Why bettors should feel comfortable supporting the Detroit Lions in 2022 | NFL and NCAA betting picks

The NFL offseason is a time for every fan base — justified or not — to feel optimistic about their favorite team. Some franchises, such as the Seattle Seahawks, have gone out of their way to suppress positivity from their fans, but others — whether due to strong team-building principles or not — have acquired worthy talent. suitor.

We’ve seen that song and dance before with the Detroit Lions. In 2019, before Matthew Stafford’s injury, I wrote how much I loved the Lions going forward. I’d love to say the Lions won a whole game after Stafford’s injury, but let’s be honest, I was wrong. In 2020 – maybe due to betting on too many Madden sims or spending too much time indoors due to COVID the betting markets (myself included) dropped the price of the Lions to win the NFC North by around 9/1 to 6/1 from open to close. Two days after Detroit suffered a blowout loss to the Houston Texans on Thanksgiving Day, everyone was fired.

General manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell took over, traded Stafford, and began what looked like a lengthy rebuild in the 2021 offseason. Only the Jacksonville Jaguars finished the 2021 season with a score. inferior Nominal power PFF Elo worse than the -8.8 Detroit has racked up. Detroit lost big to Green Bay, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Denver and Seattle en route to falling below their 4.5-win season total with a 3-13-1 record.

That said, the Lions went 11-6 against the spread and by all accounts (we’re an analytics company, so that would sound like a “personal communication” quote in an academic paper) played tough for Campbell all the way to the end of a tough season. They dealt with Jared Goff’s injuries that lasted most of the season while Taylor Decker, Frank Ragnow, D’Andre Swift, Quintez Cephus and TJ Hockenson all missed time. Also, second-year cornerback Jeff Okudah was injured in Game 1 and missed the entire season.

Now, if those were the only players the Lions brought back, or if they played in the AFC, that wouldn’t be enough to justify an article like this. However, the Lions have done some work this offseason to strengthen their roster while being helped by a bit of luck along the way.

The Jaguars, holding the first draft pick for the second straight season, inexplicably took Georgia defender Travon Walker above the Aidan Hutchinson much more accomplishedwhich fell in Detroit’s lap. Hutchinson plans to be a much better player than Walker in Year 1 and in general to one of the most prestigious positions in the league.

Then, later in the first round, the Minnesota Vikings – who held the 12th pick – traded with Detroit in a move that ultimately landed Jameson Williams in the Motor City. Although the return is (almost always) the most analytical move, the Lions gave up less than a team normally does for such a move and acquired Williams, who could become the best receiver in the class. Additionally, the additions of DJ Chark, Josh Paschal and Kerby Joseph have elevated the Lions roster from one of the worst in all of football.

In addition, the Lions play to the strengths and weaknesses of their team. Goff – who led the Rams to record four straight seasons with three playoff appearances and a Super Bowl appearance – has always been a much worse passer when under pressure than when clean – an outlier for a data distribution that typically varies wildly each year for most passers-by.

Season Clean pocket quality Pocket quality under pressure
2021 70.5 46.0
2020 88.2 32.1
2019 83.4 51.6
2018 93.6 44.1
2017 89.5 48.1
2016 57.8 29.0

Although it is difficult to fundamentally improve a player’s performance under pressure – results may vary – a team can make moves to ensure the composition of clean passing plays under pressure is better for the quarterback -back. Last year, Goff faced pressure on 32.7% of his dropouts while in 2020 that number was 30.7%. The current Lions offensive line is a positive group, as it has first-round players in the three most important positions along the line of scrimmage with the return of Frank Ragnow and Taylor Decker.


Get a PFF Elite subscription for all this information.


In addition to improving the Lions attack, the situation for the Lions in 2022 should be much better, which means that their rate of long-distance and late game situations should be lower than it was in the past, which should take the pressure off Goff. rates. According to our Elo rating system, the Lions schedule is such that the average opponent – after adjusting for home court and rest – will be 0.91 points worse per game than the average team, the second worst list easy football behind the New York Giants. . Add to that the fact that all Lions games start no later than 1 p.m. EST, and the game is stacked in favor of Detroit in 2022.

Thus, we are going to make the case for the Lions in the betting markets here. Here are the following ways to support the (Honolulu) Blue:

These are the best legal sports betting offers that I have researched but are not necessarily exhaustive. Be sure to shop around, because “YES” to make the playoffs is more than a dollar better at Caesar’s Sportsbook (+475) than it is at FanDuel (+370), and while most of the market is painted at 6.5 wins (-105 is the cheapest I’ve found, but it’s -115 elsewhere), “OVER 6” at -135 is a better bet if you can stomach the cost.

Here’s the lean from our season simulation explaining why these are value bets:

  • We give Lions an average of 7.43 wins over 10,000 simulations – 23.4% of the time they win less than six games, 13.9% of the time they win exactly six games and 62.7% of the time they win seven games or more. A price of -135 requires that 57.4% of the unpushed events exceed the total wins, and in this case this is achieved, because 62.7%/(23.4% + 62.7%) = 72, 8%. If “OVER 6.5” (-105) is what you want, the break-even point is 51.2%, which is exceeded by the aforementioned 62.7%, but not as much as “OVER 6” ( -135) is exceeded.
  • The Lions’ probability of qualifying for the playoffs is 26.3%. The breakeven point needed to make +475 a positive expected value game is 17.4%. So, it’s a good bet but not as good as the total winnings are.
  • Finally, we give the Lions a 10.2% chance of winning the NFC North. The breakeven percentage on +1000 is 9.1%, so this bet has a positive expected value but not as much as the previous two bets. Be careful here too, because FanDuel has Detroit at +850 to win the North, which requires a 10.5% breakeven point, meaning if you bet that price, you’re making a negative expected value play.

The Lions have been a frustrating team to support and, until last year, a difficult team to support in the betting markets. There are a number of reasons why this could change in 2022, which we’ve outlined here. In a weak NFC, there will be a team that we don’t think is good that still emerges to make the seven-team tournament, and I believe that team will be the Lions.

Charles P. Patton