Bears vs. Lions Odds & Pick: Bet on a Slow Start for These NFC North Rivals (Sunday, Sept. 13)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images. Pictured (L-R): Roquan Smith (58) and Ty Johnson (31).
- The Detroit Lions have fallen to 2.5-point favorites ahead of their Week 1 matchup against the Chicago Bears.
- What should we expect from Sunday’s Week 1 matchup? Where is the betting value?
- Check out Reed Wallach's full preview and analysis with updated odds below.
Bears vs. Lions Odds
The Lions and Bears open the season with an NFC North showdown in Detroit.
The Lions hope that a healthy Matthew Stafford will be able to utilize a host of weapons to get the Lions back to the postseason while the Bears are just hoping that Mitchell Trubisky can find his 2018 form.
If Trubisky’s struggles continue, expect him to be on a short leash with newly-acquired quarterback Nick Foles ready to slide in under center.
The Bears enter 2020 uneven. The defense was one of the best units in the league last season while the offense regressed negatively.
Anchored by Khalil Mack, Chicago ranked toward the top of the league in most defensive metrics.
Despite being in the bottom-10 in blitz percentage, the Bears still managed to hurry the quarterback at a top-four rate. Chicago did let Leonard Floyd go, but the team inked Robert Quinn to a big deal to replace the former first-round pick.
However, at times Chicago struggled to force turnovers, ranking 19th in takeaways last season. The Bears were also near the bottom of the league in finishing plays in the backfield and finished in the bottom third in tackles for loss and quarterback hits.
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Chicago’s metrics seem skewed, and I think that some better luck in the turnover department is in order with defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano back. Furthermore, the Bears return much of their fantastic secondary that limited big plays in 2019. Eddie Jackson and Kyle Fuller anchor a secondary that also added second-round pick Jaylon Johnson.
The offense is the real problem.
Trubisky fell off a cliff after his strong rookie start, seemingly losing all confidence and battling some injuries in 2019. The Bears brought in Foles for a bit of competition but nonetheless named Trubisky their Week 1 starter.
Chicago is lacking many elite weapons for Trubisky to use, Allen Robinson notwithstanding. But Trubisky’s biggest issue is his inability to get the ball downfield. He averaged 9.6 yards per completion in 2019, which ranked 32nd in the NFL.
Chicago opted to load up on tight ends in the offseason, bringing in Jimmy Graham and using its first pick on Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet. The Bears could use some more downfield options for Trubisky to stretch the field, but it does not appear that Chicago added those weapons for 2020.
Stafford was having a career season before a back injury derailed his — and the Lions’ — 2019 season.
However, Detroit did see excellent progression from Kenny Golladay, who appears ready to become a true No. 1 wide receiver (although he is dealing with a hamstring injury in the run-up to Week 1). And T.J. Hockenson looks like a promising target for Stafford at tight end.
Detroit did use its second-round pick on running back D’Andre Swift out of Georgia. He joins a crowded backfield, but this could be an injury-prone running back corps: Swift has been battling a hip injury in camp — his status is up in the air for Sunday — and incumbent starter Kerryon Johnson has missed 14 games over his first two seasons. Detroit signed Adrian Peterson for some injury insurance this week, so he might see some work in Week 1.
The offense figures to be a strong point for the Lions, who could have the most explosive unit in the NFC North, but the defense is going to need to take a step forward.
This was a poor defensive front that was constantly pushed back by the opposing front seven. Per Football Outsiders, Detroit ranked last in stuffed percentage, which is the percentage of runs where the running back is tackled behind the line of scrimmage. This could be a good setting for David Montgomery to get off to a strong start after a disheartening rookie campaign.
The secondary does not figure to be much better. The Lions traded stud corner Darius Slay and were in the bottom-third of the league in getting off the field on third down. Detroit must hope that offseason addition Desmond Trufant still has something left in the tank at corner to help No. 3 overall pick Jeff Okudah along.
Luckily, Chicago is not flush with receiving talent.
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This line shifted from an opening spread of Detroit -1 to the Lions as steady 3-point favorites with a total at 42.5, which is right around where I make the side and total.
Special teams play may be an underrated factor in this matchup. Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro — who struggled in 2019 — was placed on the IR this Tuesday, and the team signed Cairo Santos. Santos was 4-of-9 in five games for the Titans in 2019, so the Bears suddenly went from inconsistent to very inconsistent in the kicking department entering Week 1.
Contrast Chicago’s kicking woes with Detroit’s always reliable Matt Prater — The Lions can be counted on to score when they pass the Bears’ 35-yard line, whereas the Bears are far from a sure thing.
With the full-game odds right on the mark for me, I’ll look to the first-half under. The first half total is set at 21.5, and I expect to see a slow start from both offenses, especially in a divisional setting and given Chicago’s lack of explosiveness on offense.
I will also look to play Detroit live at any number greater than +3.5 if the Lions get off to a slow start.
PICKS: First-half under 21.5; Lions live (better than +3.5)