It’s hard to believe, but football makes its full triumphant return this week. All 32 teams will be in action for Week 1 of the NFL preseason from Thursday through Sunday, including the Detroit Lions.
The Dan Campbell era gets underway Friday night at Ford Field.
Anxious football fans may be itching to scratch that betting finger, even if it’s for games that don’t count in the standings.
Preseason sports betting: Willing to take your chances?
Let’s get this out there first: Betting on preseason football is always a pretty big roll of the dice.
Teams tend to rely heavily on younger, unproven players, while letting their stars rest.
Some player you’ve never heard of — and may never hear of again — can be the difference between winning and losing a bet.
Oddsmakers tend to keep things pretty simple for preseason games as well. Most of the spreads for Week 1 of the NFL preseason range from 1 to 3 points.
Interestingly enough, only one game has a spread of more than 3.5 points according to DraftKings Sportsbook. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are listed as a 6-point favorite at home against the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday.
Totals are usually kept pretty low. Most range from 34 to 37 points, with the highest this week at 40 points between the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals as of midday Wednesday.
The lone preseason game played so far was last Thursday’s Hall of Fame Game that saw the Pittsburgh Steelers earn a 16-3 win over the Cowboys. Pittsburgh was a 2.5-point favorite entering the contest.
Lions Week 1 NFL Preseason Odds: Detroit a slight underdog
Expectations for the Detroit Lions remain low for the 2021 season, and that starts even in the preseason.
The Lions will host the Buffalo Bills at 7 p.m. ET Friday, and oddsmakers see Detroit as an underdog to an AFC finalist from last season.
Most oddsmakers are listing the Lions anywhere from a 2 to 2.5-point dog at home against the Bills, with Detroit generally listed at +110 on the moneyline for the contest. DraftKings Sportsbook has the game as a pick ’em, with the Lions -115 on the moneyline.
Most books have the over/under at 37 points, while BetRivers Sportsbook had initially listed it at 36.5 points.
Campbell has already stated that he expects to play the Lions starters for “about a quarter.”
Buffalo is fresh off signing quarterback Josh Allen to a new $258 million, six-year contract extension.
Although Allen likely won’t see much action, Detroit is quite familiar with the Bills’ backup QB. Mitchell Trubisky joined Buffalo in the offseason to back up Allen and gets his first run with the team Friday.
Detroit Lions still a player in future markets
With Detroit not getting much love from the oddsmakers, the Lions have become an intriguing bet for those interested in futures wagers.
Now, Detroit finds itself as third-most bet team to make the playoffs this year in regards to ticket count, according to BetMGM. And the relative madness doesn’t stop there, as the Lions have the highest handle percentage (18.9%) to win the NFC at +10000 and reach the Super Bowl for the first time, per BetMGM.
That said, the Lions do have a very appealing +700 line to make the playoffs right now, which has been enticing for sports bettors looking for a nice payout. Only the Denver Broncos (+130) and Washington Football Team (+120) are getting more wagers at BetMGM.
BetMGM also shows that 80% of the tickets on the Lions playoff odds are going on them to make it, but that accounts for just 41% of the handle. Only 20% of the tickets are on them missing the playoffs (-1100), but those wagers account for 59% of the handle.
NFL Preseason promos trickling in
Watch this space for any special preseason promotions from popular Michigan sportsbooks, but the market is unsurprisingly quiet so far, given the uncertain nature of exhibition action.
That said, there are a couple of long-term possibilities to monitor throughout the month:
- On Sundays between now and the start of the season, you can get a 25% profit bonus on NFL futures bets at BetRivers.
- BetRivers also has another promotion for preseason football: Each week, place four $50 or more real money, single-bet wagers on NFL preseason games throughout one weekend, and receive a $25 free bet the following Tuesday.
- If you’re a newbie, DraftKings has an enticing football-focused welcome offer. After your first deposit, make your first bet on either a college or NFL game and you’ll receive $200 in bet credits (eight $25 free bets). Be warned, though: You must use those free bets within a week of receiving them. The offer is active through Sept. 12.