Detroit Lions Predictions for Playoffs and Best Bets with Super Bowl Odds
It has finally happened. The Detroit Lions won a playoff game for the first time since 1992, narrowly edging the LA Rams 24-23 on Sunday Night. Detroit finished off last season by winning 8 of their final 9 games. And while there was optimism in Detroit heading into this season, a 12-5 regular season record with their first playoff win in 32 years is already an extremely successful season. Jared Goff and Amon-Ra St. Brown connected for 110 yards in the Wild Card Round, and the upstart Lions team is eager to take their success a step further. A divisional round home game against the Buccaneers is on tap, and there is plenty of belief that Detroit can make a serious Super Bowl push. There is still plenty of value left on the Lions futures. However, are the lines long enough to take a shot at Detroit making, or winning their first Super Bowl in franchise history? Let’s find out.
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Odds to win the divisional round: -300
Odds to win the NFC: +325
Odds to win the Super Bowl: +850
The Lions have a very well rounded, and consistent offensive unit, which scored 19+ points in 16 out of 18 games this season. Detroit finished in the top 5 for passing yards, rushing yards, total yards, and points, consistently getting the job done on a weekly basis. Under center, Jared Goff has been quietly silencing the doubters by putting together his best season in a Lions uniform. The former first overall pick hasn’t quite lived up to expectations. However, if he can take Detroit to a Super Bowl, he will forever go down in their history books. The offensive weapons surrounding him continue to develop, as Amon-Ra St. Brown had the best season of his career. The third year wideout hauled in 1,515 yards with 10 touchdowns and is the number one option in Detroit when it matters most. Rookie tight end Sam LaPorta has been the next best option, but with St. Brown amassing a whopping 51% of all receiving yards for the Lions this season, it is pretty clear who this passing game runs through. In the backfield, the combination of David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs has been one of the most fascinating duos to watch this season. Montgomery is known for grinding out yards up the middle. And when the Lions need a yard or two for a first down, he is the one they turn to. Alternatively, Gibbs is the much more dynamic back, who can catch passes and cut to the outside for big gains. Having not one, but two high-level running backs is a luxury few teams have, and the Lions make full use of their stars, rushing for the 5th most yards this season.
On defense, Detroit has struggled immensely in the passing game, while holding their opponents to the 2nd fewest rushing yards. Let’s start with the good. The Lions ability to stop the run has allowed them to prevent any sustained drives from their opponents, by either getting a quick stop or giving up big chunk yards over the top. The ability to stop the run puts Detroit in the top 5 in terms of time of possession, keeping their opponents defense on the back foot. In the secondary, Detroit has struggled to prevent big passing plays. And against Super Bowl caliber opponents, with Super Bowl caliber quarterbacks, the Lions will not have much of a fighting chance if they cannot shore up the secondary. CJ Gardner-Johnson has been unable to replicate his dominant season in Philadelphia. And without much experienced help down the field, he’s often tasked with one-on-one coverage over the top. The one bright spot for this defense has been the defensive line. Aidan Hutchinson has been one of the best run stoppers this season, and the ability to stop the run often comes from the linemen, not the linebackers. While linemen are often judged on their ability to get to the quarterback, which Hutchinson’s 11.5 sacks is still nothing to scoff at, the run stopping abilities can be just as important. As long as Detroit keeps stopping the run, they can drop into coverage and hopefully do just enough to get their offense back on the field.
Path to the Super Bowl
Thanks to the Cowboys annual playoff collapse, the Lions are gifted a home game in the divisional round to celebrate their first ever NFC North win. A visit from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is probably the easiest matchup the Lions can ask for, and they are coming in as a -300 favorite to advance. The Buccaneers quality offensive line has allowed Baker Mayfield the time he needs to read the defense and make accurate throws all season long. Both of these teams excel with their run defense, which will lead to a high scoring, pass filled contest. Goff will need to be on his A game to keep the magical Lions playoff run alive, but things don’t get any easier after that. In the divisional round, Detroit will either visit the Super Bowl favorites, the 49ers, or get a third home game against the Green Bay Packers. San Francisco is expected to wipe the floor with the Packers and will be a very difficult matchup for the Lions. A plethora of offensive weapons will test the Lions secondary, as Deebo Samuel, Bradon Aiyuk, George Kittle, and even Christian McCaffrey are some of the hardest men to bring down in the open field. There is no doubt the Lions will have to navigate a pair of difficult matchups in both the NFC Championship and the Super Bowl. However, this fearless Lions squad with absolutely nothing to lose will come in with fire, and hopefully tangible success to show for their efforts.
There are a few possible ways we can attack the Detroit Lions, but it won’t be in the divisional round. There is absolutely no way a -300 bet can be justified against the Buccaneers, who have already upset the Eagles this postseason. Tampa Bay matches up nicely with Detroit, and I honestly expect a razor tight showdown in Detroit on Sunday afternoon. The +325 odds on an NFC Championship are intriguing, but the home run ball is the only bet I can even partially justify on the Lions. Assuming the 49ers beat the Packers this weekend, the Lions odds on an NFC title, and the Super Bowl, will increase, as they are a much tougher opponent than Green Bay. At +850, there can be arguments for a Detroit Super Bowl, but it’s still a little out of my price range. Detroit would have to go into San Francisco and walk out with a win, before heading to Vegas to take on the AFC winner. I have the Lions losing to the 49ers, Ravens, Bills, and Chiefs this postseason. And while the Cinderella run for Detroit has been fun to watch, it will fall short. Despite the NFL playoffs reaching their conclusion, waiting to see if the Lions can beat the Buccaneers, and who their NFC championship opponent will be, is the way to go. Even with a Detroit and San Francisco win in the divisional round, the Lions odds for the NFC title game, and the Super Bowl, will barely move. There is no reason to take on any extra risk at this stage. So, while having money on a Lions Super Bowl would be fun, it is simply a losing wager at this price. It’s a pass from me.
Best Bet: Wait until the NFC championship before taking any Lions futures
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