Based on the Detroit Lions’ opening line against the New York Jets in Week 1—up to seven points in some places—you may think NFL bettors, and therefore the Vegas odd-setters, are pretty high on the Lions this year. You would be very, very wrong.
CG Sportsbook put together their game odds for the entire 2018 season (omitting Week 17), and it is not very favorable to the Lions at all. In fact, Detroit is only favored in four games for the entire season! Here’s the breakdown:
Week 1 - vs. Jets - Lions by 6
Week 2 - at 49ers - 49ers by 3.5
Week 3 - vs. Patriots - Patriots by 4
Week 4 - at Cowboys - Cowboys by 4
Week 5 - vs. Packers - Packers by 1
Week 7 - at Dolphins - Dolphins by 1
Week 8 - vs. Seahawks - Lions by 1.5
Week 9 - at Vikings - Vikings by 7
Week 10 - at Bears - Bears by 1
Week 11 - vs. Panthers - Lions by 2.5
Week 12 - vs. Bears - Lions by 5
Week 13 - vs. Rams - Rams by 2
Week 14 - at Cardinals - Cardinals by 1
Week 15 - at Bills - PICK
Week 16 - vs. Vikings - Vikings by 6.5
Week 17 - at Packers - NO LINE
There are a few interesting notes here. First, the Lions are not a road favorite once during the entire season. While that’s not all that surprising—Vegas heavily favors the home team this early in the year—Detroit has some games that could be considered very winnable on the road. Certainly, the Lions should be favored in one of the following road games: 49ers (6-10 last year), Dolphins (6-10), Bears (5-11), Cardinals (8-8), Bills (9-7).
To make matters worse, the Lions are home underdogs in half of their games in Detroit. To be fair, the Lions have a very difficult schedule at Ford Field, hosting the Packers, Patriots, Rams, Vikings and Panthers among others. It’s hard for the Lions to fight the public perception that national darlings like the Rams, Patriots and Packers until they actually accomplish something better than a Wild Card berth. Until then, expect trends like this to continue.
For what it’s worth, the Lions were favored in six games last year.