Is Being a “Hard Knocks” Featured Team a Distraction? The Lions Take Their Turn

Is Being a “Hard Knocks” Featured Team a Distraction? The Lions Take Their Turn
By Mark Keast
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

"Hard Knocks" is HBO’s popular reality sports documentary series in which viewers get a deep dive into an NFL team’s training camp.  

It’s a great behind-the-scenes look at a team, getting into player positional battles and opening the book on the professional and personal lives of players, coaches and team staff. There’s typically an even sharper focus on rookies, especially the team’s recent top draft pick. 

The series debuted on HBO in 2001. "Hard Knocks" took a hiatus from the 2003 to 2006 seasons, and there wasn’t a show during the 2011 season. COVID-19 impacted the 2020 season — the featured L.A. Rams and L.A. Chargers didn’t participate in a pre-season game that year.

This year's edition will be of particular interest for those using Michigan sportsbooks.

The 2022 training camp spotlight is on the Detroit Lions and second-year coach Dan Campbell, a team coming off a 3-13-1 record last year.

While the brash Campbell is not afraid of talking a big game, ahead of the preseason, operators have been hesitant to buy into a quick Lions turnaround. 

Over at FanDuel Michigan Sportsbook, the Lions are +850 to win the NFC North, ahead of only the Chicago Bears at +950. 


How Do Hard Knocks Teams Fare?

Is being featured on the show a distraction, though? With the pre-season right around the corner, and the new season debuting Aug. 9, decided to look at the trends of the past "Hard Knocks" teams since 2001 (the series focused on the Baltimore Ravens that first season).

We utilized to develop the information and statistics to look at those trends. 

And based on the findings, if you’re a Lions fans looking for a season to feel optimistic about, you might want to cover your eyes.

Remember, how "Hard Knocks" shakes out will help bettors get a sense of what Michigan sportsbook promo codes to keep an eye out for during the Lions upcoming season.

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Statistics of “Hard Knocks” Featured Teams’ Performance Since 2001*

Average Regular Season W-L Record Over-Under Wins Record off Preseason Odds% of Teams That Made Playoffs% of Teams That Made Div. RoundNo. of Super Bowl Wins
8-8** 8-8-141.2%17.6%0
* — Hard Knocks took a hiatus from the 2003 to 2006 seasons and had no show in the 2011 season.
** — Rounded to the nearest whole number
*** — For the 2020 season, the featured Rams and Chargers didn’t participate in a preseason game due to COVID-19. Both teams were left out of the average record.

Numbers Don't Lie

The average pre-season wins/losses record for "Hard Knocks"-featured teams is 2-2, while the average regular season wins/losses record is 8-8 (both pre-season and regular season rounded to the nearest whole number).

Over-Under wins record off pre-season odds is 8-8-1, while the percentage of teams that made the playoffs was an alarming 41.2%.

The percentage of teams that made the divisional round was just 17.6%

The number of Super Bowl wins? Zero. 

With that data, it's no wonder BetMGM Sportsbook Michigan has the Lions at +12500 to capture their first title.

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Last 10 Seasons of Hard Knocks

Year TeamRecord That Season Postseason
2021 Cowboys12-5Lost in WC Rd.
2019 Raiders7-9Missed playoffs
2018 Browns7-8-1Missed playoffs
2017 Buccaneers5-11Missed playoffs
2016 L.A. Rams4-12Missed playoffs
2015 Texans9-7Lost in WC round
2014 Falcons6-10Missed playoffs
2013 Bengals11-5Lost in WC round
2012 Dolphins7-9Missed playoffs
2010 Jets11-5Lost in AFC Championship
* — Hard Knocks had no show in the 2011 season
** — For the 2020 season, the featured Rams and Chargers didn’t participate in a preseason game due to COVID-19. Both teams were left out of the average record.

Can Detroit Buck The Trend?

Still, "Hard Knocks" is riveting TV for sports fans, and HBO's most recent teaser promises fireworks. 

As the season gets going, GreatLakesStakes has you covered when it comes to the best NFL betting sites in Michigan.

It’s Campbell’s sophomore season as head coach, and there are some people wondering if the Lions have the teeth to take the NFC North title from the Green Bay Packers, a team that lost No. 1 All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams this past off season (traded to the Raiders) and didn’t do much to address a lack of depth at that position after re-signing quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a new contract. 

QB Jared Goff rebounded during the second half of last season — a 101.8 passer rating over his final six starts. D.J. Chark Jr., a legitimate vertical threat (Pro Bowl season in 2019), was signed as a free agent. 

The Lions are also excited about first round pick Jameson Williams, an explosive big-play threat at wide receiver, who’s currently rehabbing a torn ACL. He should be ready to go mid-season. 

Goff himself is going to be a focus of the series, since there’s big pressure on him to perform after arriving in Detroit last season in a trade with the Rams for QB Matthew Stafford. Stafford of course went on to win a Super Bowl. 

Goff has three years left on his contract, but if he doesn’t perform Detroit could cut him after this season. In 2022 Goff will earn a base salary of $10,650,000, a roster bonus of $15,500,000, while carrying a cap hit of $31,150,000 and a dead cap value of $41,150,000, according to Spotrac.

So there’s another way to look at any potential Hard Knocks impact, if you’re a Lions fans. At 3-13-1 last season, there’s nowhere to go but up.

Super Bowl LVII Odds

🏈 Buffalo+600
🏈 Tampa Bay+750
🏈 Kansas City+900
🏈 L.A. Rams+1100
🏈 Green Bay+1200
🏈 Denver+1600
🏈 L.A. Chargers+1600
🏈 San Francisco+1600
🏈 Dallas+1800
🏈 T26 Detroit+12500
Odds provided by BetMGM Sportsbook Michigan.



Mark Keast has recently covered the sports betting industry in Canada for The Parleh, and is a long-time sportswriter and editor, most notably with the Toronto Sun.

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