After a pair of back-to-back pre-season winners last week, we’re back at it again for some big Week 3 exhibition games. Tonight’s encounter features the new-look Chicago Bears, under the guidance of Marc Trestman, travelling to Oakland to do battle with the basement occupiers of the AFC West, the Oakland Raiders. Though these teams are likely headed in vastly different directions come the regular season, Week 3 games during the pre-season are always intriguing as the starters usually play the longest before next week’s final days of rest. Read on below for game details and an official selection for tonight’s contest.
Bears at Raiders Betting Odds:
Chicago Bears -3.5 (-110)
@ Oakland Raiders +3.5 (-110)
Over 38 (-110)
Under 38 (-110)
Betting odds provided from Bovada.lv
Bears at Raiders Pick:
The key to successful pre-season NFL handicapping is assessing both how long each team’s starters will play for, as well as the quarterback depth on both sides. For tonight’s tilt between the Bears and Raiders it’s expected that both coaches will give their first-teamers a lengthy look. Chicago’s new head coach from the Canadian Football League, Marc Trestman, has already come out and said his starters will feature for “at least the first half.” Chicago’s offense has looked shaky thus far through the first two games and the much-maligned Jay Cutler needs to improve in order to quiet the doubters heading into Week 1 of the regular season. Cutler needs to make better decisions with the football, and going against Oakland’s defense should provide a much-needed remedy.
For the Raiders, it promises to be another long season in northern California for the silver and black. This Oakland squad is a mess, and expect this pre-season game to really highlight that. Going against a playoff-contending team like Chicago will present all sorts of challenges for Oakland, and with many injuries already within their first-team, the Raiders will be in tough tonight. Matt Flynn is a great unknown in that Oakland attack. Is he one of the NFL’s worst quarterbacks, or is he good enough to be a middle-of-the-line starter? Tonight’s game should provide some clarity on that. If Flynn is to be effective tonight against Chicago, he’ll need his offensive line to really step up. The Raider’s O-Line was atrocious in every way last week and against a ferocious and explosive Chicago defense, they’ll need to improve. The Raiders conceded seven sacks, against New Orleans, making it seems like the Bears will have a field day with them.
Expect both teams’ starters to play into the second half. Chicago is the better team in every regard, and look for their heralded defense to lead the way. The Raiders can’t block, can’t protect, and can’t score, a perfect storm for Chicago domination. Beyond Cutler, the capable Josh McCown will take over, and he remains a decisive upgrade over Oakland’s Terelle Pryor. Look for Chicago to cruise in this game. 3.5 points isn’t enough, and look for the Bears to beatdown on a hapless Raiders squad.
PICK = Bears -3.5 (-110)