Mercifully, the Detroit Lions’ season is over. But not without a final controversy and drama.
Detroit (5-11) fell to the Minnesota Vikings 37-35 on Sunday, giving the Lions the No. 7 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
In an otherwise meaningless game, the Lions-Vikings matchup gained notoriety for a controversial roughing the passer call against the Lions on fourth down.
Early in the fourth quarter, Detroit’s Tracy Walker appeared to sack Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins on a fourth-and-goal during a typical tackle. Walker didn’t go to Cousins’ head, nor did he throw him in any violent manner that would warrant a penalty. But for some reason, the referee behind the play tossed his flag and called Walker for roughing the passer. Minnesota (7-9) would take advantage and add a touchdown for a 37-29 lead.
In the grand scheme of Detroit’s future, the bad call turned out to be a positive, giving Minnesota a touchdown and the Lions a better spot in the upcoming draft. Still, the controversy won’t do much to quell the narrative making the rounds that NFL officials somehow are out to get the Lions.
The Lions entered the game as 7-point underdogs.
Draft Props Up on the Lions Already
Detroit fans can expect to see their team come up in various props this season. Whether it’s the odds on who will become the next head coach of the team, or who the Lions will draft in the first round, there will be plenty of props for sports bettors to wager on.
FanDuel already includes the Lions in its first draft prop of the season: Team to Draft Trevor Lawrence.
All odds and analysts point to the Jacksonville Jaguars selecting Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick. FanDuel currently has Jacksonville at -4000 to take Lawrence. But if for some reason a team was to persuade the Jaguars to give up the No. 1 spot through trade, or if Lawrence somehow manages to fall through the draft, FanDuel is prepared to offer odds on other teams’ chances of taking Lawrence.
The Lions currently have the sixth-best odds of drafting the Clemson quarterback at +5000. Behind Jacksonville, the New York Jets (+1200), Denver Broncos (+2200), Washington Football Team (+2200) and Atlanta Falcons (+2900) are the next most likely teams to draft Lawrence, according to FanDuel.
Perhaps with a new general manager and head coach set to join the Lions organization, the new regime could decide to sell all out for a trade with Jacksonville for the No. 1 pick. But in reality, it’s hard to see any combination of players Detroit has that would warrant serious consideration from Jacksonville to agree to any trade for the rights to draft Lawrence.
Lions ATS this season
For bettors in Michigan, the Lions’ record against the spread was better than their actual win-loss record (5-11). Detroit managed to cover in seven of the 16 games this season. This 7-9 record is tied with seven other teams for the third-worst mark in the league.
Five other teams managed to go 6-10, while the Dallas Cowboys’ record of 5-11 against the spread was the worst in the league this season.
Buffalo and Miami were the two teams most profitable to back this season, each finishing 11-5.