The National Football League offers a triple header feast for Thanksgiving today. The action starts at 9:30 a.m. Pacific Time when the Detroit Lions host NFC North Division rival Chicago. The Bears, who won their division last year after four straight last place finishes, have only flickering playoff hopes this year while sitting in third place in the four team division with a 5 and 6 record.
The Lions are the team behind them. After a promising start to their year, Detroit is buried in last place with a 3-7-1 season mark.
Six weeks into this season one might have expected the Lions to be a threat all year long. They opened with a tie in Arizona, not an impressive result, unless you consider that they were a bet on road favorite and rolled to a 24-6 lead after three quarters. The 27-27 tie in Arizona, was followed by a Lions win in their home opener the following Sunday, 13-10, over the Los Angeles Chargers.
Following a third week victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, the Lions lost close games to a pair of teams considered among the best in football, the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers. Detroit had two wins in their first three games and a four-game point spread winning streak entering play in the seventh week of action.
They haven’t beaten the point spread since, have only one win over their last eight games, that a five point victory in Detroit over the New York Giants.
So, what happened to the Lions promising start?
Today, they are forced to open a new can of quarterbacks because longtime starter Matthew Stafford is still sidelined and his backup, Jeff Driskel, was injured in last week’s road loss to the Washington Redskins.
What we have here is a wounded Lions team against a Bears squad that has had trouble scoring all year long. In his third season, Chicago Quarterback Mitch Trubisky is raising more doubters than supporters based on his 2019 play. After leading the Bears to the playoffs last year, this season Chicago’s signal caller has shown no signs of growth, but rather a couple major steps back.
His passer rating is a career low 80.5, nearly 15 points below the 95.4 rating he gained last year while throwing twice as many touchdowns as interceptions, 24-12. This year, Trubisky has connected for only 10 TD’s through the air, and Chicago has scored only 188 points, only the Redskins have scored fewer in the NFC.
The Bears down year is textbook, often when a team has a breakthrough year after a number of poor campaigns, they take a step back the following season. This is caused by high expectations for a team inexperienced at winning. This pattern consistently has teams in the position of the 2019 Bears with a point spread record even worse than an off year straight-up. Chicago is 3-7 versus the point spread this season with only one point spread win since September. That victory came against this very same Detroit squad, who they beat by seven points in Chicago three weeks ago while giving 6½ points on the spread.
Still, although the Bears have struggled this season, the betting world has them listed as an expanding road point spread favorite this week. The opening line on this game had the Bears favored by one point, a line public betting had pushed up to 3½ points before yesterday’s announcement that undrafted and untested quarterback David Blough would be making his NFL debut.
With the news that both Stafford and Driskel are out, and Blough will face the still respected Chicago defense, the line ballooned to the Bears favored by 5½ points.
The Dallas Cowboys host the Buffalo Bills in the day’s second game, and the Atlanta Falcons entertain the New Orleans Saints in the nightcap.
But for wagering purposes, only one of the trio of games slated for this Holiday offer a clear edge … not so much a wager on Detroit but clearly a bet against Chicago as a road favorite.
Qoxhi Picks: Detroit Lions (+5½) over Chicago Bears