The two teams that shook up this year’s NFL Draft with one of the biggest trades of the offseason will collide when the Chicago Bears host the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football at Soldier Field. In March, the Panthers traded receiver D.J. Moore and a package of picks to Chicago for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, which the Panthers used to select quarterback Bryce Young. The Bears ended up using the No. 10 pick to select tackle Darnell Wright, who has started all nine games this season. Bears quarterback Justin Fields is inactive with a thumb injury.
Kickoff is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. ET. Chicago is a 3.5-point favorite in the latest Panthers vs. Bears odds while the over/under for total points scored is 38. Before you make any Bears vs. Panthers picks or NFL predictions, you need to see what SportsLine expert Larry Hartstein has to say, considering his mastery of picks involving Carolina.
A former lead writer for Covers and The Linemakers, Hartstein combines a vast network of Vegas sources with an analytical approach he honed working for Pro Football Focus. Hartstein tied for 52nd place (out of 1,598 entries) in the 2022 Westgate Las Vegas SuperContest, going 53-34-3 against-the-spread. Those selections form the basis of his SportsLine NFL best bets, which are 52-37-1 ATS since the start of last season. He also is 18-8 (+922) in his last 26 picks involving the Panthers. Anyone who has followed him is way up.
Now, Hartstein has set his sights on Bears vs. Panthers and just locked in his picks and NFL predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see his picks. Here are several NFL odds and betting lines for Panthers vs. Bears:
- Panthers vs. Bears spread: Chicago -3.5
- Panthers vs. Bears over/under: 38 points
- Panthers vs. Bears money line: Chicago -163, Carolina +138
- CHI: T.J. Edwards ranks second in the NFL in tackles (100)
- CAR: Adam Thielen is sixth in the league in receptions (62)
- Panthers vs. Bears picks: See picks at SportsLine
Why the Bears can cover
Chicago’s run defense has vastly improved since last season. Last year, the Bears ranked 31st in the league in rushing yards per game allowed (157.3). This season, they rank fourth (79.7). The 77.6 rushing yards per game difference is the best year-over-year improvement by any team since the 1973-74 Patriots.
In addition, Chicago faces a Carolina defense that will be missing two more starters. Coach Frank Reich said Tuesday that linebacker Brian Burns and cornerback CJ Henderson will not play after leaving Sunday’s game against Indianapolis with concussions. The loss of Burns is particularly significant, as the 6-foot-5, 250-pound linebacker leads the team in sacks (five) and is well on his way to his fifth straight season of at least 7.5 sacks. See which team to pick here.
Why the Panthers can cover
The Carolina offense has a favorable matchup on Thursday against Chicago’s pass defense. The Bears rank last in the league in sacks with 10, which is five fewer than the next-worst team, the Giants. Chicago also ranks 31st in quarterback hits and opponent passer rating (103.3). The team also gives up a 70.2 completion percentage, which is 30th in the league.
In addition, the Bears will once again be without starting quarterback Justin Fields. The former first round pick had shown signs of improvement before he dislocated his thumb in Week 6 against the Vikings. On Thursday, the team will again turn to undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent, who has committed six turnovers combined over the last two weeks. See which team to pick here.
How to make Bears vs. Panthers picks
Hartstein has analyzed this matchup and while we can tell you he’s leaning Under on the point total, he has discovered a critical X-factor that has him jumping all over one side of the spread. He’s only sharing what it is, and which side to back, at SportsLine.
Who wins Bears vs. Panthers on Thursday Night Football, and which critical X-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Bears vs. Panthers spread to back, all from the expert on an 18-8 roll on picks involving Carolina, and find out.