After a very disappointing 2013 season, the Lions have rebuilt and rearmed in order to try and compete in a very tough NFC North. With a new head coach this season, will the Lions be able to bounce back into contention, or will it be another below .500 year?
Super Bowl (+3300)
Right now at Bovada Sportsbook, the Lions are priced pretty high at +3300 to win the Super Bowl. In fact they are above teams like the Bengals, Chargers and Chiefs; three teams that made the playoffs last season. Detroit has improved over this offseason. The hiring of Jim Caldwell is going to give this team a new dimension to their passing attack, and with a steady running game from a very deep backfield, the Lions’ chances of rebounding from their 4-12 season a year ago are high. The learning curve may be steep, but the Lions have shown promise with this core group on offense and defense, and while it may not be this season, their time is coming. For 2014 their NFL Odds this summer are severely overvalued. Although their offense will likely be pretty good, it was pretty good last season. The addition of Golden Tate, and the growth and health of Reggie Bush, Joique Bell and Mikel Leshoure in the backfield are going to be nice, but the opposite side of the ball is where the questions lie.
Not only does the defense hold all the questions, it also holds all the value. Imagine $10,000 in the hands of Ndamukong Suh and all the Lions have to do on defense is stop some people just a little for you to get it. With their pass rush you’d think it would be possible, but even as highly touted as their front seven was last season, they ranked 28th in the NFL in sacks. Both Suh and Nick Fairley were healthy all season too. Even though they stopped the run well, the lack of a pass rush really put a strain on their secondary. The Lions gave up nearly 250 passing yards per game last season, but a nice addition in the secondary might help this team create some turnovers as well. James Ihedigbo joins the club from Baltimore, and will start at strong safety. The Super Bowl winner had an excellent season in 2013 with the Ravens, forcing five total turnovers on the season.
NFC North (+400)
The Lions are priced in behind the Bears and Packers once again this season, and with two heavyweights at the top of the NFC North, it might not be the best season to wager on the Lions to take the division. With a new head coach and some turnover on defense, this team will show some flashes this year, but ultimately it would surprise me to see them above .500 this year. Four of their final six games of the season are against the Bears twice, and the Packers and Patriots on the road. Even if they are somehow able to win just two of those games, the best I could see them is 9-7. However that would be a stretch, and even if they do get nine wins this year (Their season win total prop from Bovada is 8 ½) I doubt it’s enough to win the NFC North.