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Chicago Bears vs. Las Vegas Raiders Odds & Game Pick (2021)

by October 8, 2021
Derek Carr

A couple of things I’ve been waiting to happen during the 2021 season finally happened. The Chicago Bears committed to Justin Fields as their starter, and the Las Vegas Raiders were exposed in primetime.

Apparently, Matt Nagy’s loyalty to Andy Dalton has reached its limit after the rookie Fields earned his first career win last week against the Lions. Meanwhile, the Raiders looked like a pedestrian 3-0 team in their loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday Night Football.

Now, these two teams collide with a line sitting in the betting “dead zone.” So which team do we back in this conference crossover? Let’s break it down:

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Details

  • Opening line: Las Vegas -3.5
  • Current line: Las Vegas -5.5
  • Total: 44

Bears look to build momentum around Fields 

The Bears have been an odd team through four weeks. In Weeks 1 and 3, the Bears looked entirely incompetent against two of the best teams in the league on the road. But in Weeks 2 and 4, the Bears put up solid outings at home.

While the team’s identity is still being defined, it appears Chicago has the makings of simply being mediocre. They’ll beat teams beneath them, but don’t quite have the talent to succeed against top teams. And unfortunately for Bears fans, that’s sort of what this team was built to do.

But at least there’s hope in the form of Fields, who was officially handed the reins this week. The Ohio State rookie didn’t have to do much work last week, as Chicago ran for 188 yards. After a dismal performance in Week 3, Chicago’s offensive line stepped up, allowing just one sack on 17 dropbacks.

Chicago is built to run the ball but will have to do so without lead back David Montgomery, who is out at least four weeks with a knee injury. Damien Williams and Khalil Herbert will take his place, and both could be capable of cobbling up decent production against a Raiders defense allowing 4.9 yards per carry.

With the Dalton drama out of the way, Nagy’s job will be to get his passing game fixed with a gameplan that’s more conducive to Fields’ capabilities. The Bears rank dead-last in passing DVOA and are averaging just 3.9 net yards per pass attempt. The offensive line and quarterback play have been shoddy, but Chicago has weapons to throw to in Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney.

Defensively, Chicago has been solid, ranking eighth in DVOA. What’s more impressive is they rank 10th in passing defense DVOA despite their young secondary.

The Bears could be shorthanded on Sunday in the front seven, as both Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks are questionable to play. Neither defender practiced Sunday.

Are the Raiders regressing?

This was the question in the back of my mind while watching the Raiders fall to the Chargers on Monday Night Football. After three straight wins over the Ravens, Steelers, and Dolphins, the magic ran out in Los Angeles.

Aside from a couple of drives in the second half, the Vegas offense was out of sync. The Raiders racked up just 213 yards and 13 first downs. They surrendered 380 yards, including 168 on the ground. The curtain was opened Monday night, and what stood behind it appears to be an average team rather than a playoff contender.

The advanced metrics seem to agree. Vegas ranks 22nd in offensive DVOA and 15th in defensive DVOA. After throwing for at least 382 yards in each of his first three games, Derek Carr reverted back into a pumpkin, throwing for just 196 yards against Los Angeles. The Vegas offensive line was dominated in the trenches. The Raiders gave up four sacks and only mustered 48 rushing yards on 18 carries.

Vegas also has issues in the trenches on the other side of the ball. The Raiders are giving up 4.9 yards per rush and rank 18th in run defense DVOA. That could be problematic against a Bears offense that’s built to run the ball.

Bottom Line 

This is another really tricky game on a really tricky slate. I admittedly don’t care for either of these teams. The Raiders feel like a fraudulent 3-1 team who could easily be 1-3. Meanwhile, the Bears are still a work in progress on offense with a rookie quarterback on the road and could without two of their best defensive players.

While I’m not a believer in the Raiders long-term, they should have enough to get past the Bears. The Raiders have been effective rushing the passer, and we all saw what happened when Fields faced immense pressure against the Cleveland Browns. Detroit didn’t have the pass rushers to expose Chicago’s porous offensive line, but the Raiders do. I’ll lean with the home team in a rebound situation.

The pick: Lean Raiders -5.5

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Matt Barbato is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Matt, check out his archive and follow him @RealMattBarbato.

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