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ATS Lock of Week: Back Lions vs Bears

Jared Goff , Detroit (0-3) to Win, Cover Against NFC North Rival

The Detroit Lions practically leap off the page in their upcoming NFC North showdown against the Chicago Bears as the lock bet of Week 4. Yes, it’s a bit rich to recommend the winless Lions as the lock of the week. But Jared Goff and the Lions aren’t playing badly at all, and had it not been for Justin Tucker’s insane, 66-yard game-winning field goal, the Lions would be headed into Week 4 from a winning position buoyed by an upset over the Baltimore Ravens.

Considering rookie quarterback Justin Fields and the Bears are still reeling from the 26-6 beatdown by the Cleveland Browns, the Lions appear to be in a value spot for this pivotal division showdown. So, grab the three points with the Lions before the public bets down the NFL line and sucks all the value out of it for NFL picks

T.J. Hockenson #88 of the Detroit Lions on the field warming up (Photo by Rey Del Rio / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Lions vs Bears Odds, Preview

Chicago faux favorites?

On balance, Chicago is lucky to be sporting a 1-2 straight-up record because if last Sunday’s 26-6 loss to the Cleveland Browns is a sign of what’s to come, the future for Matt Nagy’s side looks bleak. Heck, his position as the head coach might also be untenable, but that’s another matter entirely.

Chicago lost starting quarterback Andy Dalton early in the first half of Week 2 when he suffered a knee injury. Backup Fields stepped in and, while he struggled to get the offense moving, he did just enough to hold on to the 20-17 win. Allowances were made for his performance because he’d been thrust into the game at short notice, having had little preparation or practice with the first team. The hope was that with an added week to prepare, Fields would be everything everyone hoped he’d be – if not more.

Nine sacks, one net passing yards 47 yards of total offense — that sums up the long-awaited debut of the Justin Fields era in a nutshell. The hype and buzz that surrounded the Ohio State star quickly turned into a field of frustration at FirstEnergy Stadium as the Bears sputtered to a jarring 26-6 loss. The Bears’ defense did its best, but it couldn’t carry the burden for all four quarters, raising questions about the team as a whole.

Where does Chicago go from here? To suggest it’s a case of a rookie failing to live up to expectations is too simplistic of an explanation. Fact is, the Bears’ offense has been an issue for some time. Former Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky bore the brunt of criticism for the offensive woes Chicago endured over the last few seasons. Perhaps, he was never the problem.

The job of the coaching staff is to prepare players. To devise game plans and plays that can be executed with some measure of success. So far, the offense has been anaemic and totally lacking in imagination. Whatever the Bears are doing on offense, it’s clearly not working. But Nagy and his staff aren’t doing a thing about it. Arguably, that’s the worst of it. As if it were operating under some kind of a DNR order (Do Not Resuscitate). And it’s this latest indictment of an offense that shows that it doesn’t matter which quarterback is under center because it’s Nagy and the playbook that’s the problem.

Lions Showing Fight

Jared Goff and the Lions were dismissed widely by the punditocracy before the season started. Expectations were low and so too were the NFL odds across multiple sports betting markets. Granted, the Lions are 0-3 straight up ahead of Week 4. A fact that would seem to underscore all preseason pessimism. However, the reality is quite the opposite.  

Goff and the Lions had the Baltimore Ravens on the ropes, nearly pulling off the upset. Let’s face it, they were unlucky. Tucker’s 66-yard game-winner was a fluke. Heck, the pigskin even bounced on the crossbar before going over, highlighting just how fortunate the Ravens were to have pulled out the victory. Thus, saving Lamar Jackson and the Ravens from the ignominy of being the first team to lose to the Lions, a week after beating the Kansas City Chiefs.  

The Lions aren’t world-beaters or legitimate contenders for the Super Bowl. This team is developing around a solid quarterback and a new head coach. Where the Lions have impressed is in spirit and attitude, especially in the face of a tough schedule that featured three straight Super Bowl contenders – San Francisco, Green Bay and Baltimore. Going up against that lot is a big ask for most teams, never mind the revamped Lions. 

Lock Down Lions Plus Point

How the Bears are favored by the NFL odds for this game is a head-scratcher. Nagy’s recklessly simple game plan for Fields nearly got him killed by Myles Garrett and the Cleveland Browns defense. It was so easy to read, Cleveland had a veritable field day with the rookie. 

Odds are Nagy is still on the job, increasing the likelihood that he’ll trot out Fields like a lamb to the slaughter with a similarly unsophisticated game plan. The Lions are waiting to have a great game on the defensive side of the ball. This could be the one. Heck, the Lions might even finish at the top of the leaderboard after Week 4. That would be something. 

On the flip side, Goff and the offense are more dynamic, creative, and opportunistic than their Chicago counterparts. Chicago’s defense is no slouch, but the burden of responsibility is starting to reveal cracks. That’s something Goff can take advantage of while he moves the chains, and if he does so successfully, the Lions should easily cover the spread; if not, win this game outright.  So, the Lions plus the points is the choice bet for NFL picks against the spread. Get in on the action before the NFL line shrinks to under a field goal.

Pick: Lions +3 (-120)

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