Two coaches formerly joined at the hip will square off for the first time when Frank Reich and the Carolina Panthers face Matt Eberflus and the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football at Soldier Field in Chicago. Eberflus spent four seasons as Reich’s defensive coordinator (2018-21) in Indianapolis, turning the Colts from one of the worst defenses in the league into a top-10 unit. Eberflus, who became Bears coach in January 2022, is 5-21 so far in Chicago. Meanwhile, Reich, who was fired by Indianapolis in November 2022, is 1-7 in his first season in Carolina.
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
Carolina running back Miles Sanders is coming off one of his best games of the season. The former Eagles back averaged a season-best 6.5 yards per carry in Sunday’s loss to Indianapolis. He also averaged 7.3 yards per reception (on three catches), which was his second best average this year. On Thursday he faces a Chicago defense that has allowed running backs to average 10.5 yards per catch, the most in the league.
In addition, the Bears have been awful at home the last two years. They are just 3-10 in Soldier Field since the start of the 2022 season. Only the Cardinals (2-11) have a worse home record in the league. 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.