There may be a required defeatist or gallows-humor approach as a Detroit Lions fan, but darn it if NFL win totals come out and everybody just can’t help themselves.
That could be one surface-level takeaway from some of the early movement on betting splits for the 2021 National Football League season. BetMGM Sportsbook released a pre-preseason update on how bettors see the season playing out, and one thing is clear.
There’s a lot more riding on first-year Detroit head coach Dan Campbell’s season than you’d think.
Detroit Lions could be sweat for sportsbooks on win totals
The report from BetMGM, released Monday morning, says that the Lions eclipsing a five-win season (on the new 17-game schedule) has been the most-bet “over” out of all 32 teams in the league. The BetMGM market carries -105 odds, while the under is at -115.
What’s interesting here is that the report comes in despite a fairly reasonable split in ticket volume on each side of the Lions ledger. BetMGM says 60% of tickets are on the over. For comparison, 10 other teams had season futures splits somewhere in the 50s, percentage-wise.
The division in handle is a little more lopsided, with 84% of the money going on the Lions’ over. Just six other teams have a handle split more severe than Detroit’s on the BetMGM books.
Your Lions optimism stretches to other sportsbooks
Part of this situation arises from BetMGM’s Michigan presence. The casino brand for BetMGM in Michigan has been dwarfing competition, and its sportsbook operation is ranking in the top three in a high-volume state. So this could be a geographical story, to a certain degree. (We’ve seen similar situations at BetMGM before, too, when Detroit Tigers pitcher Casey Mize’s Cy Young Award market tickets took a spike.)
Don’t forget: The Lions are listed as consensus point-spread underdogs in all 16 games that are listed (Week 18 is off the board). Achieving the six required wins to hit that over will be no easy feat.
But the new coaching staff and front office have brought some optimism to the Motor City, along with a fresh look at quarterback with Jared Goff.
If you’re that confident in a respectable season, other mainstream sportsbooks are offering friendly odds on a Lions over, as well. FanDuel Sportsbook has the over-5 at even money (+100).
DraftKings Sportsbook has set the number even lower, at just 4.5 wins. But that figure carries a hefty -155 profit price tag (the under there is at +125). Those same 4.5-win splits are more extreme at PointsBet Sportsbook (-170 over, +130 under).
WynnBET Sportsbook has the largest ante-upper for the most bullish. They’ve set a 5.5 win total for Detroit, carrying a +140 profit return for the over (-200 on the under).
Other nuggets on 2021 NFL win totals
Following next on the BetMGM “over train,” by the way, are the Denver Broncos to eclipse 8.5 wins (-135), and the Philadelphia Eagles to surpass 6.5 victories (-130).
For what it’s worth, you don’t have to leave the state of Philadelphia to find the largest-volume under trend on the BetMGM board. The Pittsburgh Steelers (8.5, -130) lead the fades in what could be Ben Roethlisberger’s final season under center. Also high on the list are the Jacksonville Jaguars (6.5, -110) — in Urban Meyer’s first coaching season and Trevor Lawrence’s rookie quarterback campaign — along with the New York Jets (6, -120).
The lowest projected wins total in football belong to the Houston Texans, at just four wins in multiple markets.