NFL Thursday Night Football betting preview: Bears at Packers

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (-7.5, 46)

While there are many questions surrounding Aaron Rodgers’ performance this season, the Green Bay Packers have a bigger issue on their hands heading into Thursday’s home game against the Chicago Bears: health. Running back Eddie Lacy is nursing an ankle injury in a backfield that could be reduced to undrafted rookie practice squad member Don Jackson and newcomer Knile Davis, who was acquired from Kansas City for a conditional draft pick on Tuesday.

“It’s part of the NFL landscape, and it’s obviously a big challenge when you’re on a short week,” Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said of Davis’ task to hit the ground running. “But he’s definitely a talented young player.” McCarthy used wideout Ty Montgomery out of the backfield in Sunday’s 30-16 loss to Dallas, with Rodgers overthrowing an open Randall Cobb in the end zone to underscore his issues with accuracy. Former two-time NFL MVP Rodgers hasn’t struggled in his last four encounters with Chicago, throwing 14 touchdowns against one interception for a 127.0 passer rating. While Rodgers feels the Packers are “close” to righting the ship, the Bears are sinking despite rookie running back Jordan Howard rolling up 335 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns in his first three career starts.

TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, CBS, NFL Network.

LINE HISTORY: The Packers opened as big 9-point home favorites over their NFC North rivals from down the road in Chicago. On Tuesday that -9 was dropped all the way down to -7.5 after news that Green Bay running back Eddie Lacy will likely be unavailable for Thursday’s game. The total hit the board at 47 and was dropped a single point to 46. View complete line history here.

WEATHER REPORT: Partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid-40’s are in the forecast for Thursday night in Green Bay. Wind will not be a factor at 2-3 mph and it should be a perfect October night for football.

INJURIES:

Bears – LB L. Floyd (Prob Thurs, calf), LB J. Freeman (Prob Thurs, wrist), TE Z. Miller (Prob Thurs, ribs), RB K. Carey (Prob Thurs, hamstring), LB S. Acho (Ques Thurs, personal), CB T. Porter (Ques Thurs, knee), CB B. Callahan (Ques Thurs, hamstring), QB J. Cutler (Doub Thurs, thumb), NT E. Goldman (Doub Thurs, ankle), CB D. Hall (Early Nov, ankle), WR E. Royal (Out Thurs, toe), G J. Sitton (Early Nov, ankle), RB J. Langford (Early Nov, ankle), LB P. McPhee (Ques Thurs, knee), LB R. Robertson-Harris (Ques Thurs, illness), WR K. White (Elig Week 13, leg), LB L. Houston (I-R, knee), WR M. Wilson (Elig Week 8, foot), LB L. Barrow (I-R, foot), OL N. Becton (I-R, shoulder), DL E. Ferguson (I-R, shoulder), LB D. Mason (I-R, undisclosed), OL H. Grasu (I-R, knee), QB C. Shaw (I-R, leg), DB B. Boykin (I-R, undisclosed).

Packers – T B. Bulaga (Prob Thurs, back), WR R. Cobb (Prob Thurs, back), WR J. Abbrederis (Prob Thurs, thigh), RB K. Davis (Ques Thurs, concussion), S C. Banjo (Doub Thurs, hamstring), WR D. Adams (Doub Thurs, concussion), CB D. Randall (Out Thurs, groin), CB Q. Rollins (Out Thurs, groin), RB E. Lacy (Out Indefinitely, ankle), RB J. Starks (Mid Nov, knee), TE J. Cook (Early Nov, ankle), C C. Linsley (Doub Thurs, hamstring), CB S. Shields (Elig Week 15, concussion), DT T. Kuder (I-R, undisclosed), CB M. Dorleant (I-R, undisclosed), RB J. Crockett (I-R, shoulder).

ABOUT THE BEARS (1-5 SU, 1-5 ATS, 3-3 O/U): Brian Hoyer is the first quarterback in team history to record four consecutive 300-yard passing games and looks to exploit a Green Bay secondary that could be without three of its top cornerbacks — Sam Shields (concussion, injured reserve), Damarious Randall (groin) and Quinten Rollins (groin). Cameron Meredith reeled in 11 receptions for 113 yards in a 17-16 loss to Jacksonville on Sunday and fellow wideout Alshon Jeffery added 93 yards receiving for the Bears, who are seventh in total offense and fourth in passing offense. Veteran Eddie Royal (toe) missed Tuesday’s practice while tight end Zach Miller (team-leading 31 receptions) is nursing bruised ribs.

ABOUT THE PACKERS (3-2 SU, 2-2-1 ATS, 2-3 O/U): Wideout Jordy Nelson failed to reach the end zone for the first time this season on Sunday and has just 106 yards receiving over his last two games, but is averaging 140.3 yards in his last three meetings with Chicago. Fellow wideout Cobb reeled in a touchdown reception last week and has six scores in his past five games versus the Bears. Montgomery collected a career-high 10 receptions last week and could see plenty of action given the Packers’ backfield woes and the expected absence of wide receiver Davante Adams (concussion).

CHEERLEADER WAR:

Neither one of these teams has a cheerleading squad, so we’ll just go with super-hot internet girls wearing each team’s jersey.

TRENDS:

* Bears are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
* Packers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a double-digit loss at home.
* Over is 4-1 in Bears last 5 road games.
* Under is 8-1 in Packers last 9 home games.
* Bears are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 meetings.

COVERS CONSENESUS: 56 percent of Covers picks are on the Packers to cover at home while 56 percent of totals wagers are on the Over.

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