Betting the NFL on Thanksgiving is one of my favorite pastimes. Getting the opportunity to bet against Matt Nagy and the Chicago Bears makes me even happier.
But rather than play the Detroit Lions as a three-point home underdog with a hobbled Jared Goff likely getting the start, there’s a much better way to fade the Monsters of the Midway.
Nagy has an abundance of flaws — my favorite one is that he loves kicking field goals on 4th and short — but he’s been extremely profitable for first half “Under” bettors. Since Nagy became head coach, Chicago is 40-19 (68%) to the 1H “Under.”
It’s been the gift that keeps on giving and I’ll miss it dearly when Nagy gets fired.
Worst first-half teams in NFL this season
New York Jets 5.4 PPG
Detroit Lions 5.9 PPG
Chicago Bears 7.1 PPG
New York Giants 7.8 PPG
Miami Dolphins 8.1 PPG
Earlier this week on “Chicken Dinner,” we discussed taking “Under” 21 points, but that number has come down a half-point to O/U 20.5 at most American sportsbooks. It stinks not being protected by the key number of 21 (three touchdowns and extra points), but the number is still too high.
The Bears have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL and odds are good that immobile backup Andy Dalton has to operate without Chicago’s best wideout Allen Robinson. And while there’s not a numerical drop-off between Fields and Dalton according to Las Vegas oddsmakers, Dalton is much more conservative and he’ll take less risks.
Meanwhile, Detroit is well-below average on offense given the 2021 standards. The Lions are running the ball with some success, but they rank 28th in total yards and 30th against the pass. They luckily won’t have to face Khalil Mack, who had season-ending foot surgery, but the Chicago secondary is healthy. Don’t expect Goff to suddenly become a surgeon from the pocket.
If Detroit wants to run the rock and melt the clock, that’s fine, too.
As long as we avoid something crazy like a punt return touchdown or a pick six, I feel very good about Matt Nagy being Matt Nagy and the Lions being the Lions. I’ll glady bet against Dalton and Goff getting into the end zone three times.
Let’s kick off Thanksgiving with a 7-6 first half.
CHI-DET 1H U20.5 points +100
RECORD: (76-71, +11.4)