Can Jared Goff and the Detroit Lions "Restore the Roar" in the Motor City and lead the Lions to the playoffs? Find out in our Detroit Lions betting preview based on the odds from the best sports betting apps.
Before the 2021 NFL season, the Detroit Lions made a bold move by trading Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for Jared Goff and multiple first-round picks. After the Rams won a Super Bowl in Stafford's first season as their starting quarterback, it seemed like the Rams had clearly come out on top in this trade. However, upon closer inspection, this trade could end up being a win-win for both sides.
Goff, who was traded for Stafford, was essentially seen as a throw-in or a salary dump in the trade. But under the guidance of Offensive Coordinator Ben Johnson, Goff has elevated his game and now appears to be the Lions' franchise quarterback. Moreover, the Lions have made solid draft choices, adding building blocks on both sides of the line with Penei Sewell and Aidan Hutchinson, which has led to their rapid rise in the NFC.
Last year, the Lions gained considerable national attention as they approached the end of the season. They went into Lambeau Field, eliminated the Green Bay Packers in Week 18, and narrowly missed making the playoffs themselves. While they had the makings of a captivating Cinderella story last season, the narrative has shifted this season, and there are now higher expectations for this franchise.
The question now is whether the Lions can live up to the expectations and emerge as the favorites to win the NFC North.
Check out our 2023 Detroit Lions betting preview based on the odds from our best NFL betting sites (pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
Detroit Lions betting preview 2023
Lions to win Under 9.5 games (+110 via BetMGM) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
|9.5 (+110) 🔥
The Lions had a 9-8 record last season and quickly became a team that everyone enjoyed supporting, even though they narrowly missed the playoffs. There's a perception that the Lions will continue to improve as a team, leading to a better record. If they won 9 games last season, it seems logical to expect them to surpass the total of 9.5 wins this season at our best sports betting sites. However, there are some factors to consider with the Lions, starting with their schedule.
Last season, the Lions benefited from a fourth-place schedule, but this year they will face a second-place schedule. Additionally, Jared Goff had a career year in terms of efficiency, and it would be unfair to expect the same level of play from him again.
Based on my power ratings, I have the Lions ranked as the fourth-best team in the NFC and the top team in the NFC North. Most Lions fans would likely be pleased with this assessment and agree with it. However, simply being ranked highly doesn't automatically translate to an Over play on their win total. In sports betting, it's essential to evaluate each bet independently and consider the numbers.
According to my projections, the Lions are expected to win 9.1 games, which indicates that we can price the Under 9.5 wins at -125. With a +110 available on the Under at BetMGM, the Under 9.5 wins shows a positive expected value of 17%.
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NFC North division winner: Lions (+145 via FanDuel) ⭐
|To win Super Bowl
|To win NFC
|To win NFC North
I gave this bet a one-star rating in the header because it's not exactly a bet; rather, it's a breakdown of the numbers for the Lions to win the NFC North division. According to my numbers and projections, the Lions are positioned as the best team in the NFC North and likely to win the division. However, even though I have them as the division winners, the compensation we would receive for this outcome occurring is not quite where we need it to be.
Based on my calculations, I have the Lions priced at +172 to win the NFC North, but the best price available is +145 through FanDuel. While it's close to being a viable bet, it doesn't quite meet the mark. On the other hand, the +120 odds offered by Caesars are definitely not worth considering for the Lions to win the NFC North.
If you share my belief that the Lions will win the NFC North, it's wiser to wait for the market to shift. This waiting is not for a "better price" relative to the current +145 odds; rather, we're waiting for adjustments in the market caused by media and public perception. Ideally, these adjustments would create a more substantial probability gap between where we believe the Lions should be priced to win the NFC North and the current market price, taking into account updated numbers from the results of their games.
In conclusion, I do like the Lions' chances of winning the NFC North, but the current pricing is not favorable enough for us to place the bet just yet.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Jahmyr Gibbs (+1000 via Caesars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Lions surprised everyone by selecting Jahmyr Gibbs with the 12th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The general consensus was that Gibbs would be drafted at the end of the first round or possibly at the beginning of the second round. However, the Lions drafted him early because they see his potential to become a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses with his speed and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Gibbs' skillset has been compared to Alvin Kamara, who won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 2017.
One thing is certain: the Lions didn't use the 12th overall pick on Gibbs to keep him on the bench. They intend to utilize him early and often in his rookie season. There's a new trend with running backs, where teams are reluctant to extend them past their rookie deals and prefer to maximize their usage while they're on their rookie contracts. Gibbs is expected to be an immediate weapon for the Lions; they won't hold him back to save him for a future contract.
At Pinnacle, Gibbs is trading at +922 to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. FanDuel and bet365 have adjusted their odds to be closer to this number, but Caesars still offers a +1000 on Gibbs. It would be wise to take advantage of this price at Caesars, as it's likely they will adjust their odds to match the rest of the market soon. Besides the attractive price, I genuinely believe Gibbs poses a serious threat to win this award due to his ability to make an immediate impact.
Regular season receptions leader: Amon-Ra St. Brown (+1800 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐
There are numerous compelling reasons to consider Amon-Ra St. Brown for futures bets, and it's challenging to know where to begin when breaking down this bet. First and foremost, St. Brown is projected to have 100.2 receptions in the upcoming season, placing him in the top 10 for this statistical category according to the projections. These projections certainly position St. Brown as a strong competitor for this market, but there are other aspects of this bet that make it appealing to me.
One appealing factor is that St. Brown will be entering his third season with the Lions, and it's also his third season with Jared Goff as his quarterback, Ben Johnson handling the passing game, and Dan Campbell as the head coach. In a league where coaching and quarterback changes are common, St. Brown finds himself in the same system for a third consecutive season. This consistency has already shown positive results, with his receptions increasing from 90 to 106 receptions between his rookie and sophomore campaigns.
Furthermore, it's worth noting that St. Brown achieved 106 receptions in only 16 games last season, compared to the 90 receptions he had across 17 games in his rookie year. This indicates that he had the potential to achieve even higher numbers if given more games. Considering all these factors, St. Brown has the profile of someone who could easily surpass 120 receptions, making him a serious contender to win this market.
With St. Brown potentially pacing for 120-plus receptions, the +1800 odds to lead the NFL in receptions offered by DraftKings could become a valuable ticket to have as the season progresses.
Most regular season receiving touchdowns: Amon-Ra St. Brown (+4500 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐
For the longest time in the NFL, if you were big, physical, and capable of winning jump balls, you would lead the league in receiving touchdowns. These players typically dominate this market as the short shots, and it's for good reason. However, there's a select group of players in the NFL who excel at route running, can create separation in tight windows, and also pose as red zone threats. St. Brown is one of these players and has entered the chat.
The challenge with these players is that the offensive coordinator must get creative and be willing to design plays specifically tailored to match their skillset. Additionally, developing chemistry between the quarterback and the wide receiver is crucial when targeting tight windows. This is where the continuity between Johnson, Goff, and St. Brown, entering their third season together, becomes a crucial piece to this puzzle.
Last season, St. Brown led the Lions in red zone targets with 17, coming in only five targets behind Davante Adams, who led the NFL in receiving touchdowns. St. Brown shouldn't have an issue with opportunities in the red zone; the key will be converting those chances into touchdowns. Although St. Brown's athleticism and size might not immediately stand out as that of a big-time red zone threat, this public perception is precisely why we can find a longer price on him.
At DraftKings, there's an enticing +4500 staring back at you, making St. Brown a candidate for a light wager in this market. None of our best sportsbooks, other than DraftKings, offer this type of price on St. Brown. In fact, FanDuel has him as short as +2000.
Given that St. Brown has publicly stated his intention to be more of a downfield threat this season, he might be flying under the radar in this specific market due to concerns about his size. However, it's essential to shift our focus towards his overall skillset and a +4500 price point doesn't hurt either.
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