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The market is confirming what we all know by steaming the Detroit Lions (5-7) up to favorites in Week 14 when hosting the Minnesota Vikings (10-2) at Ford Field.
Detroit was +3 on the look-ahead line, according to Pregame.com. But based on recent performances and a fraudulent 10-2 Vikings, the Lions flipped to a slight home favorite.
Betting Details (DraftKings)
- Moneyline (ML): Vikings (+110), LIONS (-130)
- Against the spread (ATS): Vikings +2 (-110), LIONS -2 (-110)
- Total (O/U) — 52 — O: -110, U: -110
The Lions have covered five straight games and have won four outright. Their only loss came in a 28-25 nail-biter vs. the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving.
Over that span, the Lions are fifth in offensive expected points added per play (EPA/play). Detroit is 11th in weighted opponent-based net efficiency (DVOA), per Football Outsiders. “Weighted” as in the most recent results are more meaningful to a team’s efficiency.
Minnesota on the other hand is worse than its record. The Vikings are 15th in net EPA/play and 22nd in weighted DVOA, per Football Outsiders. Minnesota is third in turnover differential (+8) as well, which is the flukiest stat.
The Lions have an edge at QB
Before you stoop to “Jared Goff was a Rams castoff,” remember Washington let Kirk Cousins walk in free agency for nothing. The Lions needed to trade then-franchise QB Matt Stafford and the Rams ended up winning a Super Bowl
Detroit at least got back a 2023 first-round draft pick from LA, which is looking pretty, pretty, pretty good at the moment. Say what you want about Goff but he flourishes with an offensive line and weapons.
Goff is sixth in QBR and fourth in DVOA this season while Cousins is 21st in QBR and 19th in DVOA. There’s a perception that Goff is trash and Cousins is a respectable franchise QB. That isn’t backed up with stats.
And what does Goff have that Cousins doesn’t? Sure, Detroit’s offensive line is better. But, Vikings WR Justin Jefferson is a fringe Offensive Player of the Year candidate and Dalvin Cook is a top-10 RB in the NFL.
This is a better ‘spot’ for Detroit
The Vikings beat the Lions 28-24 at home in Week 3 but failed to cover as 6-point favorites. Detroit is 3-0 ATS but just 1-2 SU vs. Minnesota since Lions coach Dan Campbell was hired last season.
On top of that, the Vikings are 1-4 ATS as road underdogs vs. NFC North foes with a -3.0 ATS margin since 2018 (Cousins’ first year in Minnesota).
The Lions are 7-2 ATS in division games with a +3.6 ATS margin over the past two seasons. Detroit is an NFL-best 11-4 ATS at home since 2021 as well.
The Lions appear to be the ‘sharp’ side
Per Pregame.com, slightly more money is on the Lions whereas roughly 60% of the bets placed are on the Vikings at the time of writing. This is a Pros vs. Joe’s scenario in the betting market.
Since the wiseguys wager bigger bucks than your average Joe, it’s generally smarter to follow the money when it’s counter to the public.
Also, Detroit is still a 2.5-point favorite at Pinnacle Sportsbook (Pinny), which is one of the sharpest oddsmakers because Pinny books the largest sports bets.
The professionals backing a short home favorite that’s trending up vs. a team that’s clearly not as good as their record indicates makes sense. Detroit’s spread is an old-school football betting position to take.
BET: Lions -2 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to -2.5
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