The Detroit Lions opened as 3-point underdogs to the New Orleans Saints, a seemingly fair line for a 3-2 team on the road against a 2-2 team.
But since the game has opened, the line has shifted drastically. The general consensus has the Saints now favored by 4.5 points, but some have that line as high as 5.5. A shift in a betting line like that is usually a sign that a majority of early bettors are placing money on one side. In other words, when the Lions were just 3-point underdogs, a huge majority of gamblers were taking the Saints.
With the line now as high as 5.5, will there be further movement late in the week? ESPN’s Mike Sando asked a few NFL insiders (ESPN Insider required) who they would pick in this Week 6 matchup with the 5.5 line and two of them still went with the Saints.
“I think New Orleans has turned it around a little bit on defense," one of the anonymous insiders told ESPN. "Detroit, I just keep saying their defense really is not that good from a talent standpoint, but they are being coached very well and they are all doing their jobs, as [Bill] Belichick would say.”
Obviously, Matthew Stafford’s injury may have a lot to do with why the Saints are so heavily favored. However Wednesday’s injury report noted that the Lions quarterback was not even limited in practice, so there’s little question he plays on Sunday.
The one NFL insider that picked the Lions said that should be the difference for Detroit this week. "Detroit has more consistency than they've ever had, they've got better personnel mixed more evenly than they have had and the quarterback situation is good," they told ESPN. "Detroit has a better overall team and should win as the more balanced team.”
Detroit has now been underdogs in five of six games this season. In the four previous games, the Lions have come out victorious three times. They’ll have a chance to make it four on Sunday.