The Tennessee Titans (5-6) will try to get back on track and reach the .500 mark again Sunday when they visit the ailing Chicago Bears (2-8) as solid road favorites. The Bears are expected to be without starting quarterback Jay Cutler due to a shoulder injury and have gone 1-4 without him in 2016.
Point spread: This game opened as a pick’em; the total was 45.5 early in the week, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)
NFL pick, via Odds Shark computer: 25.6-23.9 Titans (NFL picks on every game)
Why the Titans can cover the spread
The Titans have dropped consecutive games only once this season, alternating wins and losses in their last six. They are 2-3 straight up and against the spread on the road, with wins over the Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins, so they can definitely win away from home.
Tennessee should also take advantage of a weakened Chicago offense playing without Cutler and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, who will sit out for the second game of his four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. The Titans have not been road favorites since 2013 but are 4-1 SU in their last five in that role.
Why the Bears can cover the spread
The Bears will start Matt Barkley in place of Cutler, and he will be asked to be a game manager, with the offense focused more on running the ball. That’s a good thing considering they will likely not win a shootout with the Titans and have an outstanding rookie running back in Jordan Howard, who is tied for the league lead in yards per carry (5.2).
Howard has been underutilized at times, and it’s no surprise that Chicago has gone 2-2 in games when he rushes for 100 yards. If the defense can play well and limit the Titans offensively, then the Bears can win with another strong effort from Howard.
Tennessee has lost four of the past five meetings with Chicago. And while the Bears are not in good shape physically, they would seem to have a coaching edge with John Fox, who has succeeded previously in Denver and Carolina with powerful running games.
Fox will lean on Howard and his defense, and the Titans are just 1-8 ATS in their previous nine road games versus teams with losing records. Cutler’s absence is overrated, so take Chicago to cover.
The total has gone over in four of the Titans’ last five games against the Bears.
The Bears are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 games.
The Titans are 1-8 ATS in their last nine games on the road against teams with losing records.
All NFL betting lines and point spreads data courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates and Odds Shark YouTube for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.