Taking Stock: Lions Enjoy Turkey Day Feast As Letdown Dooms Bears

bears lions

Dusty Streets

Tuesday, November 20, 2018 4:31 PM UTC

Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018 4:31 PM UTC

The Detroit Lions again open up the annual Thanksgiving NFL schedule, this year hosting the Chicago Bears at 12:30 p.m. ET at Ford Field. Let's take stock of the matchup and bet with confidence at SBRPicks.com.

Dusty's 2018 NFL picks record: 5-1

Chicago (7-3 SU, 7-3 ATS) at Detroit (4-6 SU, 6-4 ATS)Thursday, 12:30 p.m. ET (CBS)Free NFL Pick: Lions ATSBest Line Offered: Pinnacle

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3452819, "sportsbooksIds":[238,1096,19,1275,169], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

Welcome back to the rivalry that never sleeps. The Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions have faced each other at least once a year since 1930, making this the NFL's longest annual series. The Lions were called the Portsmouth Spartans in 1930, and they've been called far worse by their frustrated fans during the franchise's 61-year championship drought.

Although the Bears lead the series 98-74-5, more recent history shows Detroit in control with nine wins in 10 meetings the last five seasons. However, less than two weeks ago, the Bears pounded the Lions 34-22 in Chicago in a game that wasn't as close as the score indicated.

The Bears, on a four-game winning streak, opened this rematch as -3 road favorites. Bettors quickly pushed the number to -4 at most sportsbooks, with 59 percent of the money (at press time) on visiting Chicago to cover a third consecutive week against an NFC North rival. On Wednesday, about 24 hours before kickoff, Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was listed as "doubtful" because of a shoulder injury, meaning inexperienced veteran Chase Daniel will probably play. Bettors reacted quickly and reduced the point spread to 2.5.

The division-leading Bears have covered in four straight overall, while the last-place Lions are 5-2 ATS in their last seven home games. In fact, Detroit is 3-0 SU and ATS as home dogs this year.


Bull Market

Chicago's victory over Minnesota on Sunday night gave Matt Nagy a 7-3 record; the only Bears head coach who was better through his first 10 games was a fairly successful guy named George Halas (9-0-1). Halas' teams played great defense through the decades, and Nagy is seeing the same thing. You can count on Khalil Mack for a sack and forced fumble just about every week, sparking Chicago to No. 3 in total defense (314.4 yards per game) and No. 4 in scoring defense (19.5 points per game).

Chicago's offense isn't too bad, either, ranking sixth in points per game (29.4) although a pedestrian 16th in yards. Trubisky has been a threat with his legs as much as with his arm, rekindling memories of a Bears QB from the early 1970s who also wore No. 10:

[/]{"component":"video", "type":"youtube", "url":"https://www.youtube.com/embed/sBloFAxo7q0", "videoSize":"Large" }[/]

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has completed 66 percent of his passes, with 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions for the league's No. 24 offense. Two of his picks were against the Bears in Week 10, and he needs to be more careful in the rematch as Chicago has a league-high 27 takeaways. The Lions' defense could get a boost with the return of cornerback Darius Slay, who didn't play in Week 10.

More bullish factors to ponder:

  • Bears are 6-1 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.
  • Bears are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games vs. NFC teams.
  • Lions are 5-2 ATS in their last seven Thursday games.
  • Lions are 4-1 ATS in their last five games following an ATS win.

Bear Market

Trubisky hurt his right (throwing) shoulder against Minnesota, and Daniel is expected to get a Turkey Day taste of game action. Daniel outplayed Trubisky in the preseason, but that means nothing considering the latter's progress since the regular season began. Besides, Daniel has started two games and attempted 78 passes in his nine-year career, with only three throws since the start of the 2015 season. Jordan Howard, coming off consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons, has only 523 yards and a 3.4-yard average, but this might be his time to shine against the league's 24th-ranked rushing defense.

The Lions are as much a mystery now as they have been for the better part of six decades. This season, for example, they lost to the New York Jets but beat New England and Carolina. Leading rusher Kerryon Johnson (641 yards, 5.4-yard average) is out, so even more responsibility falls to Stafford, who has been sacked 30 times and now faces a defense tied for fifth with 32 sacks.

More bearish factors to ponder:

  • Bears are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games vs. a team with a losing home record.
  • Bears are 1-6 ATS in their last seven Thursday games.
  • Lions are 4-10 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
  • Lions are 0-4 ATS in their last four home games vs. a team with a winning road record.

Investment Strategy

Nobody likes playing on Thursday night following a Sunday afternoon game. The only thing worse is playing an early Thursday matinee following a Sunday night tilt, and that's the position the league put the Bears in after their game against the Vikings was flexed to primetime. It's the first time a team will play on Thursday (afternoon or night) after playing Sunday night. Brilliant move, NFL!

If ever a young team was in the perfect spot for a letdown -- on the road, on an extra-short week, with an ailing starting quarterback, against a revenge-minded rival, after a statement win on national TV -- this is it for Chicago. The Lions are in a great position for the outright victory , so getting points with Detroit is a sweet bonus for your NFL picks.

comment here