Lions Fall to 0-14 SU as Thanksgiving Day Betting Underdogs Since 2003

Detroit Lions NFL Background

  • The Chicago Bears defeated the Detroit Lions 16-14 on Thanksgiving Thursday.
  • With the loss the Lions are now 14-0 SU since 2003 as betting underdogs on Thanksgiving Day.
  • The Bears are 4-7 on the season and also a +400 to make the playoffs.

The Chicago Bears defeated the Detroit Lions 16-14 in the first of three Thanksgiving Thursday games in the NFL.

While the Bears snapped their five-game losing streak on Thursday, the Lions remained winless on the season with a 0-10-1 record and they are now winless in their last 15 games dating back to last season.

Although the Lions covered the betting spread on Thursday night after losing by only two points as 3.5 point spread underdogs, the loss was Detroit’s 14th consecutive, straight up, as the betting underdog on Thanksgiving Day since 2003.

Lions Hosting a Thanksgiving Game is One of the NFL’s Annual Traditions

It seems like the Lions play every Thanksgiving Day but it’s because they actually do. The Lions’ annual tradition of hosting a Thanksgiving game is almost as old as the franchise itself. It started on Thanksgiving Day in 1934 when owner George A. Richards decided that his team would play on the holiday to attract more fans. The game became an instant hit.

Prior to 1934, other teams played on Thanksgiving Day. But the Lions were different because Richards owned a radio station that was affiliated with the NBC Blue Network. Because of that, he was able to negotiate a pact with NBC to broadcast his team’s Thanksgiving Day games to 94 stations across the country. And although the Lions lost to the Chicago Bears 19-16 that year, a tradition was born.

But while the Lions and Thanksgiving Day are synonymous in the NFL, The Detroit franchise hasn’t enjoyed as much success as other NFL franchises. Entering Thanksgiving Thursday 2021, the Lions had a 37-42-2 record on the holiday. Including their 1934 game, the Lions and Bears have played in a total of 18 Thanksgiving Day NFL games prior to Thursday and Detroit is 8-10 SU in those games, with their last winning coming in 2014.

Bears Walk it Off

Down 14-13 with one second left in the game, Bears kicker Cairo Santos made a game-winning 28-yard field goal to put the struggling Bears back in the winning column with a 16-14 win. Veteran Andy Dalton, starting in the place of the injured Justin Fields, led the Bears on an 18-play, 69-yard drive that consumed the final 8;30 of the game.

Dalton would finish the game with 317 yards on 24-39 passing with one touchdown and one interception. However, it was penalties that killed the Lions as they had a total of 10, including three in a row when they were at midfield, ending their chance to score on the final possession of the game. Detroit got flagged for calling back-to-back timeouts during Chicago’s game-winning drive. That penalty turned 3rd and 9 to 3rd and 4. On the next snap, Dalton converted on the third down with a 7-yard pass Damiere Byrd.

With only one time out left, Dalton was able to kneel and run the clock down to one second before calling the timeout and setting up Santos’ walk-off field goal for the 16-14 win. Chicago is now 4-7 and still has a chance to salvage their season. According to the best NFL sportsbooks, the Bears are +600 underdogs to make the playoffs. But remember that they won three out of their last four games last season to enter the expanded playoffs. That remains to be seen. But Thursday was a good start.

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Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher. He recently added a new family member, adopting a handsome retired K-9 named Ranger.

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