Detroit Lions (2-3) at Chicago Bears (4-1)
This week, I put the Bears 1st in my Power Rankings. With the exception of the Thursday Night loss to Green Bay, the Bears have looked great this season, winning every game by 16 or more and only surrendering 7 sacks in 4 games. While you can’t completely ignore what happened on Thursday Night Football, it’s unreasonable to put too much stock into one game when a team has had 3 days to prepare on the road.
In their other 4 games, with the exception of Jacksonville, who they destroyed in Jacksonville in a potential trap game, they’ve played good opponents. Dallas should be a playoff contender right until the very end. They beat them by 16 in Dallas. Blowout wins over Indianapolis and St. Louis didn’t look impressive at the time, but now they do. Jay Cutler is now 9-1 in his last 10 games, including 22-10 dating back to 2010, including the 2 postseason games that year. Every year, one team goes from out of the playoffs to a first round bye. At the very least, I think the Bears will do that. At most, they might just be the best team in the league, though there’s still a lot left uncertain.
The yards per play method of computing line value suggests this line should be -4.5, while the rate of sustaining drives method suggests it should be -8.5. Given that, it might not seem like there’s any line value either way, but those numbers are much higher if you take out Chicago’s horrific Thursday Night performance. Besides, Detroit has the worst special teams in the league this year, something neither of those metrics captures. I like the matchup of Devin Hester against their special teams.
With the exception of that Thursday Night game, Chicago has covered by 10 or more in each of their 4 games, all of which have been blowouts. That’s a very impressive feat and I’m sticking with the team I proclaimed to be the best in the league here on Monday Night Football, where Jay Cutler is actually 7-3 ATS in his career. Detroit still has a bunch of issues so Chicago should pick up another double digit victory rested off a bye. Chicago is also my survivor pick on a bad week for survivor.
Public lean: Chicago (new thing I’m adding, siding with the odds makers on bets is not a bad thing to do since they make so much money, so I’m listing this here to allow readers to “fade” the public, if they so choose, in this example, the odds makers win if Detroit covers)
Sharps lean: DET 15 CHI 4
Final update: No change, sticking with the Bears. I am, however, going to do a teaser of over 40.5 (normally 46.5) on the Buffalo/Tennessee game and Chicago -0.5 here for 1 unit. Assuming the over 40.5 hits, I can then hedge by taking the Detroit money line at +230 for a unit. That way, if Chicago wins, my teaser hits and I get +100 and lose 100 on the money line, so I don’t lose anything. If Chicago loses, I get the money line of +230 and lose 1 unit on the teaser, so -110, which equals out to be +120.
Assuming the over 40.5 hits in the Buffalo/Tennessee game, I can’t lose and it also allows me to somewhat hedge by Chicago +6.5 play. I like the over in the Buffalo/Tennessee game because neither of those teams can play defense as they rank 31st and 32nd in the league in points per game allowed and because games involving a team that just played a Thursday Night game go over 136 times and 97 times. In a 6 point teaser, that record improves to 184-52 for the over.
Sunday Night Update: I decided I’m not going to hedge. Confident in Bears to win because of how favorites have been doing this week (11-1 straight up, 7-4-1 ATS). It was bound to even out eventually.
Chicago Bears 31 Detroit Lions 17 Survivor Pick (HOU, NE, NO, BAL, SF, ATL)
Pick against spread: Chicago Bears -6.5 (-110) 2 units
Teaser: Over 40.5 Tennessee/Buffalo, Chicago -0.5