Why Michigan Sportsbooks Have Lions In Unusual Spot As NFC North Favorite

Why Michigan Sportsbooks Have Lions In Unusual Spot As NFC North Favorite
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

The Detroit Lions are in unfamiliar territory with Michigan betting sites looking toward the 2023 NFL season.

A perennial also-ran with just six winning seasons since 2000, Detroit hasn’t won its division in nearly 30 years. But Detroit is the favorite to the NFC North, according to the latest Lions playoff chances.

Across the board, according to all prominent online bookmakers, the Lions are a solid favorite to win the division with odds as low as plus-120 at Caesars Sportsbook Michigan.

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Lions NFC North Futures Odds

As of the end of May, the Lions odds to take the division were: Caesars sportsbook Michigan (+120), DraftKings (+130), BetMGM (+130) and FanDuel (+145). 

The rest of the division is bunched a bit with Minnesota a clear No. 2 favorite to win the NFC North (the Vikings have odds ranging from +275 at DraftKings to +325 at BetMGM), followed by the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers.

Green Bay’s slide in the division projections is the result of not having guys named either Rodgers or Favre at quarterback. The Packers are in the unusual position of coming off of a winning record (9-8 in 2022) yet being at the bottom of divisional preseason odds at most Michigan sports betting apps.

Recent History Unkind in Motown

For some historical context on the Lions, Detroit hasn’t won the NFC North since 1993 when, with Wayne Fontes as head coach, they went 10-6 but lost a Wild Card playoff game to – wait for it – the Packers.

The Lions actually had an 11-win regular season in 2014, Jim Caldwell’s first season as head coach, and lost again in a Wild Card game, that time to Dallas. Caldwell put together three winning campaigns in four years as Detroit’s head coach, but apparently the organization panicked over all that winning, fired Caldwell, and averaged a more familiar 4.25 wins over the next four years.

Then, last year happened. 

The Lions went 9-8 in Dan Campbell’s second year as coach. And they scored 453 points, third-best in the NFC, and they were plus-26 in points differential.

So, looking ahead to the upcoming campaign, oddsmakers seem to like the Lions, at least a little.

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Detroit Lions Super Bowl Odds

The Lions Super Bowl odds are +2000 at BetMGM Michigan and +2500 at Caesars Sportsbook Michigan to win the Super Bowl.

The Lions’ odds of winning the NFC championship run from +850 (BetMGM Michigan) to +1000 (just about everywhere else). Kansas City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Buffalo, and Cincinnati are at the top of the Super Bowl and their respective conference futures odds boards from the online operators.

Detroit, meanwhile, has a projected win total of 9.5 victories. Last year, the preseason wagering win-total number for the Lions was 6.5 and they cleared that mark with a surprisingly strong 2022.

Moving away from the futures market and looking back at against-the-spread results, the Lions were an impressive 12-5 ATS in 2022. That followed another winning ATS record in 2021 when the Lions were double-digit underdogs in almost half their games and outperformed the spread despite finishing 3-13-1 in the actual standings. So even before they started turning things around in the standings last season, the Lions were rewarding their backers at Michigan sportsbooks.

As the season approaches, we will have more stories about the NFL at BetMichigan, where you can also find the top Michigan casino bonuses and information about online gaming.



Bill Ordine

Bill Ordine, senior journalist and columnist for BetMichigan.com, was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years, and was a lead reporter on a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News. Bill started reporting on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for 10 years. He covered the World Series of Poker for a decade and his articles on gaming have appeared in many major U.S. newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald and others.

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