To say confidence is high in Detroit would be an understatement. Fans and players alike are feeling great about the direction of this Detroit Lions team, and it’s hard to blame them. We don’t get to witness a lot of Lions’ beatdowns the likes of what we saw on Sunday with their 40-14 blowout win, and it’s even rarer to see Detroit post five straight games of really good play.
That optimism has clearly seeped into the national betting audience, because although the 10-2 Minnesota Vikings opened the week as slight favorites, that betting line has dramatically shifted in the last 24 hours, and now the Lions are 1.5-point favorites according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
On the surface, it’s easy to call that an overreaction to recent results. The Lions are surging, but the Vikings are a team who have only lost one game since Week 2. In the process, they’ve taken down solid teams like the Dolphins, Bills, and Jets.
But a closer examination reveals that these two teams are far closer than one may imagine. The Vikings have the lowest point differential of any 10-2 team in NFL history at just +10, and the Lions, at 5-7, aren’t far behind at just -9. Detroit is also significantly higher in Football Outsiders’ DVOA efficiency metric. The Lions rank 13th in DVOA, while the Vikings rank 20th.
Then, of course, there’s the previous matchup from Week 3. The Vikings escaped Minnesota with a win, but Detroit outplayed them for three quarters, held a 10-point lead in the final quarter, and had it not been for some late, questionable coaching decisions, they probably would’ve won that game.
Even with all of that considered, it’s still pretty jarring to see the Lions favored in a game against a 10-2 opponent.