The Detroit Lions hope to keep their playoff hopes alive this week when they face the Chicago Bears. Kickoff is set for 4:30 EST on Saturday, December 16 at Ford Field in Detroit. The game can be seen on the NFL Network.
Oddsmakers view the Lions as 6.5-point home favorites. The over/under for the game is set at 43.5 points. Click here for a full list of the Week 15 betting odds and links to more game previews.
Bears vs Lions Vegas Betting Preview
With a road win against the Bucs last week, the Lions snapped a two-game skid and kept their slim playoff hopes alive. Detroit is one of three teams in the NFC that are 7-6 and need to climb over two 8-5 teams in order to get the second wild-card spot.
Obviously, the odds are stacked against the Lions, who will have to win out to have any chance of reaching the playoffs. However, they do have a schedule that sets up favorably for them, starting with a home game against the Bears.
Of course, Chicago is coming off an impressive 33-7 win over the Bengals last week. The win snapped a five-game losing streak to make the Bears 4-9 on the season. Mitchell Trubisky had by far the best game of his young career, helping the Bears to double the Bengals in both total yards and first downs. Chicago now hopes to play the role of spoiler against their division rivals.
These two teams played at Soldier Field in Week 11 with the Lions escaping with a 3-point win. Based off of that, the Bears know they can compete with the Lions. However, the Bears haven’t won a game in Detroit since 2012.
Free Pick & Odds Predictions: Bears +6.5
There’s no way I can swallow this many points in favor of the Lions. Detroit is 2-2 in their last four games, and both wins came on late field goals. If Detroit is able to win this game, odds are it’ll happen in similar fashion. I’ll lean toward the underdog Bears and the points.
Despite the fact that Chicago has just one win in their last nine games against the Lions, these two teams almost always play close games. Nine of the last 11 games between these two teams have been decided by six points or less. That’s as good a sign as any that this spread is too high.
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You also have to be a little encouraged after the way the Bears played last week. Obviously, there’s no guarantee that Trubisky will put together two strong performances in a row. But Chicago also ran the ball effectively last week against the Bengals. Both Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen averaged better than 6 yards per carry, combining for over 220 yards.
The Bears were also effective running the ball against Detroit’s defense earlier this year. In that game, Howard and Cohen combined for 169 yards and two touchdowns. Trubisky also used his legs to gain over 50 yards on the ground. If Chicago can run the ball like that this week, they’ll be able to stay in the game and keep it close.
Detroit, meanwhile, has become far too reliant on Matthew Stafford, who played last week with a hand injury. The Lions needed Stafford to complete over 80% of his passes and throw for nearly 400 yards in order to beat a mediocre Tampa Bay team. They haven’t run the ball effectively, and so all of their offensive success is tied to Stafford.
The Detroit defense isn’t helping out much either. Over their last five games, they’re giving up an average of 28 points per game. That puts a lot of pressure on such a one-dimensional offense, making it difficult for the Lions to win, much less win comfortably.
Obviously, the Bears aren’t a great team, and a team like the Lions should be able to take care of them, especially at home. But Detroit can’t run the ball and they can’t play defense. Chicago is actually better at both of those things. Stafford may be enough to get the Lions the win, but he won’t be enough to cover the spread.