This betting trend doesn’t bode well for Bears’ chances against Commanders on Thursday Night Football

Rookie head coaches tend to struggle with Thursday night games

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus looks on during the first half against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022, in Chicago.

Matt Eberflus and the Chicago Bears will have a short week to prepare for a home meeting with the Washington Commanders on Thursday Night Football. And recent history would suggest that we should be concerned about the Bears’ chances of ending their two-game skid.

Dating back to 2015, rookie head coaches are 8-18 (30.8%) against the spread on Thursday Night Football via this article from Rookie head coaches are 0-2 ATS with a pair of outright losses in that scenario so far this season, both of which took place over the past two weeks.

Eberflus acknowledged on Monday that the short week changes how his team will prepare for Thursday’s game against the Commanders.

“I’ve been around for quite some time, and I would say that the best way to do it is to make sure the players are fresh,” Eberflus told reporters during his media availability on Monday. “Make sure they’re fresh. Do a lot of walk-throughs. We will do that, so we’ll have a walk-through today. We’ll have a walk-through the next day (Tuesday), and then we’ll have a practice that last day, the day before the game. It’ll be a quick, red zone-type practice with helmets on. And then it’s a lot of mental work.”

“So you gotta be prepared mentally,” Eberflus added. “Because you’re already almost in the 48-hour preparation. It gets pretty tight. And then you do a lot of things on the day of the game. We have some meetings and walk-throughs the day of the game because it is a night game. It’s at 7:15. You just try to prepare the guys the best you can in that time frame.”

To help provide context, first-year head coach Mike McDaniel and his Miami Dolphins suffered a 27-15 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday Night Football in Week 4. They were a 4-point underdog, and lost starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa early in that game.

Last week, Nathaniel Hackett and the Denver Broncos lost outright as a 3.5-point favorite in a 12-9 overtime defeat to the Indianapolis Colts. Not a single touchdown was scored in that game, but the Broncos certainly had their chances.

The context from both of these games is key to help highlight the problem with putting too much stock in trends. Each situation is usually different, and there probably was an argument that both the Dolphins and Broncos were the right side from a betting perspective.

That said, the theory behind rookie head coaches struggling on Thursday Night Football would make sense. It is a short week of preparation, and perhaps they are not as familiar with game planning during an abbreviated schedule.

Eberflus has guided the Bears to a 2-3 start in his first year at the helm. His team has been better in the second half, illustrating the staff’s ability to make in-game adjustments. The Bears have only surrendered one second-half touchdown and have outscored their opponents by a 50-23 margin over their final two quarters.

But they will need to be better from the start in a winnable game against Ron Rivera’s Commanders, who are 1-4 and on a four-game skid. Caesars Sportsbook, the official odds partner of Bet Chicago Sports, lists this game as a pick ‘em. So this game is truly a toss-up.

Are you willing to bet against recent history and back the Bears? If so, sign up with Caesars Sportsbook today to take advantage of their new-user offer before placing that first bet.

Kickoff is slated for 7:15 p.m. CT at Soldier Field and will be broadcast on Amazon Prime.

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Shane Jackson

Shane Jackson

Shane Jackson is the Sports Betting Content Director for the Shaw Media Local News Network.