Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 9:45 AM EST odds are subject to change.
Chicago +4 over Miami
1:00 PM EST It has been a tale of two seasons for Miami, first is the games that were played with a healthy Tua Tagovailoa and then there were those played with him out of the lineup. Last week was just Tua’s second game back after getting his bell rung a couple of times in games against the Bills and Bengals back in September. His return has the Fish back on the map and Miami’s passing game is getting a ton of attention with Tyreek Hill leading the NFL in receiving yards (961), while teammate Jaylen Waddle (727) ranks fourth. When you put up video game numbers like that, your public profile increases tremendously.
The Fish made a splash at the trade deadline, picking up pass rusher Bradley Chubb from Denver and running back Jeff Wilson Jr. from San Francisco. Those moves have the Dolphins’ stock on the rise, but it might take some time for Chubb and Wilson Jr. to get acclimated. For some perspective, the Cards traded for WR Robbie Anderson two games ago, and he has yet to make an impact. These teams have complicated playbooks and when a new player comes in mid-season, he’s like a fish out of water (pun intended).
The Dolphins are coming off a win and cover in Detroit, but that was one of the most misleading scores on the board in Week 8. Miami was down double digits at half time and anyone that had a ticket on them would have sold it for pennies on the dollar. Prior to last week, Miami struggled against the Steelers. After the Dolphins posted a 13-0 lead in the first quarter of that Sunday night game, they would only muster three more points. The Dolphins under Tua look good on paper with wins over Baltimore and Buffalo, but those games were way back in Week’s 2 & 3. The further we get away from them, the less they matter. However, when you are the 1 in the Bills’ 6-1, you get elevated by the pundits.
In reality, the Dolphins are on a dreadful 1-4 run against the point-spread in its last five games. We don’t care that Tua missed 2½ of those games, as his status was compensated for in the number. Last Sunday in Detroit, Miami was down 27-17 at halftime.
Chicago made one of the bigger deadline deals, bringing in receiver Chase Claypool from the Steelers. The Bears snagged the best WR available and blocked him from going to rival Green Bay. Well played. Claypool had his problems in Pittsburgh, but he was saying all the right things, "I'm a playmaker and I'm excited to make plays. I feel like I didn't have the full opportunity to show what I can do this year, but I think I've been able to show that in the past. I'm excited to be able to gain that trust with Justin, too, where he knows if he needs a play he can come to me." While he’s just one man, Claypool might just be what Justin Fields needs to spark the passing game. Even if Claypool does not hit the ground running this week, the Bears still sport the top rushing attack in the league and the opposing defense has to account/prepare for Claypool.
The Bears were big winners over the Patriots on Monday Night Football to end Week 7 where they were a 8½-point underdog. Last week, we backed the Bears in Dallas, taking back double digits, but we ripped up those tickets in a 49-29 defeat. That final score does not do the Bears justice, as they were in that game. It was 28-23 in the third quarter, but turnovers would kill any chance of the Chicago comeback. It’s no bother, as it gives us another opportunity to “stick with it” by siding with an undervalued team that is taking back more points than it should be on its home field. Early reports suggest that the Dolphins are going to be one of the most popular public plays this week. We trust that perception has been factored into this line.
Chicago +4 -106 (Risking 2.12 units - To Win: 2.00)