Dec 292012

Chicago Bears (9-6) at Detroit Lions (4-11)

Chicago is in a must win game here, but that doesn’t mean that this means more to them. The Lions would love nothing more here than to play spoiler and eliminate a division rival. However, unlike the Eagles against the Giants, I don’t really like the Lions here. The Bears have won every game this year in which they’ve been favored by more than 4 (going 8-0 SU and 6-1-1 ATS), but in their other 7 games, they’ve won just once, in Dallas, going 1-6 SU and ATS.

In their 7 games in which they’ve been favored by 4 or more, they’ve won 41-21, 23-6, 41-3, 13-7, 23-22, 51-20, and 28-10, 28-13, winning by an average of 18.2 points per game. 6 of those 8 wins were by 15 or more and only the game against Carolina was actually close. They shut out the Lionsfor 59 ½ minutes before they got a backdoor touchdown to push and finish 13-7.

The Lions aren’t 4 point dogs here because they are much better in things like net points per drive, DVOA, and weighted DVOA than their record would suggest, but they are as bad as the teams that the Bears have been 4+ point favorites over, just for a different reason. They just don’t seem to be able to close out games and win when anything is expected of them. As dogs of 3.5 or less or favorites, they are 3-10 ATS this season.

Furthermore, while they are better in net points per drive, DVOA, and weighted DVOA, we’re still not getting any real line value. The Lions may keep it closer than a lot of the bad record teams the Bears have faced this season (because they don’t have a lot of blowout losses), but the Bears should win and cover here as I don’t trust the Lions unless we’re getting a ton of points with them, especially without dynamic interior defensive lineman Nick Fairley (two big losses without him).

Public lean: Chicago (70% lean)

Chicago Bears 24 Detroit Lions 19

Pick against spread: Chicago -3 (-110) 2 units

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