The Detroit Lions: For Those Who Bet Numbers (Not Teams)

by Team Del Genio

The betting public tends to want to bet for or against teams. Those looking to share the perspective of the oddsmakers look at the numbers before assessing a team’s ability to cover that point spread. These bettors may develop the habit of consistently backing the Detroit Lions this season.

After 33 losses in Matt Patricia’s three seasons as the Detroit head coach, it is of little surprise that bettors are not fond of betting on the Lions. Detroit has been an underdog of more than a touchdown in each of their first three games. 

Dan Campbell is the new head coach after serving as the interim head coach for the Miami Dolphins in 2015 after Joe Philbin was let go after four games. Campbell led the team to win five of their remaining twelve games while drawing national attention for doing gimmicky things like bring the Oklahoma drill to practices. After serving on Sean Payton’s coaching staff as the tight ends coach, Campbell got hired by the Lions in the offseason. 

His eccentric nature was ridiculed by the sports media when he talked in introductory press conferences about his team biting knee caps to demonstrate the fight and resolve he expects from his players. Yet these comments may have hit the right cord for the fans (and players) in Detroit who found Patricia aloof and a beneficiary of being a former defensive coordinator for Bill Belichick. Campbell knows the city and the mentality of the fanbase as a former player for the Lions himself.

Campbell has assembled an intriguing coaching team around him. Anthony Lynn is a good offensive mind at offensive coordinator who is now being rumored as a candidate for the heading coaching job at USC. Lynn’s biggest failing as the head coach of the Chargers was his game management late in games. Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn is one of the hot young coaches in the game. After being a leader for many of Bill Parcel’s defenses for the New York Jets and later the Dallas Cowboys, he shined as the defensive backs coach at New Orleans, where he first worked with Campbell. Veteran defensive coach Dom Capers is a special consultant. Campbell is a Bill Parcells-disciple, as well, who is taking on the role of CEO head coach. 

The national media may not have bought in right away, yet the players seem to have become believers in Campbell. It would be easy for the Lions to fold after falling behind to San Francisco, 38-10, midway through the third quarter in their opening game of the season. Yet Detroit kept fighting by outscoring the 49ers 23-3 the rest of the way including making both of their 2-point conversions to put the game within one scoring possession before losing 41-33. 

The Lions then held a 17-14 halftime lead in Green Bay on Monday Night Football. A failed fourth-down attempt deep in Packers’ territory early in the second half changed the momentum of that game. The final score, 35-17, does not accurately reflect how competitive that game was. Detroit won the yardage battle, 344-323. 

Detroit then rallied from a 10-0 halftime deficit to take a 17-16 lead against Baltimore last week before the Ravens’ kicker, Justin Tucker, kicked an NFL record 66-yard field goal to win the game. Perhaps it was only a former Lions’ player who could appreciate the bad turn of events for the club when replays revealed that the referees failed to call a delay of game penalty on Baltimore that should have nullified the successful kick. Campbell acknowledged the error, dismissed any eventual apology from the league as useless, and then got his team focused for their next game. 

It is going to take some time to rebuild the roster that Patricia left behind. Yet what this team may lack in talent, they will make up for by being prepared and not giving up. Detroit will probably be underdogs in most of their games this season. For those who bet numbers not teams, the Lions will present some interesting possibilities as the season moves forward.

Good luck - TDG.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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