The Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears meet Sunday tied atop the NFC North standings with the Green Bay Packers at 5-3 overall this season. The Lions are coming off a bye week following a thrilling one-point victory over the Dallas Cowboys. The Bears are coming off a 27-20 win over the Packers led by backup quarterback Josh McCown on Monday night.
Jay Cutler is back for the Bears this week, which means that the Lions and Bears will face each other at relatively full strength. It should be no surprise, then, that the game is a pick 'em on most sports books.
The Lions opened the week as 3.5-point favorites in Chicago, perhaps due to the uncertainty surrounding Cutler, who sat last week due to a Week 7 groin injury. He has recovered much faster than many expected, however, and will be behind center for the Bears on Sunday.
Good luck trying to figure out who to pick. Both teams have been good bets straight-up with a combined 10-6 record. Neither team has been good against the spread, however. The Lions are 4-4 against the spread this season, while the Bears are just 2-5-1.
The Lions have gotten the better of the Bears against the spread lately, going 6-1 ATS in their last seven outings with Chicago. Straight-up, the Bears have won nine of the last 11 meetings, however. The Bears won three in a row in the series before the Lions' 40-32 win at Detroit in Week 4.
In Chicago, the Bears are 0-4-1 against the spread in their last five games. They are 8-4 straight-up in their last 12 games at Soldier Field, however. Detroit has lost its last five games played in Chicago, although it has done well relative to the spread, going 5-1-1 against in its last seven games.
Betting the over/under may produce better luck. The Bears have gone over six times in eight games this season, while the Lions have gone over five times in eight games. Odds Shark's computer prediction projects a 28-27 Lions victory, which would go over the 52-point total by three points.
The matchups appears to favor points. The Bears boast the NFL's No. 2 scoring offense against the Lion's No. 18 overall defense. On the flip side, the Lions' No. 6-ranked scoring offense could have success against the Bears' No. 29 overall defense.
Sunday's game seems to have been tailor-made to stump bettors. Ultimately, a determination one way or the other may depend on one's confidence in Cutler's health. If the quarterback can play without limitations, Chicago may be the tempting pick given its recent success against Detroit at home. If Cutler is rusty, an upstart Lions team may be the better option.