and Falcons as underdogs in all three games. The script flips this week as they are currently a slight home favorite versus the Chicago Bears.
The Bears are coming off their biggest win of the season against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. With that win they climbed to second place in the NFC North with a 4-1 record. They are on the heels of the 4-0 Packers who head to Tampa to take on the Bucs this week. Read on for our Bears vs Panthers predictions and betting picks.
Panthers’ Defense Isn’t Good Despite 3-2 Record
The Panthers are one of the better stories on the year with their 3-2 record on the young season. Many American-facing betting sites had their team total over/under 5.5 wins, which they should go over with ease. They are with a new head coach (first year Matt Rhule from Baylor), a new offensive coordinator (Joe Brady from LSU), and a new quarterback with veteran Teddy Bridgewater signing in the offseason.
This is quite an impressive feat with so many new faces and also the fact that they have been without star running back Christian McCaffrey for the last three weeks. McCaffrey was eligible to come off the IR this week but will miss another game due to an ankle injury. While the offense has been solid, the defense has left a lot to be desired.
The Panthers have been unable to generate a pass rush, which could be the difference in the game this week against the Bears. The Panthers only have five sacks on the season and rank 31st in the NFL with just a 13.5% pressure rate. They also aren’t the best against the run and just lost starting defensive tackle Kawann Short for the season as he is set to undergo shoulder surgery. The Panthers rank 31st in rushing yards allowed per attempt giving up 5.4 yards per carry.
This could be a refreshing afternoon for running back David Montgomery and the Bears’ rushing attack. Their run game has struggled but they have played two of the better rushing attacks the last two weeks (the Colts and the Bucs who rank first and second in defensive DVOA). Expect the Bears to be able to exploit the Panthers’ weak rushing attack and lack of pressure. This should be a breakout game for Nick Foles and Montgomery.
Our Preview’s Chicago Bears at Carolina Panthers Predictions & Betting Picks Verdict
We are going to be rolling with the Bears on the ML, which is currently at +105 after opening at +125 in some spots. In very early trading, the Bears were receiving 51% of bets but 80% of money. This is what caused the line to move from Bears +3pts when it opened down to +1.5.
We aren’t afraid of this movement and public backing. The Bears are the significantly better team. Their defensive has been solid on the season and rank 4th in the NFL only giving up an average of 20.0 points per game through five games. Expect the defense to be able to limit Bridgewater and the Panthers’ offense. This should be the biggest mismatch of the game and I expect the Chicago defense to thrive and put their offense in favorable spots. This seems to be a perfect spot for the Chicago offense to put on their best performance of the year. They are coming off a win in which they put up 20 points on one the better defenses in the Bucs.
The Bears are still only averaging 21.0 points per game, which ranks 27th in the NFL. They will need to take advantage of the lackluster Carolina rushing defense and their lack of a pass rush. Nick Foles should have all day to spread the ball around to the plethora of weapons that the Bears possess on offense.
Look for a breakout game from wide receiver Allen Robinson. He leads the team in receptions and receiving yards with 35 receptions and 421 yards respectively. Jimmy Graham is second on the team in both with 17 receptions and 169 yards. Robinson is by far the best and most explosive weapon on the offense and will look to get going with Foles being under little duress throughout the game. I think the Bears will win this game outright 27-20 which will cash us our ML ticket.
So the recommendation for the conclusion of our Chicago Bears vs Carolina Panthers predictions is this pick: