Bears vs Buccaneers Week 7 Picks and Predictions: Champs Too Good, Too Well-Rested for Chicago

The Buccaneers are coming off a mini bye week and hosting the Bears in Week 7. Tampa Bay is unsurprisingly the heavy favorite here — find out if it can cover against Justin Fields and Chicago with our NFL betting picks.

Last Updated: Oct 24, 2021 3:13 PM ET Read Time: 5 min
Leonard Fournette Tom Brady Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are rested and ready with the Chicago Bears making their way to Raymond James Stadium in Week 7.

The Bucs have enjoyed some added downtime since playing in Philadelphia last Thursday, which is perfect timing for a team licking wounds on both sides of the ball. Tampa Bay is laying 12.5 points at home this Sunday – the fourth time the defending champs have been double-digit chalk in 2021.

Here are our NFL betting free picks and predictions for Bears at Buccaneers on October 24.

Bears vs Buccaneers odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

Tampa Bay opened as 12.5-point favorites and was bet up to as high as -13.5 before coming back to the opener. The total hit the board as high as 49 points and has slimmed to as low as 47 with some books still dealing 47.5.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full NFL odds before placing your bets.

Bears vs Buccaneers picks

Picks made on 10/19/2021 at 1:00 p.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Bears vs Buccaneers game info

Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Date: Sunday, October 24, 2021
Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
TV: CBS

Bears at Buccaneers betting preview

Weather

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Key injuries

Bears: David Montgomery RB (Out), Deon Bush S (Out), Akiem Hicks DT (Out), Tashaun Gipson S (Out).
Buccaneers: Rob Gronkowski TE (Out), Lavonte David LB (Out), Richard Sherman CB (Out), Sean Murphy-Bunting CB (Out), Carlton Davis CB (Out), Antonio Brown WR (Out).
Find our latest NFL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Buccaneers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven home games. Find more NFL betting trends for Bears vs. Buccaneers.

Bears vs Buccaneers predictions

Chicago has been able to collect wins against some mid-tier NFL teams in 2021 but is well behind the curve when dealing with the league’s elite, losing to Green Bay, Cleveland, and the L.A. Rams by a combined score of 84-34. 

And while I like what we’re seeing from the Bears defense, all those efforts go down the crapper if the offense can’t put up points. That was the case in Week 6, with Chicago keeping Aaron Rodgers and the Packers within striking distance most of the game but the offense shaking out only two scores and 277 yards. Eventually, Green Bay broke away and covered the 6-point spread.

The Bears swap out the Windy City scenery for Tampa Bay this Sunday, facing a Bucs team off a mini bye following a win at Philadelphia last Thursday (failed to cover the -6.5 with a 28-22 victory). This will be just the second home game in five weeks for Tampa, which averages a league-high 41.3 points per game as a host.

Tom Brady played through a thumb injury last week, running a methodical offense that digested nearly 40 minutes of possession against the Eagles. Brady passed for less than 300 yards but the Buccaneers’ rushing game racked up 102 yards on 31 handoffs, helping Tampa pick up 27 first downs and go 7 for 13 on third down tries.

Chicago had issues slowing down the Packers' ground game – giving up 154 yards on 31 runs – this past weekend. If the Bucs bring that same balance on offense, it won’t matter how good the Chicago stop unit is, it will break. Tampa Bay is humming along, converting on 55.81 percent of third-down attempts the past three weeks for a league-high 36:59 TOP in that span.

Chicago had success hounding Rodgers in Week 6, checking him to less than 200 yards passing and finishing the game with three sacks. The Bears lead the NFL with 21 sacks, despite blitzing on just 16 percent of dropbacks and boasting a pass rush win rate of 40 percent (23rd). Collapsing the pocket and bugging Brady with just the front line has always been a key to slowing up the GOAT during his career.

On the other side of the ball, rookie QB Justin Fields faces a Bucs stop unit that’s starting to find the disruptive form that took the team to a championship in 2020. Tampa Bay has just 12 total sacks so far but nine of those have come in the past three games, in which the Buccos have allowed a stingy 269.3 average yards of offense against (fewest in that span).

Foes haven’t been able to run at all on Tampa (EPA per run of -0.248 ranks second lowest) which means the Buccaneers will put the weight of this Chicago offense on the green arm of Fields. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is going to have the youngster’s head on a swivel, bringing the blitz on 39 percent of its opponents’ dropbacks – the highest in the league.

This total has already trimmed as much as two points since opening but the value is still there with the Under in a matchup of two very sound stop units.

After a slow start to 2021, Tampa Bay running back Leonard Fournette is picking up momentum. 

He rushed for 81 yards in last Thursday’s win at Philly, and has rumbled for a total of 240 yards on 54 carries the past three contests after mustering just 92 yards on the ground in the first three weeks of the schedule. On top of those ground-and-pound efforts, the former LSU standout has reeled in 13 of 16 targets for 136 yards receiving in that three-game stretch. 

Packers RB Aaron Jones just shredded the Bears' defense for 76 rushing and 34 receiving yards in last weekend’s win at Chicago. Brady will keep the Bears guessing and Fournette will feast on the ground and through the air in Week 7.

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