The holiday season is officially upon us and there is plenty to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. Friends and family, good food, good times, and, of course, a hearty triple-header of NFL football to wager on.
I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite annual Thanksgiving traditions involves discreetly placing several wagers in the morning and then spending the remainder of day trying to hide my frustration over a punt from midfield on 4th and 1 when I’m riding heavy on the over. Indeed, it’s a true holiday classic. Anyway, for what feels like the 34th straight season, two bad teams kick things off with a fairly meaningless game that only a bettor could love, so let’s get into this one with our Bears vs. Lions betting prediction.
How to Bet on Bears vs. Lions
FOX Bet is offering a $25 risk-free bet on any bets for the Bears and Lions. New users can also get a $20 free with no deposit and $100 deposit match that you can grab here.
The same DraftKings offer is available for Indiana online sports betting.
Read more about NJ online sports betting.
Bears vs. Lions Odds
Here are the current Bears vs. Lions betting odds at some of the top legal online sportsbooks as of Wednesday afternoon:
|Bears||-4.5 (-106)||-225||O 37 (-110)|
|Lions||+4.5 (-115)||+190||U 37 (-110)|
|Bears||-4.5 (-110)||-225||O 37. (-110)|
|Lions||+4.5 (-110)||+190||U 37 (-110)|
|Bears||-4.5 (-110)||-230||O 36.5 (-110)|
|Lions||+4.5 (-110)||+198||U 36.5 (-110)|
FiveThirtyEight’s ELO point spread projections show some value on the Bears compared to the current legal sportsbook odds, even with the inflated line in the wake of Detroit’s quarterback instability.
ELO projects the Bears as a six-point favorite and calculates a 70% win probability. With Chicago currently favored by 4.5 points at most sportsbooks, the ELO projection suggests there is roughly 1.5 points of value on the Bears.
Bears vs. Lions Injury Report
Here is the final injury report from Wednesday afternoon:
Bears Injury Report
— Chicago Bears (@BearsPR) November 27, 2019
Chicago’s offensive struggles have been well-documented this season and now it will have to deal with two key injuries.
Wide receiver Taylor Gabriel, who has 29 catches for 353 yards and four touchdowns this season, won’t play after suffering a concussion in Chicago’s win over New York last Sunday. Also out is starting right tackle Bobby Massie (ankle). That’s bad news for an anemic Chicago offense averaging just 17.1 points per game this season.
Lions Injury Report
Wide receiver Marvin Hall and corners Jamal Agnew and Rashaan Melvin are each out, but the headliner here is the questionable status of quarterback Jeff Driskel (hamstring). If Driskel can’t go, the Lions will turn things over to third-string rookie David Blough. No offense to the Purdue product, but that would be a less than ideal situation for the Lions and football viewers everywhere.
UPDATE: Driskel is out. The line has jumped from Detroit +3.5 to +4.5.
David Blough will start at quarterback for Thursday’s game vs. Chicago. Jeff Driskel will serve as the backup quarterback. pic.twitter.com/4CoML7YMuK
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) November 28, 2019
On the other side of the ball, defensive linemen Trey Flowers, Da’Shawn Hand and Damon Harrison are also questionable.
Bears vs. Lions Prop Bets We Like
DraftKings Sportsbook excels with its player prop offerings. Here are two props that we like:
David Montgomery Over 52.5 Rushing Yards
You won’t get an argument from me that Montgomery has been a bit underwhelming during his rookie season, but I like him this week. Though he has failed to eclipse 40 yards in three of his last four games, he continues to get carries (he’s had no less than 13 attempts in any of his last five games). This week he goes up against a Detroit defense that struggles to keep running backs in check. In fact, the Lions have allowed the second-most fantasy football points to opposing backs this season and rank below average in DVOA run defense, while also yielding 120.7 rushing yards per game.
Mitchell Trubisky under 229.5 Pass Yards
Typically, I like to zig when everybody else zags, so betting on any positive Trubisky-related outcome fits that profile. But I’m going to go with conventional wisdom here. Trubisky has only eclipsed 229.5 passing yards four times this season, including only once in his last four games, which came last week against the Giants when he threw for a season-high 278 yards. Also problematic is that Detroit is 30th in passing yards allowed per game (275.5 yards), but without right tackle Bobby Massie and wide receiver Taylor Gabriel, I don’t see how Trubisky throws for an additional 57 yards more than his Week 10 output against the Lions to cash this over.
Note: DraftKings also has some other great player prop bet boosts that are worth a peak out for the value alone:
- Allen Robinson to Score First Touchdown (+845 from +750)
- Kenny Golladay to Score (+255 from +220)
Bears vs. Lions Betting Trends
Note: All historical trends date back to the start of the 2003 season, unless otherwise noted.
Why Backing the Bears is a Good Bet
Favorites Dominate in Thanksgiving day games
Favorites in the Dallas and Detroit Thanksgiving games are 23-9 ATS and favorites of 3.5 points or less are 11-4 ATS.
The Lions Aren’t Very Good (Including Thanksgiving)
I’ve always felt that the Lions tend to show up on Thanksgiving, but that’s not really the case. They are only 6-10 ATS on Thanksgiving and 2-10 ATS as an underdog, including 1-5 ATS as an underdog of 3.5 points or less.
The Bears are 0-5-1 ATS over their last six games, which is interesting because road teams that have failed to cover in six consecutive games are 10-2 ATS.
Late is Good for Division Road Favorites
Road division favorites of 3.5 points or less in November are 48-29-3 ATS and road division favorites of any spread are 110-81-10 ATS in November overall.
Road division favorites of exactly 3 to 3.5 points are 61-44-9 ATS in November games overall and 29-15-2 ATS in division games in November.
Favorites are 73-46-3 ATS in Thursday games played in November or December and favorites of 3-4 points are 24-18-2 ATS overall, 9-6 ATS as a road favorite, and 5-3 ATS in division games.
Why Backing the Lions is a Good Bet
In General, Contrarian Plays are Good
Usually, going against the public play is a good thing. The problem with that rule in this case is that teams with a heavy backing on Thanksgiving have performed well in recent years.
A Word on the Total
No opinion on the total–37 is an incredibly low number–but here are some notes to consider:
- The under is 65-54-3 on Thursdays in November or December and it’s 14-6-2 ATS when the total is set at 40 points or lower.
- The under has cashed in each of the Bears’ last six games against division opponents.
- The under is 52-41-3 in conference games on Thursdays in November and December and 40-26-3 in division games.
- The over is 14-4 in the Bears’ last 18 road games when playing an opponent with a losing record at home.
Where’s the Action Going?
As of Wednesday afternoon, 80% of all spread bets and 84% of the spread money is on the Bears at reporting sportsbooks. Meanwhile, only 27% of bets and 18% of the money is on the over.
Bears vs. Lions Prediction
Talk about a game that must be bet on simply because it is the game on television. Look, I guess I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bears do Bears things on offense and get beat by a Lions team that showed some promise prior to Matthew Stafford’s injury. At the end of the day, however, the Chicago defense has been outstanding lately and I expect it to take apart whoever starts at quarterback for Detroit, helping the Bears get back to .500 in the process. Although the money is pouring in on the Bears, driving this line up to -4 at some books as of Wednesday afternoon, I just can’t find any good reason to back the Lions.
Prediction: Bears (-3.5) over Lions