Panthers-Bears Thursday night: NFL betting odds, picks, tips

ByESPN Betting and Fantasy Analysts ESPN logo
Thursday, November 9, 2023

Week 10 gets started as the Carolina Panthers hit the road to play the Chicago Bears (-3.5, 38.5) on "Thursday Night Football."

So what can we expect from a betting standpoint on Thursday?

Betting analysts Tyler Fulghum, Eric Moody, Seth Walder, Anita Marks and Aaron Schatz are here to provide their thoughts.

Note: Odds by ESPN BET.

These teams are a combined 3-14 on the season but that doesn't make this a bad game to bet. How are you betting this one?

Moody: Since the Panthers and Bears rank in the bottom half of the league in total yards per game and points scored per game, and since this game is on Thursday, I'm gravitating toward the UNDER. So far this season, only three Panthers games have gone over the total,, as rookie Bryce Young is still getting acclimated to the NFL game. Also, the under has gone 22-7 this season in prime-time games. On Thursday night, I don't expect that trend to change.

Schatz: I end up with projected lines about even with the actual lines for this game, but if I had to bet something, I would go with UNDER 38.5. I don't believe Tyson Bagent is able to keep up his QBR over 50, and Young has a QBR under 30. Add in the Thursday aspect, and I think this one will be low scoring.

Fulghum: I agree with Schatz and Moody that it's a pretty comfortable bet to take the UNDER 38.5. Neither offense is all that compelling. Prime-time unders are a hot trend. They're hitting at a 61% clip over the past five seasons (including 10-1 on Monday night this season). It's very easy to see this game being won with just 17-20 points on the scoreboard. I have no strong lean on the side, but in a game we do expect to be low-scoring, having Panthers +3.5 in your pocket is also nice. I do think Bryce Young has a decent opportunity to bounce back against a pass defense ranked 28th in the league in yards per game allowed.

Bryce Young has been sacked 26 times in his seven starts as a rookie (fourth most in the NFL). Does that lead you anywhere as a bettor?

Moody: It's important to think about the opponent. The Bears rank 19th in pass rush win rate and last in sacks. Young's passer rating is 93.3 when he is not under pressure, but it drops to 43.3 when he is. With the Bears' defense allowing 2.2 passing touchdowns per game, the most in the league, bettors should consider Young over 1.5 passing touchdowns at plus odds.

Walder: I'm actually going Montez Sweat UNDER 0.5 sacks (+110). While it's true that Young has taken a lot of sacks, his 9% sack rate isn't quite at the Justin Fields/Sam Howell/Daniel Jones levels. Sweat had his best pass rush win rate game last week (25%) but his 9% average at edge still ranks 50th out of 56 qualifiers. My sack model gives the under a 52% chance of hitting Thursday.

Marks: I'm going to play a same game parlay: Bears ML, UNDER 42.5 points, Chuba Hubbard UNDER 43.5 rushing yards, and Young INT (at 4-1). The Bears have added motivation to beat the Panthers, considering they own their first-round draft pick, via the trade for Bryce Young. And the Panthers' offense is struggling with Young. They averaged only 3.9 yards per play against a bad Colts defense last week, and Young can't help but throw picks (seven this season), because he can't see over his offensive linemen. The Panthers, who already have the worst rush defense in the NFL, will be without top guysBrian Burns and CJ Henderson. The Bears have one of the best rush defenses in the league, holding opposing RBs to less than 45 yards per game.

Cole Kmet has had at least 42 receiving yards in four of the past five games. Does that make his receiving yards prop of 35.5 appealing against the Panthers?

Fulghum: It does, especially with Bagent at QB. Bagent has peppered Kmet with 18 targets the past two weeks, and I do think Kmet can expect five to seven targets from Bagent. If that's the case, the yardage prop is appealing with the OVER.

What's your favorite prop in this game?

Moody: Chuba Hubbard OVER 14.5 receiving yards. The Bears' defense allows the fifth-most passing yards per game to opponents. Chicago has also allowed 64 receiving yards per game and 8.2 yards per target to running backs. The Bears' defense also ranks last in the league in sacks. On Thursday night, Hubbard could receive a lot of checkdowns from Young.

Schatz: DJ Moore OVER 53.5 receiving yards. The Panthers rank 29th against No. 1 wide receivers, giving up an opponent-adjusted average of 79 yards per game. They rank fourth against No. 2 receivers and third against "other" receivers. You can get your main target open against the Panthers and feed him. Even Tyson Bagent will be able to do it!

Walder: Frankie Luvu UNDER 8.5 tackles + assists (-102). My model projects Luvu for 7.7 tackles + assists on Thursday, so I was already looking in that direction. But then I also noticed this story in the Charlotte Observer suggested Luvu would likely play more outside linebacker with both Brian Burns and Justin Houston out. That, I would think, should increase Luvu's chances to record a sack but decrease his expected tackle production.

Fulghum: Miles Sanders UNDER 36.5 rush + receiving yards (-122). Sanders signed a significant free agent deal this offseason, but the Panthers are using Chuba Hubbard now as the feature back in this offense, not Sanders. Hubbard has played 91 snaps the last two weeks coming out of the bye. Sanders has played 30. Hubbard has 37 touches. Sanders has 11. The Bears have a stout run defense, and Sanders could see as few as five touches in this environment.

Is there anything else you are playing on Thursday?

Walder:Bryce YoungUNDER 21.5 pass completions (-110). Largely a blind follow of my projection, which has Young at 20.4 completions for this game. But I think it makes sense: Young's season has gone poorly -- he ranks last in QBR -- and this could be a winnable game. The Panthers may hope to grind this out on the ground and hope they can disrupt Bagent enough to win through defense.

Fulghum:Adam Thielen OVER 67.5 receiving yards (-118). Thielen had his first real dud of the season against the Colts but is positioned for a nice bounce-back against the Bears. Chicago's pass defense is soft and Bryce Young is likely to target Thielen eight to 10 times in this game.