MI Sports Betting: Can the Lions Roar Their Way to the Playoffs?

Our experts analyze the odds for the Lions’ 2023-24 NFL season. Discover the Detroit Lions’ playoff potential according to Michigan sportsbooks.
The exterior of Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions, Michigan's NFL team. MI Sports Betting: Can the Lions Roar Their Way to the Playoffs?
September 10, 2023

The most popular sports team in Michigan, the Detroit Lions, is at the beginning of a new journey as they get to open the brand-new NFL season against the reigning champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. Michigan sportsbooks and NFL betting fans alike are hyped for what will surely be an exciting season for the Lions.

Exactly three decades have passed since the Lions last won their division, and it has been even two years more since their previous playoffs win. And yet, here they are, standing tall in all NFC North title projections going into the 2023 campaign.

What has changed in between? Below, we give our expert opinion on Detroit’s chances of finally making the playoffs and getting that positive regular season record for the first time since 2017.

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The Week 18 Win Over the Packers Spoke Volumes

Dan Campbell went 3-13-1 straight up in his inaugural season with the Lions. From that, he improved to 11-6 ATS (against the spread) in 2021 and secured an above .500 record last year (9-8) despite opening the season with one win in seven games.

Detroit has quickly become a public bet among the US bettors with fantastic ATS numbers in the previous two years (11-6 and 12-5).

How the Lions secured a positive record last year was particularly impressive and something head coach Dan Campbell and his troops can build optimism on. Detroit was eliminated from the playoffs race before their Week 18 game against the Packers kicked off, following the Seahawks’ win earlier that day.

The NFL schedule-makers received tons of criticism on the occasion as everyone thought Green Bay would secure postseason action with an easy win over non-motivated Detroit in front of the home fans.

However, what happened that night at the Lambeau Field served as a stronger indicator of the Lions’ strength than a potential playoff berth. Campbell’s men showed huge heart and character to overcome a fourth-quarter deficit and stun the Packers 20-16 on the road, denying Green Bay a postseason spot and securing their maiden above .500 regular season record in six years.

That win spoke volumes, concluding an amazing run for Detroit, who were 8-2 in the final ten games of the season. Finally, more optimism comes from their divisional record last year as the Lions won all but one of six clashes against the NFC North opponents.

A Strong Offseason Business as a Guarantee for the Future

We all know Detroit needed upgrades in the secondary, and that’s exactly what the team’s board delivered this summer. The Lions spent cash on cornerbacks Cameron Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley and safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. Moseley’s $6 million one-year deal is a bargain, but we must not forget that he is coming off a torn ACL.

Speaking of upgrades, the arrival of David Montgomery in Jamaal Williams’ place can arguably be considered one. Williams did have 17 rushing TDs last year, but Montgomery is another elite running back capable of bolstering these numbers. D’Andre Swift has also left the team in the offseason as Detroit opened up the space for newly acquired rookie Jahmyr Gibbs.

The Motown faithful were surprised to see the Lions spending their first-round picks on non-premium spots, but they trust Jared Goff and have a vision of building a young core on both ends of the ball.

Since we mentioned Goff, we must praise him for confounding the expectations after the Matthew Stafford trade. Jared delivered 29 passing touchdowns last year while throwing for 4,438 yards along the way.

Aidan Hutchinson and James Houston Are Ready for More Records

Rookies Aidan Hutchinson and James Houston caused chaos in defense last year. The Lions broke the NFL record for the most sacks from rookies in one season (20.5). Hutchinson contributed with 9.5, while Houston added 8, making them the inaugural pair of rookie teammates with at least eight sacks each in a single campaign.

This duo made a huge difference in the second half of last season, bumping Detroit from 31st to 20th in DVOA in the final six weeks of the season. We can’t wait to see them in action this year. Pay special attention to Hutchinson, who is a solid contender for Defensive Player of the Year in the years to come.

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Why Will the Lions Win the NFC North?

MI sportsbooks have Detroit at 9.5 wins this season, with the juice leaning towards the Over. The fans in Motown have not been as enthusiastic in a long time. Hear us out — they have all the reasons to be.

The schedule is Detroit’s closest friend this year, as the Lions are laying points in a dozen of their 17 games this season. Also, their NFC North rivals are in shambles.

Detroit are favorites in all but one divisional outing in 2023 as the books give them +1 away in Minnesota in Week 16. For the sake of comparison, the Packers are laying points in 5, the Vikings in 6, and the Bears in 7 games this season.

Nine wins will almost guarantee the top of the division for the Lions. When you do the math, the value is fantastic in the +140 odds currently offered by DraftKings Sportsbook for Detroit to win the NFC North. Whether they have what it takes to be competitive in the playoffs is hard to say at the moment, but let’s go step-by-step.

Do not forget that the Lions have not won the division since 1993. If you are still looking for longshots, Detroit is +2200 to win the Super Bowl at DraftKings Sportsbook and +1100 to win the NFC. With all the hype around these Lions, we would skip these markets and just stick to the division for now.

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