Thursday’s early game, the Bears at Lions, features a matchup with a lot of history. Despite their records, these two teams always present intriguing football lines. Dating back to 1934, the Lions have always played on Thanksgiving Day.
Both teams could start their backup quarterbacks for this one. So to kick off the festivities, let’s get a closer look at the best wagers for Week 12.
Injuries have played a vital role in the Bears’ fortunes recently. The defense gave a massive effort in a last-minute loss to the Ravens last week without four starters. It’s the second game in a row that Chicago came out short at the end, losing to Pittsburgh the week before.
It’s hard to blame the defense for these two losses. When the offense only has the ball for 26 and 21 minutes, respectively, the defense will wear down. Dalton was only 11-23 for 201 yards, but he did have two touchdown passes. So this week, Chicago’s offense will need a better effort from backup Andy Dalton and company.
The Chicago Bears won the first meeting in Week 4 by a score of 24-14. But since then, they have struggled to complete sixty full minutes of solid football.
It isn’t clear yet how long Justin Fields will be out with a rib injury. And rumors are swirling about the future of head coach Matt Nagy, so there are many unanswered questions going into a winnable game.
Last week, the Detroit Lions spotted Cleveland 13 points in the first half and nearly came back to win. Coupled with the previous week’s tie game in Pittsburgh, signs are encouraging. The Lions have had a rough season, but a first win could be on the horizon.
Head coach Dan Campbell said Jared Goff has looked good in practice after missing a game. If Jared can start on Thursday, the Lions have a better shot against the injured Bears. But Goff has taken 26 sacks for the season, so the Lions will need to make sure he’s 100% before putting him in and risking another injury.
The Lions’ defense has kept the team in games recently. Detroit was giving up more than 31 points per game before holding Pittsburgh to 16 points and Cleveland to 13. Detroit has also been better at forcing turnovers the last two weeks, with five compared to eight all season.
Slow starts leave the offense without enough clock time to catch up. Jared Goff will need to get loose early against a Bears defense that has played him tough his entire career.
Bears at Lions (+3)
It appears that Jared Goff expects to start this game against the Chicago Bears. If that is the case, the Detroit Lions are in better shape physically.
Chicago’s defense gave a massive effort last game. But with only four days to rest, it might be asking too much for another big game without their starters. So Detroit’s primary goal will be to control the ball.
Andy Dalton is a capable replacement for Justin Fields at quarterback. But the receivers don’t seem in sync yet with a different style of signal-caller, so it’s not surprising that the spread is only a field goal.
With two defenses that know how to keep games close, the over-under of 41 feels about right. Plus, these offenses both struggle to score points, so I’m going with the under for this Week 12 game.
If there were ever a chance to get the first win this season, the Bears at Lions looks like a good spot for me. So I’m going to bet the money line of +145 for a Detroit win. But, of course, I’m also going to parlay that with the Lions to cover the three points.
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