NFL Betting: When Do Lions Break Through?
by Matt Severance - 9/4/2009
The Detroit Lions are on fire! Restore the Roar! They finished the preseason on Thursday night with a 3-1 record. So obviously the Lions must be a better club than last season's 0-16 regular-season club, right?
Not so fast my friends!
First of all, Detroit was 4-0 last preseason, so it's pretty obvious that exhibition games mean zilch when translating to regular-season success.
By saying that, it's pretty obvious that the Lions aren't going to go winless again in 2009. Thus, Bodog offers you a prop bet to wager on which game that Detroit will taste victory for the first time since Dec. 23, 2007.
Here are your options:
Sept. 13 at New Orleans: 4/1
Sept. 20 vs. Minnesota: 4/1
Sept. 27 vs. Washington: 2/1
Oct. 4 at Chicago: 11/2
Oct. 11 vs. Pittsburgh: 7/1
Oct. 18 at Green Bay: 7/1
Nov. 1 vs. St. Louis: 3/1
Field (any other game): 3/1
Winless again: 20/1
I think the oddsmakers nailed it by having the Redskins and Rams as the two most likely teams to go home with their tails between their legs. Now, it's hard to totally gauge the Lions' chances until they name a starting quarterback. No. 1 overall pick Matthew Stafford started the final preseason game and was a decent 5-for-9 for 81 yards. But he also threw a pick for the fourth game in a row and was sacked twice, losing a fumble. And the Lions' No. 1 offense produced two turnovers and a punt in three series against the Bills' second-teamers, so that's a little scary.
Stafford is battling Daunte Culpepper, who didn't play because of a cut on his foot.
"We'll make the decision when we feel the time's right, and we'll announce it when we feel the time's right," a rather vague Lions coach Jim Schwartz said.
Let's assume it's Culpepper who at least starts the season at No. 1. Can Detroit score enough against the Saints? Remember, that Lions defense was one of the worst in NFL history last year. It allowed opposing passers a QB rating of better than 110, which is ridiculous. Yeah, Drew Brees might have a good game. Detroit lost 42-7 at home to the Saints last year. Pass on this one.
One would think Detroit has zero chance against a good Minnesota team. But the Lions lost both games by a combined six points last season. However, that Viking team had either Gus Frerotte or Tarvaris Jackson at QB, not Brett Favre. Pass on this one.
The Redskins, however, might be set up for the upset. The Skins are a so-so club, not great on either side of the ball. And they play down to their opposition - witness last year's home loss to the Rams, a near-loss to Cleveland and a 25-17 loss at Detroit in which the Lions led for half the game.
What about the Bears? Chicago has had trouble at Detroit over the years and was swept by the Lions as recently as 2007 but then returned the favor (obviously) last year. Pass.
I could certainly see Detroit covering against a Steeler team that won't help but be overconfident, no matter what Mike Tomlin tells them. Plus Pittsburgh will be coming off a huge Sunday night game against San Diego. But Ford Field also will be full of traveling Steeler fans, so the Lions won't be winning this one.
Detroit actually hung with Green Bay fairly well last year, scoring at least 21 points in each. Maybe if it's unseasonably warm there's a chance for Detroit, but the Pack have a bye week before playing the Lions, so nope.
Obviously if Detroit gets to the Rams game winless (as the Rams might be), that matchup might go down as one of the worst in NFL history. But the Lions might actually be favored and they have a bye week preceding it to prepare. But it's too easy predicting this one as Detroit's victory, and, frankly not as interesting. That doesn't mean it won't happen.
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