Chicago Bears (4-7) at Detroit Lions (7-4)
The Lions are in a nice spot here, after a very tough and unrewarding road trip that sent them to Arizona and New England, who are a combined 18-4. Teams that lose back-to-back road games are 43-25 ATS in their next game as long as they still have a winning record and they’re home favorites. It makes sense. Any team that is able to lose two road games and still have a winning record and be favored at home was probably pretty good to begin with and may be undervalued off of those two losses. It’s a nice bounce back spot for the Lions.
While the Lions are coming off of a very challenging stretch, they’re about to start a very easy stretch as they host the Bears, the Buccaneers, and the Vikings in consecutive weeks. They’ll be very focused to get back on track this week and teams are 61-47 ATS as home favorites before being home favorites again in their next two weeks. On top of that, they could be double digit home favorites next week against the lowly Buccaneers, which would open up a couple other trends. Teams are 98-80 ATS since 2008 before being double digit home favorites. That doesn’t seem that powerful, but it’s way more powerful when a team is home favorites before being double digit home favorites and their opponent will next be home underdogs, as is the case here. Teams are 27-10 ATS in that spot since 1989. The early line for Detroit/Tampa Bay is 9, so that trend might not be in play, but it’s worth mentioning and the logic could still hold. The Lions have no real distractions on the horizon.
The Bears, meanwhile, have to host the Cowboys next week, speaking of them being home underdogs next week. Divisional road underdogs are 58-71 ATS before being non-divisional home underdogs. The early line on that game is 3 and teams are 57-89 ATS before being 3+ point home underdogs since 2012, as a game like that represents a big distraction. That line may end up being less than 3, so that trend isn’t definitely in play, but again it’s worth mentioning and the logic still holds. The Bears have a much more challenging game next week than the Lions and that bodes well for the Lions’ chances this week.
However, I’m not confident in the Lions at all because the advanced numbers suggest they aren’t as good as their record. The Lions move the chains at a 69.47% rate, as opposed to 71.00% for their opponents, a differential of -1.53% that ranks 19th in the NFL. The Bears, meanwhile, rank 14th, moving the chains at a 75.21% rate, as opposed to 73.94% for their opponents, a differential of 1.27%. The Lions have had a tough schedule, but I don’t trust their offense to cover this line, even against the Bears’ weak defense. Golden Tate and Calvin Johnson are powerful outside weapons, but they can’t run the ball, their offensive line is a mess thanks to injuries, they have nothing at tight end or over the middle, and Matt Stafford has been erratic this season. I’m taking the Lions because the trends say to, but I’m not confident at all.
Detroit Lions 27 Chicago Bears 19
Pick against the spread: Detroit -7