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Second Helping: Cowboys Favorites Thursday Night at Bears

Cowboys Bears Week 14 Betting Preview

Turnovers and failure to convert in the red zone cost the Cowboys in their 26-15 Thanksgiving Day loss to the Buffalo Bills, which dropped Dallas to 6-6 straight up and 7-5 against the spread.

After the Bears’ lauded defense allowed the Lions’ third-string quarterback to rack up 14 points on Detroit’s first two possessions, Chicago surrendered just six points the rest of the game in a 24-20 Thanksgiving road win. The Bears improved to 6-6 SU but failed to cover -5.5 against David Blough to fall to 3-9 ATS.

Dallas Cowboys vs Chicago Bears

Opening Odds Analysis

The Cowboys opened as 3-point road favorites. Chicago’s moneyline opened at +158, and the point total opened at 44 before a consensus dip to 43. The total has gone UNDER in eight of the Bears’ last nine home games with an average combined score of 32 points.

Note: The OVER/UNDER is 13-25 in games starting after 8 p.m. ET this season.

Dallas is 0-2-1 ATS in its last three games as a road favorite of 3 or fewer points, but 6-2 SU in its last eight games after consecutive losses (NE/BUF).

Chicago was 1-1 SU and ATS as a home dog during the 2018 season, but this will mark the first time it’s happened this year. The Bears are 2-3 SU and 3-1-1 ATS when home dogs during the Mitch Trubisky era. The Bears are 6-2 ATS in their last eight night games.

Temperatures are expected to dip into the low 30s Thursday night.

Dallas News & Notes

As is the case with many teams this late in the season, the Cowboys head into this matchup banged up. Talented linebacker Leighton Vander Esch will miss another week due to a neck injury, while fellow LB Sean Lee injured his pec in the loss to the Bills and is probable for Thursday night. On offense, top receiver Amari Cooper took a helmet to the knee last Thursday but finished the game and an MRI found no structural damage. He’s expected to suit up against the Bears.

While the Cowboys have averaged 19.7 points per game during their last three games, they’ve been held to just 35 points over their past 10 quarters. The 3.5 points per quarter is nearly three points below their season-to-date mark of 6.48. When you break it down even further, Dallas’ 3.5 PPQ is more in line with its 3.9 points per first quarter as if the slow starts – against two stout defenses the past two weeks – are carrying over through the final three quarters.

The Bears have allowed 17.0 points per game over their past three.

If you looked blindly at the Cowboys’ stat line against the Bills, one would assume Dallas won handily. However, Dak Prescott’s two turnovers on top of red-zone meltdowns (2-for-4) and missed field goals (0-for-2) proved costly. Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 54 yards in the first nine minutes and 17 yards over the final 51. This one-dimensional offense can’t happen against the Bears, who have allowed 108.0 rush yards per game over the past three weeks.

Despite trying out new kickers this week, Dallas is expected to stick with Brett Maher (19 of 28 on field goals).

Chicago News & Notes

Winners of three of their past four games, the Bears are embracing the “not pretty, but effective” mantra.

While the Bears’ defensive reputation precedes itself, some recent offensive progression has been a pleasant surprise for those backing the Bears.

In Weeks 9-11, quarterback Mitch Trubisky completed just 57.4 percent of his passes for 162.6 yards per game. Over his past two games, wins over the Giants and Lions, Trubisky has completed 68.3 percent of his passes and averaged 308 pass yards per game. Now, the cynical analysis to this development is that the quality of opponent makes all this possible. However, I would argue Trubisky’s confidence was crushed after the loss to the Rams and these back-to-back performances provide the Bears some much-needed consistency on the offensive side of the ball. Plus, with Trubisky’s confidence boost comes a recent breakout on the outside.

Check out receiver Anthony Miller’s most recent three-game stretch compared to previous games:

Stat CategoryFirst Nine GamesLast 3 Games
Receptions Per Game1.87
Targets Per Game3.311
Rec. Yards Per Game24.290.3

With Allen Robinson still the Bears’ de facto No. 1 receiver, Miller should continue to face the opponent’s No. 2 defensive back and help Trubisky out now that the team’s top two starting tight ends are out for the season.

Betting Pick: UNDER 43

With the Cowboys -3, this suggests Dallas would be a 6-point home favorite against the Bears, which I don’t think is the case right now. I may sprinkle some on the Bears +3, too. The Cowboys are struggling to score points, while aside from two early scores last Thursday, the Bears defense continues to keep the opposition out of the end zone.

Shark Bites
  • The Bears are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games.
  • The Cowboys are 18-6 SU in their last 24 games as road favorites.
  • The Bears are 10-2-1 ATS in their last 13 games as home underdogs.