Week 5 of the 2023 NFL season opens up with a prime-time matchup between two NFC teams, as the Washington Commanders host the Chicago Bears in Landover, Maryland. Last year’s meeting between these two squads on “Thursday Night Football” was dramatic to say the least, as the Commanders needed a goal-line stand in Chicago to secure the victory.
The Bears are coming off of a disappointing 31-28 loss to the Denver Broncos in which they blew a 21-point lead in the second half. Justin Fields set career highs in passing completions (28), passing yards (335) and passing touchdowns (four), but that didn’t matter, as what should have been a celebration in Chicago last Sunday turned into a disaster.
As for the Commanders, they are coming off of an overtime loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. A loss is a loss, but Sam Howell rebounded from a horrid showing against the Buffalo Bills to throw for 290 yards and one touchdown. What will happen this week? Below, we will break down this Thursday night matchup from a gambling perspective, including examining the line movement, Over/Under and player props to consider. First, here’s how you can watch the game.
All NFL odds are via Caesars Sportsbook (unless otherwise noted)
How to watch
Date: Thursday, Oct. 5 | Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
Location: FedEx Field (Landover, Maryland)
Stream: Amazon Prime Video
Follow: CBS Sports App
Odds: Commanders -6.5; O/U 44.5 (via SportsLine consensus odds)
This line opened up WAS -5.5 on Sept. 27. This past Sunday night, it was bet down to WAS -4.5, but ended the night at WAS -6. On Monday, the line was bet up to WAS -7, but fell all the way to WAS -5.5 on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the line moved up to WAS -6, and now it sits at 6.5.
The pick: Commanders -6.5. The Bears are on a 14-game losing streak, which is the longest active streak in the NFL. They’ve also allowed at least 25 points in those 14 games and blew a 21-point lead to the Broncos on Sunday. That game was wild, as it appeared the Bears were on their way to an incredible victory. But then mistakes on both sides of the ball combined with poor coaching decisions ruined it. Now, the Bears have to rebound on a short week on the road with a coach firmly on the hot seat.
Washington has a pretty clean injury report heading into this matchup while Chicagosafety Eddie Jackson and cornerback Jaylon Johnson. The Commanders are 6-1 ATS in their last seven meetings against the Bears, while Chicago is 2-8 ATS in its past 10 prime-time games. Chicago hasn’t covered the spread once this season, so I’ll take the Commanders to cover in front of a sold-out crowd.
The total opened at 42.5 on Sept. 27. On Sunday night, the total rose to 44.5.
The pick: Over 44.5. The Over has hit in all four games for the Bears this season, and they are the only team in the NFL to have had that happen. The final score when these two teams met last year was 12-7, but I can just about guarantee you that won’t happen again. The Commanders and Bears are two of four teams allowing an average of 30-plus points per game this season. I’m not ready to say this game will turn into a full “Pac-12 After Dark” shootout, but it’s fun to root for points, so I’ll lean Over.
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Justin Fields player props
Passing touchdowns: 0.5 (Over -264, Under +184)
Passing yards: 193.5 (Over +100, Under -137)
Passing attempts: 27.5 (Over -115, Under -119)
Passing completions: 16.5 (Over -115, Under -119)
Longest passing completion: 34.5 (Over -113, Under -121)
Interceptions: 0.5 (Over -129, Under -106)
Rushing yards: 46.5 (Over -129, Under -106)
I won’t take Fields’ passing touchdown number with that kind of juice, but I will lean Over on his passing yards at plus money. Fields has thrown for at least 211 yards in three out of four games played this year. I don’t think I’ll touch Fields’ passing attempts or completions number, but I’ll take the Under on longest passing completion and for him to throw an interception.
Sam Howell player props
Passing touchdowns: 1.5 (Over +104, Under -142)
Passing yards: 241.5 (Over -117, Under -117)
Passing attempts: 31.5 (Over -119, Under -115)
Passing completions: 21.5 (Over -127, Under -108)
Longest passing completion: 36.5 (Over -119, Under -115)
Interceptions: 0.5 (Over +110, Under -151)
Rushing yards: 13.5 (Over -137, Under +100)
Howell has only thrown two touchdowns in a game one time this year, but I’ll lean Over at plus money. Actually, give me the Over on Howell’s passing yards, passing attempts and completions, too. I won’t touch Howell’s longest passing completion number or his interception prop, but I do like him to rush for at least 14 yards. This could be a big game for Howell.
Props to consider
D.J. Moore receiving yards: Over 50.5 (-127). The Bears are having a tough season, but Moore has actually been solid. He’s averaging 75.3 receiving yards per game on 4.8 receptions, and he caught eight passes for 131 yards and a touchdown against Denver’s porous defense last week.
Terry McLaurin receptions: Over 4.5 (-142). McLaurin has crossed this number in three out of four games. He caught eight of 10 targets for 86 last week against the Eagles.
Joey Slye made extra points: Over 2.5 (+114). The plus money makes me want to take a flier on this. Slye has made three extra points in two out of four games this year. Against this defense, it’s worth it.