Put your money where your mouth is, right?
If you’re going to talk the talk, you best walk the walk, right?
Beggars can’t be choosers, right?
Well, maybe only two of those old sayings apply to the moxie shown by an anonymous bettor who placed a $20 wager on the Detroit Lions to win the most games in the NFL in the upcoming season. If that happens, the bettor would win a cool $30,000, which is more than enough to throw a playoff party to forget about the Matt Patricia Era.
The BetMGM sportsbook where the longshot wager was placed, lists the Lions as +150,000 to lead the league in victories in the first season of head coach Dan Campbell’s tenure.
But, so far many bettors are banking on Campbell and the Lions outperforming expectations. According to BetMGM, in excess of 80 percent of total bets on team win totals on the Lions is for them to to exceed five victories. Thus far this pre-season, the Lions “over” on five wins for the season was the most bet win total for all NFL teams through BetMGM. Maybe the new 17-game regular-season has fans looking for an improvement over their 2020 total victory count. Or maybe it’s the fiery confidence of Campbell, who has a little bit of that Mike Ditka-style bravado and gravitas to him. Or maybe it’s just wide-eyed optimism.
Change Is The Word For Lions in 2021
There’s another old saying that goes: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If that’s the case, the Lions have been insane for a very long time. But third-generation team owner Sheila Ford Hamp is fed up with tired efforts and the same-old-same-old. By swiftly firing both the general manager and head coach before the conclusion of the 2020 season. The message is clear: ownership expects new results and doesn’t want old excuses.
In addition to a new general manager (Brad Holmes) and Campbell as head coach, the Lions flushed out their offense after a dreadful season. They parted ways with quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was traded to the Rams for Jared Goff, who will assume control of the Lion offense. Goff was once a promising young signal caller, but he’s longer in the tooth now, and while Lions need long teeth, it remains to be seen if Goff can reconstitute an offense that ranked 20th among 32 NFL teams in 2020.
But change is more than just a leadership thing for the Lions: they spent their #7 overall pick in the NFL Draft on Oregon’s Penei Sewell, a gifted offensive lineman. With Sewell, Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow and left tackle Taylor Decker, the line could be much improved, which would be sweet music to Goff”s ears and helpful for second-year running back D’Andre Swift, whose also a receiving threat out of the backfield.
Whether the Lions can win the 13+ games likely needed to make that anonymous BetMGM gambler a big winner will ultimately depend on the defensive unit. Last season, the Lions surrendered 32.4 points per game and ranked last in the NFL in defense. How bad was it? In Patricia’s final season, the Lions set franchise records for most yards and points allowed. U-G-L-Y, indeed.
The Lions have revamped their defensive scheme and Campbell and coordinator Aaron Glenn are focused on vastly improving that side of the ball. The team even hired veteran defensive guru Dom Capers, who once guided the Steelers defense early in his career, and shaped the Packers D as they won their most recent Super Bowl. With Capers on the staff as a senior coordinator, the Lions could be a different defensive team in 2021, but they unfortunately have to rely on several young, unproven players.
In Week #1 of the season, the Lions will face the San Francisco 49ers at Ford Field, where they currently are listed as underdogs.