The Detroit Lions have made headlines during training camp more for things happening off the field than on it.
After a pair of disappointing seasons, Lions head coach Matt Patricia needs a nice result to keep his job.
The odds are stacked against him, with Detroit coming off a 3-12-1 season and carrying around the baggage of futility: The franchise has won one playoff game since 1957.
The smart money is basically never on the Lions. Nonetheless, let’s take a look at what the oddsmakers are saying about Detroit heading into its opener Sunday against the Chicago Bears.
With sports betting now legal and available in Michigan for the first NFL season, it’s certainly worth taking a look at.
How to bet on the Detroit Lions in 2020
First off, let’s review where we’re at with sports gambling here in the Great Lakes State.
Sportsbooks are open across the state, including the three commercial casinos in Michigan. Some tribal casinos have opened their books with more to come soon.
It remains to be seen about which sports betting apps will be ready at launch, but here are a list of sports betting apps planning to enter the Michigan market.
|Brand||Partner||Projected Online Launch||Retail Launch|
|Barstool||Greektown Casino||Late 2020||Opened March 11, 2020 (temporary)|
|BetAmerica||Hannahville Indian Community||Late 2020||Opened Sept. 10, 2020|
|BetMGM||MGM Grand Detroit||November 2020||Opened March 11, 2020|
|BetRivers||Little River Band of the Ottawa Indians||When permitted||Opened July 17, 2020|
|DraftKings||Bay Mills Indian Community||Late 2020||Expected by fall 2020|
|FanDuel||MotorCity Casino||Late 2020||Opened March 12, 2020|
|FOX Bet||Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians||Late 2020||Expected in fall 2020|
|Golden Nugget||Keweenaw Bay Indian Community||Early 2021||Expected in early 2021|
|Parx Casino||Gun Lake Tribe||Late 2020||Expected by fall 2020|
|PointsBet||Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians||Late 2020||Expected by fall 2020|
|TBD/FireKeepers Casino||Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Indians||Late 2020||Opened June 22, 2020|
|TBD/Four Winds Casino||Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians||Late 2020||Opened July 13, 2020|
|TBD/Kewadin||Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians||Late 2020||Expected by fall 2020|
|TBD/Soaring Eagle Casino||Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe||Late 2020||Expected by fall 2020|
|William Hill||Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians||When permitted||Opened Sept. 18, 2020|
What’s new with the Detroit Lions for 2020
Patricia has been doing some house cleaning in the locker room during his first few years, clearing out players who maybe didn’t buy into the program.
Big personalities Golden Tate, Quandre Diggs, and Darius Slay were traded for nearly nothing. But Patricia and General Manager Bob Quinn hope there’s some addition by subtraction in year three.
This offseason, the Lions brought in more former New England Patriots from the old team of Quinn and Patricia, who was the defensive coordinator under Bill Belichick.
This offseason, Detroit added linebacker Jamie Collins and defensive tackle Danny Shelton from New England, along with cornerback Desmond Trufant, defensive tackle Nick Williams, offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai and veteran backup quarterback Chase Daniel.
The team said goodbye to versatile lineman Graham Glasgow, a and fan favorite from Michigan. They also extended left tackle Taylor Decker and could soon lock up wide receiver Kenny Golladay for the long haul.
Oddsmakers expect improvement from Lions
After going 3-12-1, it’s almost certain there’s nowhere to go but up for the Lions.
This week, the retail sportsbooks at Four Winds, Greektown, and Little River all had a 6.5 win over/under, juiced at -155 for the over.
Any chance for a surprise Super Bowl run?
In February, the Super Bowl odds for the Lions ranged from +6,600 at DraftKings, FanDuel and 888 Sport to +8,000 at Bet365.
At that time, Detroit was a +3,000 bet to win the NFC Championship through DraftKings and +3,200 at FanDuel.
On Tuesday, you could place a bet for the Lions to win Super Bowl LV at +6,000 at Greektown, Four Winds, and Little River.
Online, you could get all the way up to +8,000 at BetMGM.
As for the NFC Championship, the bets ranged from +3,000 at the retail sportsbooks to +4,000 online at William Hill and BetMGM.
Lions favored against Bears, dogs at Green Bay
As for the opener against the Bears, the Lions are 3-point favorites (with a -160 moneyline) at FanDuel with a 44.5-point over/under.
Detroit is expected to dip to 1-1 as 5.5-point underdogs in Week 2 at Green Bay, according to DraftKings. The over/under of 46. The moneyline at Lambeau Field is +195 for the Lions.
In addition, many sportsbooks have lines listed throughout the season for Monday, Thursday, and Sunday night football games.
Alas, because the Lions are the Lions, they were not picked for any of those featured games this season.
Only the Thanksgiving game on Nov. 26 against Houston is not a Sunday afternoon game, and odds are not yet posted for that game.
Stafford among Comeback Player of the Year favorites
After suffering a season-ending back injury midway through last year, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is among the candidates for a comeback.
The 32-year-old has the fifth-best odds to win the Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year at FanDuel at +700. Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger is the favorite at +260.
Stafford is tied for ninth highest-odds with Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers on BetMGM’s list for most passing touchdowns at +2,000.
The Lions quarterback is also sixth-highest at DraftKings for most passing yards at +1,400. He trails only Patrick Mahomes (+400), Matt Ryan (+500), Jared Goff (+700), Dak Prescott (+800), and Tom Brady (+900).
Stafford’s MVP odds were +4,400 at FanDuel in February and have stayed the same since.
Golladay among league’s top projected pass catchers
Golladay is among the league’s top wide receivers and experts expect that to continue.
The fourth-year wideout is eighth in FanDuel’s odds for most receiving yards (+1,500). Golladay is also tied for seventh with Arizona’s DeAndre Hopkins for most touchdowns (+2,300).
DraftKings has Golladay’s receiving yards over/under set for 1,050.5.
Other Lions with markets set for receiving yards include Marvin Jones Jr. (875.5) and tight end T.J. Hockenson (600.5).
Top Lions rookies could be award-winning
The Lions picked Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah with the third selection in April’s NFL Draft.
Okudah is tied for fifth-best odds at DraftKings for Defensive Rookie of the Year at +1,600 with Carolina defensive tackle Derrick Brown and Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Kenneth Murray.
Meanwhile, second-round pick D’Andre Swift of Georgia has a shot at Offensive Rookie of the Year. According to FanDuel, the running back is tied for sixth-highest odds at +1,500 with wide receivers Jerry Jeudy of Denver and CeeDee Lamb of Dallas.
Patricia needs a big year to save his job
Patricia has been a huge disappointment in his first head coaching position with a 9-22-1 mark through two seasons.
But low expectations are sometimes part of a winning formula for Coach of the Year candidacies. If you over-perform on a season that was under-promised, it’s often noticed.
What are the odds of that? Well, not great.
At FanDuel, Patricia checks in at tied for 21st in odds for the award at +3,000.
Happy NFL season, Lions fans!