A matchup of a 1-7 team and a 2-7 team doesn’t exactly scream “prime-time excitement,” but this week’s Thursday Night Football game, with the Carolina Panthers travelling to Chicago for an 8:15 p.m. ET kickoff, has some interesting storylines. As always, it also offers opportunities to make a few dollars while watching NFL football, so let’s dive in.
The main storyline in this one revolves around Bears quarterback Justin Fields, who will miss another week of action due to a disclocated thumb. Fields got in some limited practice sessions this week, but he’s not quite ready to return so Tyson Bagent will get the start.
Bet on Panthers vs. Bears
Bagent threw three interceptions last week and the Bears lead the NFL in penalty yards whilehaving a running game in disarray. There’s a reason the Bears haven’t been more than a field goal favourite since 2021.
Then again, Carolina has its own problems under rookie quarterback Bryce Young and is coming off a two-touchdown loss at Indianapolis.
Panthers vs. Bears odds
|Panthers Moneyline Odds||+150|
|Bears Moneyline Odds||-170|
|Spread odds||Bears -3 (-110)|
|Over/Under||38 points (over -110, under -110)|
|Time/Date||Nov. 9, 8:15 p.m. ET|
About the Panthers (1-7 SU, 1-6-1 ATS, 3-5 o/u)
Young is coming off his worst game as a pro. He threw three interceptions in that loss in Indianapolis, two of which were returned for touchdowns, and has the worst QB rating in the NFL. That performance came against a Colts defence that entered the game ranked last in the NFL.
In fact, Young has been so shaky – with seven interceptions vs. eight touchdowns – that coach Frank Reich was asked this week whether he would stick with Young or go with veteran backup Andy Dalton. Reich said he was sticking with Young, the No. 1 overall pick last April.
Like a lot of rookie quarterbacks, Young also has been dealing with protection issues. Carolina has allowed 29 sacks, fifth most in the NFL. This game will be the meeting of a moveable object and a highly resistable force, since the Bears have one of the worst pass rushes in the NFL.
When Young has had success, it has often been by throwing to one of the more reliable possession receivers in the NFL. Adam Thielen, 33, has 62 catches for 610 yards, one of the few bright spots on a rather unproductive offence. Thielen has plenty of experience playing the Bears given his 10 years in Minnesota.
About the Bears (2-7 SU, 3-5-1 ATS, 6-3 o/u)
Oddly, the Bears benefit in next year’s draft if they win this game. That’s because they own the Panthers’ first-round pick in 2024 and this Panthers team has a legitimate shot of wrapping up the No. 1 overall pick, one that would be boosted by another loss here. Only 1-8 Arizona has a worse record at the moment.
The Bears are hopeful receiver DJ Moore can do what he did the last time they played on a Thursday night: go off. When they played Washington earlier this year, Moore had a career-high 230 yards receiving and three touchdowns. He hasn’t accounted for more than 55 yards in a game since. He’ll be facing his former team for the first time since the blockbuster March trade that brought him to Chicago.
The Bears’ defence has a hard time getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks and is last in the league with 10 sacks.
It’s hard not to zero in in Moore in this game, in part because he figures to be plenty motivated to show his former organization they made the wrong move trading him for the No. 1 overall pick, which it used on Young.
For the right to move up eight spots in the draft and nab Young, the Panthers traded away Moore and their top pick in next year’s draft.
In addition to motivation, Moore will have plenty of opportunity here. The Carolina secondary is struggling with both starting cornerbacks, Jaycee Horn and C.J. Henderson, ruled out for this game and both safeties listed as questionable. The convergence of those two factors and another showcase in prime time figures to put Moore in a good spot to put up gaudy numbers in this game, just as he did vs. Washington.
DJ Moore over 52.5 receiving yards
In addition to their secondary injuries, Carolina will be without OLB Brian Burns (concussion), LB Marquis Haynes Sr. (back), WR Laviska Shenault Jr. (ankle), and TE Stephen Sullivan shoulder). Safeties Xavier Woods (thigh) and Vonn Bell (back) both are questionable.
In addition to Fields’ status, the Bears are dealing with the absences of RB Khalil Herbert (ankle), WR Equanimeous St. Brown (hamstring), LB Tremaine Edwards (knee) and CB Terell Smith (illness).
It could be a lot worse in Chicago this time of year. Forecasts call for temperatures around 9 C at kickoff, with winds coming from the west, creating a crosswind of about 20 km/h.
- Bears’ games this year have averaged 43.5 points per game, 5.5 points higher than this game’s assigned total. Panthers games have averaged 43.4 points per game.
- This game represents only the second time the Bears have been moneyline favourites and they lost the other one.
- Carolina has covered the spread just once in eight chances.
Player prop trends
- WR Darnell Mooney is coming off his best game this season, having made five catches for 82 yards last week. He is +350 to score a touchdown at anytime and -110 to pick up more than 29.5 receiving yards.
- Panthers DE Derrick Brown has two player assists or more in seven straight games. He’s -190 to record over 1.5 assists in this one.
- Given Young’s preference for getting the ball to Thielen, he might be worth considering as an anytime touchdown scorer (at +210) here.
Wagers to consider
- The Panthers are awful and Young isn’t showing many signs of improvement. Combine that with Carolina’s banged-up secondary and Moore could have a big game here and it all adds up to a good spot to play the home favourite.
- As we mentioned, there are reasons to expect Moore to pick up a lot more than 52.5 receiving yards here (at -110).