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Best Bets: Bears-Buccaneers picks against the spread, total, survivor pool and more

The season rolls on and our pickers are finding their groove, but how will they do on a short week?

NFL: OCT 04 Chargers at Buccaneers Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last week Sam and Jeff both hit the under in the Bears game but Jeff’s faith in the beloved bit him as the Bears couldn’t cover the 2.5 at home.

Apparently, being down on your team can occasionally pay off.

It could work that way again this week as the Bears are once again home underdogs, but we’ll get to that.

In the survivor pool, Jeff and Sam aced another week picking the Rams over the Giants, although it was closer than many probably picked. But a win is a win. Elsewhere, we lost all those sorry saps that couldn’t be bothered to make a pick and eight people took strikes. Half of them didn’t make a pick (Come on people!) but others took strikes on San Francisco, Houston, Jacksonville and Q’s Got All the Answers gets a shoutout for boldly taking the Jets. That’s Q’s second strike, so careful picking out there.

In the pick ‘ems contest Sam moved up to third place with 37 points after a strong 10-point showing last week. He remains behind WhiskeyRanger and MCMLXXXV (38 pts) and leaders Little G and Assy McGee (39 pts). Halas Haunters was the week’s highest scorer with 12.

Jeff is in 11th with 33, just ahead of Lester (32) and Opinion Bear (31) among the writers.

As for the Bears, well they face another stiff test with the Bucs, who are certainly on paper the best all-around team the Bears have played, with a high scoring offense to go with a stingy defense.

Can the Bears find something in themselves and on offense on a short week after an awful performance?

Bears vs. Bucs (-4.5, O/U 44)

Thursday, 7:20 p.m. CT, FOX

Sam: I don’t feel good about this game. I keep trying to imagine the scenarios of what could happen and I just don’t see many where it goes well for Chicago.

The Bucs have a very good defense, albeit with maybe some weak points in the secondary, but the Bears offensive line will have to be much, much better than they were against the Colts in order for Nick Foles to exploit those match ups.

The Bears as a home underdog are 2-3 under Matt Nagy but without crowds I’m not sure that stat means even that much.

I don’t feel great about this game, I think the hope is that the defense keeps Chicago in it for a while and the offense finds themselves a few openings to score. But I just don’t feel great about it.

The line opened Bucs -3, moved up to -5.5 and is now back down to -4.5. I just don’t think the Bears cover but I do think the under comes in. If you go under though, you may have to sweat it until very late.

In the survivor league I’m going back to the old well of “pick against New York teams” so I’m going with the Cowboys over the Giants, but like Jeff, I reserve the right to change it up until game time. Watch my Twitter page, I’ll announce any change there.

Picks: Bucs -4.5, under 44, Cowboys (survivor)

Jeff: Oh ye of little faith, Sam. Tom Brady’s crew comes into this one down a few of his top weapons on a short week coming off a big victory against the Chargers. I think the Bucs look like they could be a complete team, so I don’t mean to make this sound like it will be a cake walk, but the Bears have to know how important this one is if they want to keep pace in the NFC. Nick Foles starts to settle in and doesn’t have to worry about Mr. Buckner anymore and I can see the Bears offense rebounding enough to make the defense’s spirited effort against Tom Terrific hold up. Give me the Bears +4.5!

I want to agree with Sam on the under, I really do, because that’s how Bears teams like to win football games since well before I was born. However, Thursday games can get sloppy and players can get tired, understandably, after playing only a few days before. 44 is a pretty low number so I’m going against my instincts of always picking Bears unders and taking the over this week!

As for survivor, Sam has the right strategy but I’m going in the other direction. If the Cardinals can’t stop the bleeding and beat Joe Flacco and the Jets, they might as well not make the trip back to Arizona.

JB: Bears +4.5, Over 44, Cardinals (survivor)