Detroit Lions Installed as a Betting Favorite for the First Time in 24 Games

After spending the last 24 games as an underdog, the Detroit Lions are the betting favorite when they host the Washington Commanders at Ford Field in downtown Detroit on Sunday.

Dan Campbell, head coach of the Detroit Lions, on the sidelines of the season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. Campbell and the Lions are a betting favorites for the first time since November of 2020. (Image: SI)

You must go back to Week 11 during the 2020 season to find the last time the Lions were a betting favorite. The Carolina Panthers were a one-point home dog, with PJ Walker as the starting quarterback against Matthew Stafford and the Lions. Walker and the Panthers shut out the Lions, 20-0.

The Lions (0-1) are currently -1.5 favorites with the point spread according to the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas. If you want to bet the Lions on the moneyline, they’re -125 odds.

I didn’t even know we were the favorites,” said wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. “For us, we don’t care what the spread is. We feel like we’re the underdog in every game just because of the history of this program, so we know what teams are going to think about us.”

The Commanders (1-0) won their season opener, 28-22 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Philadelphia Eagles edged out the Lions 35-32 last Sunday. Even though the Lions lost, they impressed fans and bookmakers, which is why the Lions are the favorite in Week 2.

Detroit Lions Underdogs in 24 Straight

For the previous 24 games, the Lions closed as an underdog, which set a record in the Super Bowl era. Even hardcore fans dubbed the Lions as perennial “undercats” during the historic run as underdogs. Haters and trolls often refer to the Lions as the Detroit Kittens after four straight losing seasons. The Lions qualified for the postseason only three times since 2000. The downtrodden Lions last won a playoff game in 1991, which marked their sole postseason victory in the Super Bowl era.

The Lions are 4-19-1 in their last 24 games, yet have a winning record against the spread with a 15-9 clip.

Even though the Lions went 3-11-1 last season, they boasted the fourth-best record in the NFL against the spread at 11-6. Yes, the Lions were a bad team last year, but betting the Lions with the points proved to be a profitable venture.

The Lions dropped their 2022 season opener against the Eagles. Despite the three-point loss, the Lions beat the spread as a +6 underdog.

In the NFL futures market, the Lions are near the bottom of the betting board. DraftKings listed the Lions at +13000 odds to win Super Bowl 57. Only the Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans, and New York Jets have longer odds than the Lions.

Hard Knock Lions Betting Bias

The Lions were featured in the popular HBO reality series Hard Knocks, where cameras followed their every move in the preseason. The public develops a bias for teams featured in Hard Knocks because of the familiarity factor of the players and coaching staff. Expect the same thing to happen this season with the Lions.

Head coach Dan Campbell is quite the eccentric character, which made him great fodder for a reality series. Even though the Lions were a losing squad in 2021, Campbell’s team played hard every game. He made huge strides to instill a winning culture, which is one of the reasons why the Lions overachieved against the spread last season.

The 2022 Detroit Lions will be the team that can and will,” said Campbell.

The Lions are in the middle of a dismal stretch, with four consecutive losing seasons. Oddsmakers do not think they can post a winning record for the first time since they went 9-7 in 2017. Fans feel the team is on an upswing, and coupled with the Hard Knocks bias, the Lions were a popular pick to exceed their projected win total of 6.5 victories in 2022.

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