If you had asked people to predict what the NFC North would look like after six weeks before the season started, I suspect you would have gotten very few correct answers. The odd person may have guessed that the Bears would be alone in first place, but few would have guessed that the Vikings would be their closest rival, that the Packers would be at just .500, or that the Lions would be in last and, until last week, struggling. Strange times.
This has led to an absolute crucial game for these two historical rivals who seem to hate each other now more than ever. The Lions can’t afford any more steps backwards if they plan to make the playoffs two years in a row for the first time in far too long, while the Bears need to build on their early advantage and give themselves as much breathing room over the rest of the division as they can.
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Detroit needs to start by breaking the spell the Bears have had on them recently. They won the first of the two meetings last year, but that was the only time in the last eight games that they beat their rivals. Four of those seven losses were by at least two touchdowns, so the meetings have definitely been one-sided. The only positive for the Lions is that they are 6-4 ATS in the last 10 meetings.
Lions at Bears Betting Storylines
The Lions have loads of talent — especially on offense — and last year they showed what they were capable of at times. For most of this year, though, they have been sleepwalking through their games, and they have looked like a mere shadow of what they were. The talent is still there, but they have been in real danger of throwing away the season before it really started.
Finally, though, in the fourth quarter of their last game in Philadelphia they showed some spark and played with pride. Up until then they had been lousy, and they were down 16-6 early in the final period. But then Matthew Stafford engineered two touchdown drives, and two more — including one in overtime — that ended in field goals. The only points they gave up were on a fluky 70-yard TD by Michael Vick. It wasn’t perfect, but it was by far the best they have been all year, and it was a sign that all hope might not be lost for this team.
There were other bright spots in the game as well — like the fact that they had two interceptions in the game after not having any in their first four games. The challenge for bettors now is to determine whether that was just a momentary fluke or whether they have really shaken off the rough times and gotten back on track. The answer to that question is key to handicapping this one.
When I look at the Bears I can’t help but have questions about their secondary. So far the play of that secondary has been very strong. Heading into the season, though, the secondary was the biggest issue outside of the offensive line. Nothing has really changed in a substantial way since the preseason, and the secondary certainly isn’t getting any younger. Therefore, I can’t help but feel like they are overachieving and could take a step backward at some point. They did a reasonable job of containing Aaron Rodgers earlier in the season, but Stafford to Johnson is the most potent combination they have faced this year, and that could be a problem for them.
If they Lions want to win they need to find a way to contain Matt Forte. Up to this point the running back has basically just feasted on the Lions. In eight games against Detroit he has amassed 975 yards from scrimmage and has scored seven times. The Detroit run defense hasn’t been dominant, but it has been reasonably effective. It needs to have a very good day to force the ball into Jay Cutler’s hands whether he wants it or not. They simply cannot let Forte beat them again.
Lions at Bears Monday Night Football Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with the home team favored by six points. It initially dropped from that point suggesting early action on the Lions, but has bounced back since. And some books are testing out a full touchdown. About two-thirds of bets have come in on the Bears, so there is a good chance that the seven points will stick. The total opened at 47.5 and has fallen slightly to 47.
The Lions are 0-5 ATS in their last five against the AFC North. They have lost their last four in Chicago, but are 2-2 ATS over that time. The Bears are 4-0 ATS in their last four in October. These teams have gone “over” the total in five of their last seven meetings.
Lions at Bears Predictions and NFL Picks
The Lions should be better than they have been, and I don’t believe that the Bears are as good as they have been. I think the Lions found some of their missing swagger last week, and I expect that to carry over here. I’d jump on the +7 here, and take the over while I’m at it.
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