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NFL DFS

Week 12 in the NFL begins with three Thanksgiving showdowns, including Chicago Bears versus Detroit Lions on Thursday afternoon. For this game and every other primetime contest, we’ll break down the sports betting lines and recommend where to place your bets at DraftKings Sportsbook, BetStars, and FanDuel Sportsbook.

This advice is also relevant for fantasy contests on sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel and can be helpful in seasonal fantasy leagues as well.

Keep an eye on injury news right up until kickoff since things can change quickly in the NFL. Any player listed as questionable may see limited action or not suit up at all if he doesn’t respond well in warm-ups.

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Week 12 Thanksgiving Football Betting Odds

Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions

DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Bears -3.5, 44 total 
888 Sportsbook OddsBears -3.5, 44 total 
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Bears -3, 44.5 total 
BetStars Sportsbook Odds: Bears -3, 44.5 total 

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These teams met just two weeks ago, with the Bears pulling out a 34-22 home win. Chicago took a 26-0 lead and led 34-10 in the fourth quarter before allowing production late.

It’s a movie we saw last Sunday night again, as the Bears pounded divisional rival Minnesota Vikings for three quarters before allowing points with a conservative defensive scheme down the stretch.

Mitchell Trubisky (shoulder) is doubtful to play in this game, leaving career backup Chase Daniel to start for the Bears.

However, that should do little to diminish the superiority of Chicago’s defense.

After allowing Matthew Stafford to be sacked 10 times in their previous divisional meeting with the Vikings, the Lions yielded six sacks in Chicago. The Bears have the fourth-most sacks (32) in the NFL and are allowing a league-best (by far) 79.4 passer rating.

Starting guard T.J. Lang (neck) has been sent to IR, and the Lions are likely to be without arguably their top two skill position players in Kerryon Johnson (knee) and Marvin Jones Jr. (knee).

Kenny Golladay is coming off a big game in a tough matchup against James Bradberry and the Carolina Panthers and draws another plus-sized cornerback in Prince Amukamara.

Chicago ranks fourth in DVOA pass defense and is fifth against opposing No. 1 receivers. While they’ve been hurt by perimeter wide receivers this year, the Bears can shade coverage towards Golladay as the Lions only true downfield weapon.

The Bears have the only defense in the NFL that hasn’t allowed a rushing TD to an RB this season. That defense allows the fewest points per drive and lowest Drive Success Rate with the most turnovers forced per drive (.219) this season.

With Kerryon Johnson likely out, the Lions will turn to a committee of LeGarrette Blount and Zach Zenner. Neither back should be expected to produce in this matchup. Theo Riddick is in line for increased snaps, especially if the Lions are trailing, so consider him in DFS contests on DraftKings.

Bruce Ellington has overtaken T.J. Jones as the replacement for Golden Tate within this offense and he also makes for an appealing punt play on DK with the potential for 5-10 receptions dependent on negative game script.

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Back to the game: Detroit’s defense is as vulnerable as the Bears’ is strong. The Lions are allowing the second-highest passer rating (116.1) with 22 TDs and just 4 INT recorded this season.

Chase Daniel worked with Bears HC Matt Nagy in Kansas City and is a capable pocket passer but hasn’t started since 2014 and lacks the dual-threat ability of Trubisky. Expect Nagy to scheme his system towards Daniel’s skill set, leading to more crossing routes and quick-hitters to electric back Tarik Cohen and TE Trey Burton.

Lions top CB Darius Slay (knee) has been hobbled over the past few weeks and could be limited on a short week. Behind Slay, Nevin Lawson, Mike FordTeez Tabor, and DeShawn Shead have all struggled at corner.

Allen Robinson had his best game of the year with Slay out in Week 10, dusting those other DBs for 133 yards and 2 TDs on six receptions. The Bears freed him up on crossing routes, and he burned Shead down the sideline for one of those scores.

Expect more modest results from Robinson with Slay likely in uniform Thursday. We could see the Bears use Taylor Gabriel on similar crossing routes. Gabriel barely missed on a couple of big plays against Detroit two weeks ago and caught 7-of-9 targets in a much tougher matchup against Minnesota. Gabriel can serve as an upside value play in GPP contests on DraftKings and FanDuel.

Anthony Miller was quiet with only two catches for 25 yards and a TD on Sunday night, but he played on a season-high 81 percent of offensive snaps.

Trey Burton was also quiet in a game Chicago led throughout, but both Miller and Burton have potential to pop in a matchup against Detroit’s porous interior pass defense. Detroit ranks 30th in DVOA pass defense against opposing TEs and dead last against interior receivers.

Gabriel and Burton are also producing the most yards of separation on average of all Bears receivers, which should lead to more targets if backup QB Chase Daniel is starting.

Once one of the three worst run defenses in the league, Detroit upgraded its interior by trading for former New York Giants NT Damon Harrison. The Lions have been much better up front since then and held Bears RBs to 36 yards on 18 carries two weeks ago.

The Lions are still vulnerable to perimeter rushes, and Tarik Cohen is an incredible weapon for the Bears with his ability to get to the edge or catch short passes.

Jordan Howard has DFS tournament appeal in a potential stack with the Bears D/ST, but only managed 21 scoreless yards in his last meeting with the Lions and has a scary low floor.

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The Picks

While the Bears defense is stifling, Chicago ranks 23rd in points allowed per red zone trip. Detroit’s offense ranks 20th in that category.

The Lions average the fourth-longest time of possession per drive, with the third-fewest three and outs. But much of Detroit’s improvement on that side of the ball has been thanks to Johnson, who is averaging 5.4 YPC as a rookie.

The Bears (-3.5) should still be expected to win with Daniel starting. While over 75 percent of money started to come in on the Bears, we’re seeing closer to a 50/50 split now that Trubisky’s status is in doubt.

The Bears are ninth in points per drive but play at the fifth-slowest pace in the NFL. In neutral situations, Detroit plays at the second-slowest pace.

Chicago’s last game barely went over the point total (43.5) thanks to some defensive indifference late. We could see a similar situation unfold with the Bears building a big lead early, but the Lions lack the personnel necessary to crack this elite defense.

We’re definitely taking the Under (44.5) if Trubisky is inactive. The total is fluctuating with bets coming in on either side of the line. If the total decreases much further, feel free to pivot to the Over.

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