NFL Betting Favorite: Denver -3.5
Tim Tebow is one of those NFL players that it seems like everyone either loves or hates, there really is no in between. He hasn’t put up big numbers, but he has this Broncos team winning games, and that really is the bottom line. The Bears are 7-5, but spirits aren’t high in Chicago after last week’s home loss to the Chiefs. The team is without Jay Cutler for the rest of the season. Can the Bears bounce back on the road or will Tebow and the Broncos edge out in front of the AFC west field?
Caleb Hanie has struggled mightily in his time as the Bears starting quarterback. Hanie is completing just 48% of his passes, and he has already thrown six interceptions compared to just two touchdowns. It certainly doesn’t help that the Bears continue to have offensive line problems. Gabe Carimi was a big part of the team’s rebuilding process on the line, but he is out for the season with a knee injury. Matt Forte has had another big season in the backfield. Forte is averaging an impressive 4.9 yards per carry. Unfortunately for Chicago, Forte is out until early January with a sprained knee. Look for Marion Barber to get a lot of carries in this one.
Chicago’s defense isn’t as dominating as it was a few years ago, but this unit is still full of savvy veteran players. Brian Urlacher continues to perform at an extremely high level. Lance Briggs is all over the field from his linebacker spot. Charles Tillman has emerged as the team’s top play maker in the secondary. Tillman has ten pass deflections and three forced fumbles this season. The Bears are giving up 20.2 points per game.
Denver started the season with Kyle Orton at quarterback, but now it is the Tim Tebow show. The Broncos are operating an offense unlike any other team in the league. The team is trying to utilize Tebow’s strengths by getting him involved in the running game as much as possible. Tebow continues to prove that he can run consistently in this league. He is averaging a stunning 5.7 yards per carry. Eric Decker has emerged as Tebow’s top target on the outside. Decker has 39 receptions and eight touchdowns on the season. Willis McGahee’s career has seen an impressive resurgence this season. McGahee has run for 886 yards this year, which already makes it his best year since 2007-2008.
Von Miller has proved to be a terrific addition to the Denver defense. Miller missed last week’s game, and he is listed as questionable for this one. Miller leads the team with 10.5 sacks, and he is an extremely difficult matchup for any offensive lineman. The Broncos defense was torched at the beginning of the season, but they have allowed 13 points or less in three of their last four games. Joe Mays is an underrated middle linebacker, and Wesley Woodyard has stepped up his game on the outside. Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins give this team a nice veteran presence in the secondary.
Both teams need a win in a big way right now. I think the defenses should have the upper hand here. Look for a close low-scoring game.
Free NFL Pick: Broncos/Bears Under 35.5
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