On Sunday afternoon, Chicago and Detroit will look to shake the disappointment of subpar seasons a year ago, so let’s get right into our Bears vs. Lions betting preview to find out which team will get it done.
Last season wasn’t a total disaster for Matt Nagy’s squad. The Bears went 8-8, but their 29th ranked offense disappointed as Mitchell Trubisky failed miserably to take a step forward after an uneven 2018 season. It was that unit, specifically, that cost the Bears a shot at the postseason. To his credit, Trubisky was able to hold off newcomer Nick Foles in this summer’s quarterback competition, but he will need to get out to a fast start in his last gasp effort to prove he can be the man in Chicago.
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Speaking of last gasps, Detroit head coach Matt Patricia is running out of time to prove he can be the man to lead the Lions back to the postseason. After a disappointing 6-10 campaign a year ago, one that included nine consecutive losses to close the season, there should be absolutely no lack of urgency on either sideline this week.
Which one of these desperate-to-rebound squads will open with a Week 1 win? Let’s get into it with our Bears vs. Lions betting preview.
Bears vs. Lions Odds
If this game feels like a toss up to you, you’re not alone as oddsmakers would seem to agree. Detroit is favored by 2.5 points and -129 on the moneyline.
In terms of the total, it would seem oddsmakers aren’t quite sold on the idea of a Motor City shootout on Sunday afternoon given a fairly modest total currently sitting at 43 points. Let’s take a look at the current Bears vs. Lions odds as of Saturday afternoon.
|Bears||+2.5 (-110)||+114||O 43 (-110)|
|Lions||-2.5 (-110)||-129||U 43 (-110)|
|Bears||+2.5 (-115)||+120||O 42.5 (-110)|
|Lions||-2.5 (-105)||-142||U 42.5 (-110)|
Analysis: Throughout the summer and even as late as this week, some sportsbooks offered the Lions as a three-point favorite. Given this number has since moved off the key number of three, it indicates sportsbooks have received enough liability on the Bears that they need to create some interest on Detroit.
As for the total, this number was positioned at 44 points earlier in the week and is now under a key over/under of 43 at FanDuel.
Let’s dive into how the market odds compare with FiveThirtyEight’s popular ELO model.
Interestingly, the Bears are a 1.5-point favorite, according to the ELO projections. This means that in relation to the current market point spread, bettors are actually getting a considerable four points of point spread value on the Bears.
Moreover, Chicago is currently +114 on the moneyline at DraftKings, which translates to a 46.7% implied win probability. The current ELO win probability number for Chicago is 56%, meaning there’s also considerable moneyline value on the Bears in this one.
Where Is the Money Going?
Let’s take a quick look at the Bears vs. Lions betting splits.
As of Saturday afternoon, the Bears are receiving the slight majority of spread bets across reporting sportsbooks at 52%. However, they’re getting a considerable amount of the spread money at 69%. This tells us that early bettors who are wagering large amounts are on Chicago (which also helps explain why the spread moved off the key number of three from earlier in the week).
As for the total, bettors are split 50/50 in terms of percentage of bets. However, and I mean however, the overwhelming majority of the money is on the under at 86%. We will see if the weekend money continues to pour in on the same side. If it does, it’s possible this total gets down to 42 before kickoff.
How to Watch Bears vs. Lions
- Date: Sunday, September 13
- Time: 1:00 p.m. EST
- Location: Ford Field (Detroit, MI)
- Network: FOX
- Announcers: Kenny Albert (play-by-play), Jonathan Vilma (analyst), Shannon Spake (sideline)
- Radio: WBBM 780 and 105.9 FM (Chicago), 760 AM WJR (Detroit)
How to Bet on Bears vs. Lions
While states such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Indiana were able to bet on the NFL last season, now Illinois and Colorado bettors can legally wager on football, too.
If you live any of these states, there are some huge offers to know about ahead of all of the Sunday Week 1 action.
PointsBet Illinois is now live and has outstanding odds on the Bears vs. Lions game. With its “Crowd Booster” promo, the spread of the first three Bears games will be boosted five points for every 200 bets placed on Chicago. This means if 1,000 people bet on the Bears, the spread will move by 25 points. Therefore, IL bettors at PointsBet can create “no-brainer” odds on early Bears games.
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Bears vs. Lions Betting Trends
Note: All trends date back to the start of the 2003 season, unless otherwise indicated.
Why Backing the Bears Makes Sense
Matt Nagy has yet to lose to the Lions in four tries. Not only does he sport a perfect record against Detroit, which obviously includes two wins at Ford Field, but it is one of the few opponents Trubisky has had big-time success against. Last season in two starts, he threw for six touchdowns (out of 17 total) and just one interception while completing over 70% of his passes for 515 yards against the Lions.
Coaching Trends Mismatch
The Bears are 9-6 ATS as an underdog overall and 3-1 ATS as an underdog in NFC North games.
The Lions are just 1-5 ATS as a home favorite under Matt Patricia and 7-13 ATS overall.
Road underdogs of less than three points are 39-30-2 ATS in September and October.
Road underdogs of less than three points are 13-6 ATS in Week 1 games.
Teams that won six games or less the previous season and are Week 1 favorites are only 9-15-3 ATS.
A Note on the Total
The under is 18-13 in games that close between 42-43 points in Week 1. The under is also 7-3 in games coached by Matt Patricia with a closing total of 43.5 points or less. It’s 13-6 in games coached by Matt Nagy.
Bears vs. Lions Prediction
I’m not going to overthink this one too much.
I know there is some buzz about Adrian Peterson joining the Lions’ backfield, but I think that a 35-year-old can jump into the rotation after four days of practice says a lot about the state of the Lions’ running game. The Bears were miserable offensively a season ago, but Mitch Trubisky actually played quality football against the Lions in two starts, and I suspect he’s going to do enough here to stave off the Nick Foles buzz for at least one week.
Without fans, I don’t believe Detroit’s homefield advantage matters, and I trust Matt Nagy more than I trust Matt Patricia. The trends suggest short underdogs tend to have success early in the season, and the Lions have been a bad bet as a home favorite.
Add up all of those factors, and the Bears look like the right side to me.
In terms of the total, sharp money is hammering the under. Historical data suggests this is the way to go, but it’s a no-play for me.
Bets We Like
The Bears to win by 1-13 points at FanDuel Sportsbook (+185).
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Bears vs. Lions Pick
Bears +2.5 over Lions.