For just the third time this season, sportsbooks have the Detroit Lions listed as pregame favorites. Detroit is favored by 3.5 points in Sunday’s matchup against the Washington Football Team.
The Lions have had mixed results being the favorites for Michigan bettors, losing outright to the Chicago Bears 27-23 in Week 1, and easily covering the 3-point spread in a 34-16 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 5. Overall, Detroit is 3-5 against the spread this season, and since 2010, the Lions are 34-38-3 versus the spread as a favorite.
You can place wagers at land-based casinos with sportsbooks in Michigan.
Detroit’s sports betting highlight of the season came when Matthew Stafford found T.J. Hockenson in the end zone as time expired for a 23-22 comeback win against the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 25. The outcome marked the third time in four weeks the Lions had covered the spread, but since then, Detroit has been blown out in consecutive weeks as the team’s struggles have been exasperated.
A week after the dramatic comeback win against the Falcons, the Lions jumped out to a 7-0 lead on the Indianapolis Colts before getting blown out 41-21. Trailing 20-14, Detroit was still in the game during the third quarter before a lost fumble cost them a field goal opportunity and a pick-six led to the Colts blowing the game open 35-14.
Things weren’t much better in last week’s 34-20 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Detroit fell behind 13-0 early on and would get gouged on the ground, surrendering 275 yards rushing with the Vikings averaging 8.1 yards per attempt.
Detroit’s offense was mistake-prone for the second week in a row, with Stafford throwing two interceptions and backup quarterback Chase Daniel tossing a pick as well.
But even with Detroit’s recent struggles, oddsmakers are more optimistic about the team’s chances of winning against a Washington group that’s rebuilding. Washington has been an underdog in every game except last week, when it was a 3-point favorite against the New York Giants. Washington lost, 23-20, but is 4-4 against the spread this season and 4-3 covering as an underdog.
Stafford had a unique week in the lead-up to the matchup with the Vikings. First, he was placed on the COVID-reserve list when he came into close contact with a positive-testing person, putting his status for the game in doubt.
Then, when he was quarantined in a Detroit hotel away from his family, his daughter Hunter, fell off a highchair. His wife, Kelly, couldn’t find anyone to watch the other three Stafford kids, so Matthew was willing to break protocol to be with his family, which would mean he would not be eligible to play. But Kelly explained on Instagram that the family eventually found someone to watch the kids.
After the chaotic sequence of events, Stafford completed 23 of 32 passes for 211 yards, one touchdown and the two interceptions.
With Kyle Allen potentially set to miss the game due to injury, Alex Smith could be Washington’s starter on Sunday.
Smith suffered a devastating leg injury in 2018 that turned out to be life threatening, but Smith managed to rehab and rejoin the team this season. Sunday would be Smith’s first start since the injury.