NFL Betting: Fickle Public Should Prefer Lions Over Bears

Jason Lake

Tuesday, December 6, 2016 8:51 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016 8:51 PM UTC

The Detroit Lions have been laughed at more than once in recent years, but they should be the popular NFL pick for Sunday's game against the incredibly bad NFC North rival Chicago Bears.

Season Record: 21-17-1 ATS, 4-8 Totals

What's this? The Lions are in first place in the NFC North? Pretty sure that wasn't in the script ... let's see, yup, the Lions opened at +7500 over at Bovada to win Super Bowl LI. This team has played some very bad football in the new millennium, but there have also been surprise trips to the playoffs in 2011 and 2014; if the Leos can hold onto their current lead, this will be their first division title since 1993 back when it was the Central.

The betting public is catching on, too. Detroit has become one of the NFL's more popular teams as the wins keep piling up, and it's pretty much a given that the Lions will be the preferred choice for Sunday's home matchup (1 p.m. ET, CBS) with the Bears, who are dead last on the public money charts at press time. The sharps aren't waiting for the weekend, though – as soon as the lines went up, they were 100 percent on Chicago as a 9-point road dog on the Week 14 NFL odds board.

Jay Walking

Maybe they should have waited. All that action on Chicago (3-9 SU, 5-7 ATS) has driven the spread down to eight points at most locations. The fine folks at FiveThirtyEight have Detroit (8-4 SU and ATS) winning Sunday's game 82 percent of the time, for an Elo-based spread of 10.5 points. Even if the betting public acts according to profile this week, the Lions probably won't end up anywhere close to -10.5.

Then again, maybe there's some hidden value in the Bears. We've defended Jay Cutler more than once in this space, but he's actually having a bad 2016 campaign after years of being unfairly maligned; in limited action, Cutler's efficiency stats at Football Outsiders put him somewhere in between the Jaguars' Blake Bortles and Rams' Case Keenum. Ouch. Cutler's out for the season with a torn labrum, so maybe Matt Barkley will be an improvement ... ah, who are we kidding. Barkley's even worse than Cutler at this point in their respective careers. Let's put Detroit in our NFL picks instead at this new, low price and may the prolate spheroid be with you.

NFL Free Pick: Lions -7.5Best Line Offered: Intertops

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