At some offshores, if you fail to cash a single position in a 10-team parlay, they’ll refund the money you laid on the bet. Basically, they’re laughing at you. Unfortunately, I earned that kind of derision last week, when all ten of my positions on the Bears-Packers game went south.
Call me a chump. Call me a buffoon. It’s not the first time I took the collar in a game, and it won’t be the last. Hey, sometimes you’re dead on and sometimes you couldn’t pick a winner with Biff’s sports almanac.
But the season’s young, so don’t quit on the Beloved or me just yet. Say what you want about Lovie Smith, but he’s been good at getting his team to bounce back from bad games. He’ll prove his chops in Week 3, and so will I.
QB Cutler: Total Passing Yards Over 250.5 (-115)
We’ll start our Week 3 breakdown with the quarterback you love to hate, now more than ever: Smokin’ Jay Cutler. Some people want him to apologize. Not me. J’Marcus Webb sucked, and Cutler called it like it was. More important, the play-calling stunk out loud, and adjustments weren’t made. Can’t blame Jay for that.
Cutler must go bonkers this week. If he doesn’t, then Bears’ fans can start to panic. St. Louis has conceded an average of 271.5 passing yards per game at 7.3 yards per throw. Matthew Stafford went for 355 yards and rookie Robert Griffin III got 206 yards. Both connected on 50-plus yard strikes downfield. If they can do it, Jay and his crew ought to do the same or more. It’s put up or shut up time, hoss.
QB Jay Cutler: Total Completions Over 21.5 (-115)
Stafford completed 32 of his 48 overall passes against the Rams in Week 1, and RG3 completed 20 of his 29 overall passes last Sunday. That equates to gaudy 66.7 and 68.9 completion percentages for the duo, and the Redskins rookie is hardly the polished passer that Cutler is.
St. Louis paid absolutely no attention to the Lions tight ends in that Week 1 match-up, as Pettigrew reeled in five catches on 10 tries, while Scheffler pulled in five on eight. The trio of Kellen Davis, Kyle Adams, and Evan Rodriguez have been afterthoughts in the Bears’ attack thus far, but Mike Tice would be wise to call their numbers this week. I think he will, and they’ll help cash this prop cashes with ease!
Total Sacks of Jay Cutler in Week 3: Under 3 (+105)
Jay gets tossed around like a ragdoll one week, and the O-line bounces back the next, right? Right? Remember back in 2010 when the trio of Cutler, Hanie, and Collins were thrown to the ground 10 times in that Sunday night beatdown in the Meadowlands, coaches made some adjustments and there were only three sacks the following week. St. Louis is not Green Bay. They’ve got only two sacks heading into this game, I like the return if they match that mark.
RB Michael Bush: Total Rushing Yards Over 67.5 (-115)
Matt Forte won’t go this week, which makes Bush the Bears bell cow for Week 3. I can live with that. To date, the Rams have given up an average of 129.5 rushing yards per game, but that includes the 82 yards it gave up to RG3. Versus running backs, the unit surrendered just 62 yards to the Lions Kevin Smith on 13 carries, but Detroit threw the pigskin 48 times in that game.
However, against an evenly balanced run/pass Washington offense, the Rams were gouged for 89 yards on 16 Alfred Morris carries. The running lanes should be wide open for Bush who averaged just under 110 yards in the nine games he started for the Raiders last season; look for the big man to grind his way past this disrespectful market price.
Will WR Brandon Marshall Score a Touchdown: Yes (+100)
You saw it. I saw it. Everybody saw it. I still have no clue how Marshall wasn’t able to reel in what looked to be a catchable pass from Cutler that would have brought the Bears to within six points of the Packers early in the third quarter. Marshall was an absolute no-show last week (2 catches for 24 yards), but he was stellar in his home debut, reeling in nine catches for 119 yards and a score. With Rams CB Cortland Finnegan sure to be giving him an earful, he’ll no doubt want to shut him up. He’ll make the catch this week.
Will Both Teams Make an FG from 37 Yards or Longer: Yes (+200)
Absolutely love the return on this one. The Bears will be in the red zone plenty, and Robbie Gould has proven to be good on just about anything from less than 55-yards out. He’s a lock within 40 yards. This Greg Zuerlein rookie has been nothing short of money for St. Louis so far, converting all six of his FG attempts, with a long of 48. He should take care of this end of the bargain some time in the first half before the game gets away from his teammates.
WR Brandon Gibson: Total Receptions Over 3.5 (-105)
If you’re a fantasy player, you know WR Danny Amendola had a game for the ages last week, especially if you’re in a PPR league. The former Texas Tech Red Raider hauled in a whopping 15 passes for 160 yards and a score. In doing so, he became Chicago’s Public Enemy No. 1. That will allow for Gibson to shine. He’s snagged six overall passes on nine targets and caught a TD pass in each of the Rams first two games. With the defense paying less attention to him, he’ll certainly be better than halfway towards cashing this prop before he pops up on Chicago’s radar.
Chicago Bears Total Points Scored: Over 25.5 (-115)
Even though the offense was humbled last week and I’m still nursing bruises, I’m going to stick to my guns and say this offense will rank amongst the leagues top five at season’s end. St. Louis does not have the pass rush or experience in the back seven to limit the Bears. Right Mike Tice? Right? You’ll notice that this market point is exactly what the Bears have averaged in scoring their first two games, and I only expect that figure to increase as the season goes along.
St. Louis Rams Total Points Scored: Under 18 (-115)
Sam Bradford has been a nice surprise to start the season, completing 71.7 percent of his throws for 508 yards to go along with a TD/INT ratio of 4:1. That output has however come in the comfy confines of a dome where the Rams are always more comfortable. Stephen Jackson’s availability for this one is still up in the air, which could leave the bulk of the carries for rookie RBs Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson (whose motor and quickness impressed me last week).
With the Rams O-Line already giving up six sacks, Bradford will be under duress. His front wall also enters banged up. While the Rams have some nice pieces to their offensive attack, the unit as a whole leaves plenty to be desired, and with the Bears having extra time to heal up for this game, the outlook does not look good. As long as Chicago holds onto the pigskin and doesn’t kill itself, St. Louis shouldn’t top this number.
Chicago Bears (-7) -110
I’ve gone back and forth on this one. But as long as the Bears don’t kill themselves with turnovers and play their game, they should be able to name the score (how about 34-13?). St. Louis looks to be different team under new coach Jeff Fisher, but it’s young and hasn’t played outside a dome yet this year. In its six games played outside last season, St. Louis went 1-5 straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) and lost by an average of 20.6 PPG.
Both Detroit and Washington showed how to tattoo the Rams, but the Lions couldn’t stop turning it over and the Redskins piled up injuries. If Cutler avoids picks and if Bush rumbles, St. Louis just might wave the white flag early.
This is a big one for Chicago. If the Bears want us to believe, they need to prove themselves now. Chicago is 9-2 straight up and 8-3 against the spread in its last 11 divisional games and a moneymaking 16-8 ATS after losing to the Packers dating back to 1992. Prior to last week’s clash at Lambeau, the Bears were installed 10.5-point home chalk on the advanced spread. That’s great line value and a major overreaction to just one game.