The Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders are flying across the pond for their game, and with my One Bet, $100, I like the under in this contest. It opened at 41.5 points and dropped to 40.5 at most sportsbooks. In Las Vegas, Station Casinos still have it at 41.
There are several reasons for this decision, the first being that neutral-site games tend to be low scoring. Of the past seven contests in London, five have put up 42 points or less.
Also, its not uncommon for one of the two teams that play these games to look sluggish, for whatever reason. The Raiders have been that team on two occasions. The first time was in Mexico City in 2017, losing 33-8 to New England. The second time was last year in London, losing to Seattle 27-3.
This year, Oakland is playing at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, as opposed to last year when they were at Wembley. I don’t think the change of venue, however, is going to help them.
Revenge Game for Chicago’s Mack?
Many were stunned when Oakland coach Jon Gruden sent All-Pro linebacker Khalil Mack to Chicago. It was a questionable move, made even more problematic when Gruden started complaining he didn’t have any pass rushers.
This will be the first time Mack will face his old team, and he hinted that he would love for Oakland to see what they are missing.
“You could say I’m suppressing the emotional side,” Mack said. “But the other side is to go out and make them pay for it.”
The second-year coach told reporters this week he didn’t want to revisit the past.
“I’m not going to get into all the drama,” Gruden said. “We wanted to sign Mack, OK? We didn’t want to trade him. I wish him the best. I’m not re-hashing all the drama. We wanted to have him. We couldn’t make it happen.”
Raiders Have More Problems than Mack
While Mack is the focal point of the defense, the Bears have other weapons to make quarterback Derek Carr’s life miserable. Gruden acknowledged that to reporters.
“Well, the problem is you’re not just scheming for him [Mack], Gruden said. “[Leonard] Floyd is not a bag of rocks, the guy is a great player. They have two of the best inside players in the league, and they have a great blitz scheme, so it’s easier said than done. Let’s put two guys on Mack. They blitz him up where you can’t get help, that’s why we brought in Trent Brown, that’s why we drafted Kolton Miller in the first round, those guys are going to have some tough snaps against a great player.”
Oakland’s defense is 21st out of 32 teams in total offense, and 26th in passing. Add in an aggressive defense against a shaky offensive line, and points should be at a premium.
Chicago Has Offensive Woes
The Bears aren’t an offensive juggernaut by any means. The team is ranked even lower than the Raiders. They are 30th in total offense, and 29th in passing.
Part of that is because of the problems at quarterback. Starter Mitchell Trubisky is out with an injured left shoulder. His replacement, Chase Daniels, has filled in well when he has started. Last week against Minnesota, he completed 22 of 30 passes for 195 yards with a touchdown.
Chicago coach Matt Nagy feels comfortable with his back up signal caller.
“I know Chase hasn’t had a lot of starts in the NFL, but he’s been in a lot of practices, he’s been in a lot of preseason games and he’s played a lot of college games,” Nagy said. “And so you put all that together, there’s a confidence and a trust in himself and you feel that.”
Why Chicago-Oakland will go Under
The combination of playing in London and a strong Chicago defense will be the reasons this will be a low-scoring game. Also, while Daniels is a competent back up, there’s a reason he’s not the starter. A solid game in London might force that conversation, however.
This game should be around 25 to 35 points, but I feel confident that it will fall well short of the under.