Despite being bad last season, the Detroit Lions produced a few MI sports betting storylines this past offseason.
Longtime franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford is gone, replaced by Jared Goff, who switched places with Stafford via trade.
New head coach Dan Campbell has already produced several meme-able moments, including his introductory press conference where he mentioned his team would bite kneecaps and smile while getting punched.
“We're going to kick you in the teeth, right?” Campbell said. “And when you punch us back, we're going to smile at you. And when you knock us down, we're going to get up and on the way up, we're going to bite a kneecap off. All right? And we're going to stand up and it's going to take two more shots to knock us down. And on the way up, we're going to take your other kneecap and we're going to get up and it's going to take three shots to get us down. And when we do, we're going to take another chunk out of you.”
There was also a clip of Campbell performing up-downs with the team during training camp, which generated buzz on the internet.
For all the theatrics, fans will finally get to see what the Campbell era looks like on the field on Friday. The Lions open their preseason schedule Friday at 7 p.m. when they host the Buffalo Bills. DraftKings MI has Detroit as slight moneyline favorites at –120, while the Bills are +100. The over-under is currently 37.
Here are some things to watch in the preseason debut of the Lions:
Detroit’s Starters Will Play
Preseason availability for starters varies across the league. But the Detroit Lions will be using the opportunity to get the regulars some reps on Friday. Campbell confirmed during his Monday press conference that the team’s starters will play.
“We talked about it yesterday (Sunday) as a staff,” Campbell said. “We feel like they need to play. So, I think we’re looking at about a quarter this first preseason game against Buffalo.”
The Bills have decided to take things “on an individual player basis,” according to Coach Sean McDermott. Starting quarterback Josh Allen, who signed a six-year, $258-million contract extension, will be one of the Bills’ starters who will not participate in Friday’s game.
Much of the attention will be on Goff and how he performs in his Lions debut. In addition to Goff and Campbell, offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn is new to the team after coming to Detroit following his Los Angeles Chargers head coaching tenure. Goff was consulted by Campbell and Lynn on developing the new offense, and Campbell has noted Goff’s comfortability with it so far.
“He loves progressions,” Campbell said. “He loves reads. He loves throwing it downfield, he really does. A lot of that comes with run play pass, things of that nature.”
Who Goff will be throwing to is a bit of a question. The Lions have one of the worst receiving corps in the league with a bunch of unknowns. Tyrell Williams is the most accomplished, but the rest of the group is less established with Kalif Raymond, Victor Bolden, Quintez Cephus, Breshad Perriman and Damion Ratley.
But even with learning a new offense and working with an unproven wide receiving group, Goff has remained optimistic.
“At this point, I feel at home. I feel good,” Goff said. “I feel great and I couldn’t be happier to be here obviously and I’m excited about what we can do. It’s fun for me to start a new challenge and be in a new environment.”
Friday will also mark the professional debut of starting offensive tackle Penei Sewell. The Lions took Sewell with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Lions Long Odds
The state launched its mobile sports betting and MI online casino platforms on Jan. 22, making this the first year where players in the state can place preseason futures and other props on the NFL.
Detroit has some of the longest odds in the futures market. At DraftKings, the team has the second-worst odds to win the Super Bowl at +20000. Only the Houston Texans (+30000) have longer odds according to DraftKings. The Lions are also +2800 to win the NFC North, and have the second-lowest over-under win total at 4.5.