QB chaos in Raiders-Bears leads to sharp bet, major move on total

The Raiders are consensus 2½-point favorites over the Bears in Sunday’s game at Chicago’s Soldier Field after the line dipped from 3 on Thursday when quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was ruled out with a back injury.

A sharp bettor at South Point sportsbook wagered $50,000 on the Bears +3, though undrafted rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent will make his first start for Chicago in place of injured quarterback Justin Fields.

The Raiders will start veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer over rookie Aidan O’Connell, according to media reports.

“I don’t really know if that makes a difference to the line if it’s Hoyer or O’Connell. I don’t see too much change,” Caesars Sportsbook assistant director of trading Adam Pullen said. “Outside of Nevada, this figures to be one of the lighter bet games of the week. Whenever there are quarterback questions, the handle suffers.”

The consensus total of 37½ is one of three NFL Week 7 games in the 30s.

“We opened the line two weeks ago, and the early, early line was 1 and 46½,” Pullen said. “Now the total has plummeted nine points. That’s been the big move.”

That total was posted after the Bears scored a season-high 40 points in a win over Washington.

“That had a lot to do with it, and taking those two quarterbacks out, even though Justin Fields hasn’t had a great year and Jimmy G doesn’t light up the stat sheet,” Pullen said. “The Raiders’ offense hasn’t exactly been a juggernaut, and other than against Washington, the Bears’ offense hasn’t done a lot. Throw in the backup quarterbacks, and it’s a recipe for a low-scoring game.”

Chicago (1-5, 1-4-1 ATS) is the league’s best over team with a 5-1 over-under record, while the Raiders (3-3, 3-3 ATS) are the NFL’s best under team at 5-1.

Unders went 12-2-1 last week and have cashed at a 67.2 percent clip the last four weeks (41-20-1) and at a 60.2 percent rate this season (56-37-1).

“There are so many low totals now, it’s nuts,” Westgate SuperBook oddsmaker Ed Salmons said. “There’s always a cycle in this league. No matter how many rules they change, defensive concepts and athletes on defense always get ahead of the offense. Then they adjust the rules to get scoring back up.

“I’m sure they’ll do something at some point. This is really getting silly.”

Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said one reason for the rash of unders is subpar quarterback play.

“It’s a quarterback-driven league, and we’re looking at a lot of young, inexperienced quarterbacks right now,” he said. “The Bears really have an unknown entity in Tyson Bagent. He went to Shepherd University in Division II, set passing records and won the equivalent of the Heisman. But the speed of the NFL is much different.

“It wouldn’t surprise me to see this number go back up to 3 just because of the unproven entity at this point.”

The Raiders are the spread ticket leaders at Caesars and Station Casinos.

“I’m guessing we’re going to need the Bears on Sunday. But at this point it doesn’t look to be a big decision,” Esposito said. “It just seems like a much bigger game to the Raiders now, who at 3-3 have crept back in a little bit to the wild-card discussion.”

The Silver and Black are +340 underdogs at Caesars to make the playoffs.

Five of the Raiders’ games this season have been decided by seven points or fewer, and pro sports bettor Jeff Whitelaw expects another close one.

“I would bet the game will be within seven points in the fourth quarter,” Whitelaw said. “The Bears are an absolute mess. But the Raiders as favorites on the road aren’t a major bargain, either.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on X.

Player to score first TD

At Station Casinos

Josh Jacobs 3-1

Davante Adams +450

D’Onta Foreman +650

DJ Moore 8-1

Any other Bears player 8-1

Jakobi Meyers 10-1

Any other Raiders player 10-1

Cole Kmet 10-1

Darnell Mooney 14-1

Darrynton Evans 15-1

Travis Homer 15-1

Michael Mayer 20-1

Ameer Abdullah 25-1

Austin Hooper 25-1

Hunter Renfrow 25-1

Tyson Bagent 25-1

Aidan O’Connell 30-1

Tyler Scott 30-1

Robert Tonyan Jr. 40-1

No touchdown scored 50-1

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