The NFL season is still a month away from kickoff, but Detroit Lions fans may see things a little differently.
Tuesday marks the team’s debut in the 2022 edition of HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’.
The annual documentary of a NFL football team during training camp features Michigan’s own this year.
Will Lions fans and NFL fans alike be feeling good about Detroit after the show, or holding their collective hands over their heads in shame?
Perhaps the bigger question is, will Michigan sports bettors see the Detroit Lions odds for the season improve once the show is done?
What is HBO ‘Hard Knocks’?
Starting in 2001, HBO began running a documentary miniseries each training camp focused on a different NFL team.
The Baltimore Ravens were the first to appear on ‘Hard Knocks’ fresh off their Super Bowl season the year prior. A total of 13 different teams have been part of the docuseries during training camp. The Detroit Lions will be the 14th.
Fans get exclusive access behind the scenes of training camp. The five-week show focuses on different coaches and players during the training camp experience.
Episodes will air each Tuesday night on HBO starting at 10 p.m. ET for five weeks. Episodes will be made available to stream on HBO Max roughly around the time each one premieres on HBO.
Detroit Lions futures odds already improving
As we noted when the Lions started training camp, there is optimism about the 2022 team right now.
A strong NFL Draft and positive offseason reviews have some thinking the Lions are set to take a step forward this season.
While ‘Hard Knocks’ hasn’t always brought out the best in franchises, typically the show’s intent is to provide a positive light. The NFL wouldn’t have done agreed to the show taking place for multiple decades otherwise.
If Dan Campbell and the Lions can win over fans across the country, it’s entirely possible that Detroit will see another boost in futures odds for the season.
On the flip side, an embarrassing showing for the franchise could push their odds back even further.
Here’s where BetMGM Michigan had the Lions’ odds prior to the start of the NFL Draft:
- Super Bowl champion: +15000
- NFC champion: +6600
- NFC North champion: +1200
- Over/Under for season wins: 6.5 (Over +120; Under -150)
- Will they make the playoffs: +500
Now, here’s where the odds currently sit for the Lions at BetMGM:
- Super Bowl champion: +12500
- NFC champion: +5000
- NFC North champion: +850
- Over/Under for season wins: 6.5 (Over -125; Under +105)
- Will they make the playoffs: +375
Campbell himself is already picking up a lot of steam in the Coach of the Year odds race. FanDuel Sportsbook MI lists Campbell at +1600 to win the honor this year. Only two other coaches, Brandon Staley and Brian Daboll, have shorter odds at +1400.
Will Hard Knocks impact Aidan Hutchinson player prop odds?
As the show takes a focus on individual players, so could see their individual player prop odds improve as well.
Jared Goff is a veteran of the show, having been featured when part of the Los Angeles Rams in 2020 and 2016.
Goff is entering his second season with the Lions this year and most camp reports have him looking sharp this year.
DraftKings Sportsbook MI is listing Goff with an over/under of 3,700.5 passing yards for the season. His over/under for passing touchdowns is 23.5. He’s also a +20000 longshot for the NFL MVP. The Lions coaching staff has been pushing for more out of Goff this year and that should play out on ‘Hard Knocks.’
No. 2 overall draft pick in 2022, Aidan Hutchinson, is also likely to be featured. We know we can look forward to his rendition of ‘Billie Jean’ on Tuesday night.
The Michigan defensive end is a co-favorite to win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year at +550. He’s also listed at +15000 for Defensive Player of the Year. For sacks, DraftKings lists Hutchinson’s over/under at 7.25 for his rookie year.
Second-year receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown is a compelling story. The 4th-round pick broke out late last season to be a primary target for Goff. DraftKings is listing his over/under for receptions this season at 78.5. His over/under for receiving yards sits at 850.5, while his over/under for receiving TDs is 5.5.
Teams featured on Hard Knocks have had mixed results
You might hear some people say that being on ‘Hard Knocks’ is an unwanted distraction for coaches and players alike.
Granted, there have been some nightmare scenarios play out. Most notably was the Antonio Brown saga for the 2019 Oakland Raiders.
However, it appears that not all franchises have suffered by being on the show.
Just in the last 10 years four different teams featured on the HBO show reached the playoffs that season.
Here’s what each of the teams HBO profiled during training camp did that season over the last 10 years:
- 2021: Dallas Cowboys (12-5, Lost in Wild Card Playoffs)
- 2020: L.A. Rams (10-6, Lost in Divisional Playoffs) & L.A. Chargers (7-9)
- 2019: Oakland Raiders (7-9)
- 2018: Cleveland Browns (7-8-1)
- 2017: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11)
- 2016: Los Angeles Rams (4-12)
- 2015: Houston Texans (9-7, lost in Wild Card Playoffs)
- 2014: Atlanta Falcons (6-10)
- 2013: Cincinnati Bengals (11-5, lost in Wild Card Playoffs)
- 2012: Miami Dolphins (7-9)