Fewer teams have a muddier direction this offseason than the Detroit Lions. They’re without a head coach or general manager and longtime captain and quarterback Matt Stafford is coming up on the tail end of his career. The 2020 season was best summed up as “ugly” and was mostly defined by ownership gaffes and the reminder that Jim Caldwell (0.563 winning percentage, two playoff berths) was canned for Matt Patricia (0.302 winning percentage, zero playoff berths) after just four seasons.
Despite not having many stars on their team, the Lions have just the 19th-most cap space in the coming offseason to spend on free agents– many of which may not see Detroit as a free agent destination. Unlike many losing teams this year, the Lions don’t seem to have anywhere to go but down and have years of disfunction ahead.
Detroit Lions odds
Lions futures odds
Lions Super Bowl odds
The Lions have been eliminated from NFC Playoff contention.
NFC North odds
The Packers clinched the NFC North, eliminating the Lions from division contention.
2020 Detroit Lions schedule and betting odds
|Week 1||Sunday, Sept. 13||1:00 p.m. ET||vs. Chicago||Lions -1.5|
|Week 2||Sunday, Sept. 20||1:00 p.m. ET||at Green Bay||Packers -6.5|
|Week 3||Sunday, Sept. 27||4:25 p.m. ET||at Arizona||Cardinals -4|
|Week 4||Sunday, Oct. 4||1:00 p.m. ET||vs. New Orleans||Saints -8.5|
|Week 5||Sunday, Oct 11||BYE|
|Week 6||Sunday, Oct. 18||1:00 p.m. ET||at Jacksonville||Lions -2.5|
|Week 7||Sunday, Oct. 25||1:00 p.m. ET||at Atlanta||Falcons -6|
|Week 8||Sunday, Nov. 1||1:00 p.m. ET||vs. Indianapolis||Colts -3|
|Week 9||Sunday, Nov. 8||1:00 p.m. ET||at Minnesota||Vikings -7.5|
|Week 10||Sunday, Nov. 15||1:00 p.m. ET||vs. Washington||Lions -5|
|Week 11||Sunday, Nov. 22||1:00 p.m. ET||at Carolina||Panthers -0.5|
|Week 12||Thursday, Nov. 26||12:30 p.m. ET||vs. Houston||Lions -1.5|
|Week 13||Sunday, Dec. 6||1:00 p.m. ET||at Chicago||Bears -6|
|Week 14||Sunday, Dec. 13||1:00 p.m. ET||vs. Green Bay||Packers -4.5|
|Week 15||TBA||TBA||at Tennessee||Titans -6|
|Week 16||TBA||TBA||vs. Tampa Bay||Buccaneers -7|
|Week 17||Sunday, Jan. 3||1:00 p.m. ET||vs. Minnesota||N/A|
How to bet on the Detroit Lions
Moneyline betting is the quickest and simplest way to get betting action on your favorite team or whoever is playing against your most hated rival. There are two possible outcomes, with the exception of the rare NFL tie, with either Team A or Team B winning the game in regulation or overtime. Some books offer three-way lines which account for the possibility of overtime or ties, but here, we’re keeping it simple.
Odds are usually set within a range of -200 for a favorite or +200 for an underdog. A $10 bet will return a profit of $5 or $20, respectively. Larger discrepancies of around -500 ($2 profit) or +500 ($50 profit) can be seen in lopsided late-season matchups, especially if one team is dealing with key injuries or stuck in a woeful losing skid.
Injuries, home-field advantage, and betting action can all have significant impacts on the odds for a given game, as well as how well the two teams are playing coming into the matchup. Historical head-to-head matchups, especially between division rivals, also play a large role in the initial betting lines.
For instance, the Lions are moneyline favorites over the Bears in Week 1 of the NFL season. Detroit is -136 while Chicago is +112 at DraftKings.
Against the spread bets consist of more conservative odds as the two teams are matched against a line representing how many points by which they’ll need to either win (favorites) or lose (underdogs). It’s easy to say the Lions will be able to beat the Washington Redskins straight up at home. While the moneyline odds in that scenario may price the Lions as an unprofitable -250 favorite, setting a line -7.5 for the Lions to win by at least 8 points makes it a little more entertaining.
Spreads are commonly set at margins of 2.5, 3.5, 6.5, or 7.5 points to represent score margins of either a field goal or touchdown. The odds on either side are usually equal at either -105 or -110.
While these can be less profitable than moneyline wagers for underdogs, with payouts generally ranging from $9.09 to $9.52 on a $10 bet, backing a team to lose by 7 or fewer points at a line of +7.5 is a much safer play. Similarly, backing a heavy home favorite to win by at least 8 points at a line of -7.5 and -110 odds is much more enticing than the -250 or lower odds for a moneyline win.
Instead of betting against either team, total or Over/Under bets ask how many points the two teams will combine to score in a game. Game totals can range from the mid-30s to high-50s. They’re influenced by key injuries, season productivity of both teams and public betting action. The general appeal of the two teams and the weekly TV time slot can drastically affect the line.
Like with spreads, lines are almost always set with a half-point hook. This is to allow for a winning side and a losing side. Occasionally, betting action will leave the closing line at a full number. In these cases, the bet will be considered a push and all wagers on either side will be refunded if the final score lands exactly on that number.
Alternate lines exist for both spreads and totals with books offering more options at a broader range of odds. These can carry higher profit margins or represent safer bets at lower, less-profitable odds. Moneylines, spreads, and totals can also exist for each half or individual quarters.
Get action on individual players in a game with prop bets. Over/Under or Yes/No lines are set on statistical projections or accomplishments such as yardage, touchdowns, or turnovers. With only two possible outcomes in most scenarios, odds are usually set within a conservative range of -130 to +130.
More profitable props will include larger groups of possibilities for which player will score the game’s first touchdown or which receiver from either team will record the most yards. Many of these same props can also operate on a team basis.
Stafford is the Lions’ lone representative listed on the 2020 NFL MVP betting boards. He has some of the longest odds among starting quarterbacks. See below for the best Matthew Stafford futures this season.
Most single-game props for both players and teams can be expanded to encompass a full season in the form of futures bets. Bet on how many yards or touchdowns certain players will score over the course of the season, either against the projected line or in head-to-head matchups or groups of other players.
End-of-year awards and things like the rushing title also exist with odds extending as high as +50000 for a long-shot MVP contender. These odds return a $5,000 profit on a $10 bet made months before. Team futures look at season win totals, chances of winning a division, conference or the Super Bowl.
All futures odds are routinely updated from the time they’re initially released until the outcome has been decided. The closer a player or team gets to the projected line or feat in question, the lower and less profitable the odds will become. A slow start causes odds to grow and numbers can become inflated ahead of a late-season charge.
Betting action also plays a huge role. Not only do people like to back a favorite, but personal biases in star players or teams with national audiences such as the Packers or Dallas Cowboys will also receive an overabundance of bets which can artificially suppress odds relative to the likelihood of winning.
Teasing a line means “buying” or “selling” points on a spread or total to get more profitable odds or to make a bet safer. These new lines can then be used in a parlay that combines each of the individual bets into one with higher odds. Be careful, as the more bets involved in the teaser parlay, the more difficult it is to win as each one needs to play out correctly.
Mobile betting allows football fans to get action on a live game wherever they may be after kickoff. Failed to get your bets in on time or passed on low odds for the favorite? Get in on fresh, updated odds which may switch which team is favored depending on who holds the lead at the time.
Bet the Over if the opening kickoff is returned for a touchdown or back the losing side if the opposing quarterback suffers an injury. Books are very quick to adjust the odds and may even pull lines momentarily after a big play. Be alert and ready to jump on the odds as soon as the price is right.
2019 Detroit Lions season in review
Stafford left the Lions with a 3-4-1 record at the time of his injury last season. He was replaced by a combination of Jeff Driskel and David Blough, neither of which was able to win a game under center. Adding to the injury woes, sophomore RB Kerryon Johnson suffered another injury and was limited to just eight games with a late-season return.
The mid-season trade of S Quandre Diggs contributed to the Lions finishing 31st in the NFL with 400.4 yards allowed per game, including a league-worst 284.4 passing yards per game. Only six teams allowed more points per game than the Lions’ 26.4 and only seven teams had a worse turnover differential (minus-5).
The Lions finished the season with a record of 3-12-1 to earn the No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. They went 6-10 against the spread, losing by an average of 5.1 PPG and failing to cover by 0.9 PPG. Homefield was a little more friendly, as the Lions finished 4-4 ATS at Ford Field. Supported by an awful defense, Lions’ games went 10-6 against the Over/Under last season, and they topped point projections by an average of 2.9 PPG.
Lions 2020 offseason moves
Key trades: Traded CB Darius Slay (to PHI for third-, fifth-round picks in 2020 NFL Draft), Acquired S Duron Harmon, 2020 seventh-round pick (from NE for 2020 fifth-round pick)
Key re-signings: S Miles Killebrew (one year, $2 million), OT Oday Aboushi (one year, $1.2 million), OL Kenny Wiggins (undisclosed), LS Don Muhlbach (one year, $1.1 million)
Key free-agent losses: OT Rick Wagner (to GB), G Graham Glasgow (to DEN), LB Devon Kennard (to ARI), CB Rashaan Melvin (to JAC), DT A’Shawn Robinson (to LAR)
Key free-agent signings: LB Jamie Collins (three years, $30 million), QB Chase Daniel (three years, $13 million), DT Nick Williams (two years, $10 million), CB Desmond Trufant (two years, $20 million), LB Reggie Ragland (one year, $1 million), G Halapoulivaati Vaitai (five years, $45 million)
The Lions’ additions of Daniel and Vaitai seem to be directly related to last season’s injury to Stafford and the struggles of the 2019 backups. Daniel is well experienced and has proven for many teams he can step in and adequately replace the starter for a couple of weeks at a time. Experience was also added on the defensive side in an inexpensive upgrade across the board for the Lions.