London hosts the NFL for the first time this season as the huge American product heads to the New Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for its debut appearance in that part of the capital on Sunday as the Oakland Raiders host the Chicago Bears.
The storyline surrounding this match will focus on just one man – Khalil Mack – the defensive star who was surprisingly traded from Oakland to the windy city last term and who has been making that move look a little daft ever since.
The Raiders Nation has had it a little tough so far this season but after victory last week to level up their ledger there is a cause for some optimism, although already it looks like their division is going to be so tough that a postseason campaign is a bit of a pipedream. With that in mind, the best thing they might be able to hope for is progress, which under the long-term plan of Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden should be required naturally anyway.
The ironic thing about the Raiders this season is they are missing an elite pass rusher and a top level wide receiver, both of whom they traded away last term, seemingly with no intention of replacing them. Last week’s win over the Indianapolis Colts is encouraging but they will need to play a lot better here, especially on offense where their former man could return to hurt then badly. Their own defence has not been helped with the ban to Vontaze Burfict which sees him ruled out for the remainder of the campaign.
You could argue that it hasn’t been convincing for the Chicago Bears but nobody will mind that given that they are 3-1 for the season. With the pace that the Green Bay Packers are setting though, it is important for Matt Nagy and his men to keep on winning. They head to London with three wins on the bounce but at the same time they will be making the trip without first choice quarterback Mitch Trubisky due to injury.
Chase Daniel will be under center for the Bears at Tottenham but in truth it doesn’t really matter who the quarterback is. They play a solid if unspectacular game on offense and put the faith in their elite level defence to get the job done for them. No team has put up more than 15pts on the Bears this season but only the Washington Redskins have shipped more than 16pts against them. That is the Bears way right now.
I don’t think it will surprise anyone that I’m expecting a low scoring match here. I don’t see the Chicago Bears offense suddenly breaking out and going ballistic and at the same time I don’t expect the Oakland Raiders to feast on this Bears defence. This is going to be a tough, low scoring, hard to move the ball, typical London battle in many ways and the point line at 40.5 looks too high to be. One team may well need to score 30pts to cover that and I don’t see it happening.
I’ll also have a dabble on the Chicago Bears defence to notch a touchdown. I expect this Bears D to come out and show their worth. They will go hunting for Derek Carr and they will also be targeting some of these inexperienced offensive players for the Raiders. Near enough anyone in this Bears defence can find the end zone so the 7/1 on one of them doing so appeals here.
Back Under 40.5pts for a 4/10 stake at 1.91 with Coral
Back Chicago D/ST Anytime Touchdown for a 1/10 stake at 8.00 with Sky Bet