Fresh off the Hard Knocks bump that saw a good chunk of football America fall head over heels for the Detroit Lions, the Dan Campbell-led squad gets its 2022 season going Sunday with a home tilt against the Philadelphia Eagles.
And the local populace is amped, as Ford Field is sold out and the team is offering standing-room only tickets for the first since 2017 for a non-Thanksgiving game, according to the Detroit Free Press.
So, can the Lions live up to the hype?
America’s sportsbooks aren’t so sure, with the Lions installed as +176 moneyline underdogs by FanDuel and getting 4 points (at -105) at PointsBet. Bright side? The spread, as recently as a week ago, was +4.5, and it’s down to +3.5 at FanDuel (at -105 as well).
Of course, the game is played on the field, and one (mildly surprising) fact about this game is that of the 13 main slate Sunday games, this one has the third highest over/under, set at a robust 48.5 (-110 on the over at Caesars and BetMGM and -105 on the under at DraftKings).
Clearly, fireworks are expected — and plenty of Americans are betting this game, as evidenced by a BetMGM tweet.
On the Lions’ side of the ball, Amon Ra St. Brown figures to be targeted early and often by Jared Goff. One reason? Because St. Brown is basically playing the Cooper Kupp role in this offense. The other reason? Because the Eagles have generally been happy to give up the middle of the field. St. Brown and tight end T.J. Hockenson should both feast against the Eagles, whereas D.J. Chark might find himself smothered by the Eagles’ premier defensive secondary.
This also bodes well for D’Andre Swift, especially in the pass game.
As a result, it’s definitely worth looking at some receiving props.
St. Brown’s receptions total is set at a healthy 5.5. The over can be had for -108 at Caesars.
Hockenson is at 4.5, with juiced odds all the way to -129 at Ceasars.
Swift can be had at over 3.5 catches (at -167 at BetRivers) and over 4.5 at +118 at Caesars.
On the receiving yards front, St. Brown is over 56.5 at Barstool at -112, Hockenson is over 47.5 at -110 at DraftKings, and Swift is over 31.5 at -113 at BetRivers.
Of course, if these three guys are going to be racking up yards and catches, Jared Goff would be expected to have himself a fine game. His yardage prop is a modest 229.5 at FanDuel (the over is set at -114). This prop demonstrates the absolute need to line shop, as Goff’s yardage is up to 234.5 at the Kambi books.
When the Eagles have the ball … well, who knows. Through the first six weeks of last season, the Eagles threw the ball at one of the highest rates in the league. Over the last 11 games? They ran the ball at one of the highest rates in the league.
But with the off-season addition of A.J. Brown, it would stand to reason the Eagles brass want to see what they have in Jalen Hurts — meaning, is he the quarterback for the next 15 years, or the next 15 minutes?
If you lean toward the former, Hurts’ passing yards prop is 225.5 (at -114 both ways) at FanDuel. If you believe more in the under, take him at 230.5 (also at -114 both ways) at Barstool and BetRivers.
While there are no certainties in the NFL — any given Sunday and all that — it does seem fair to say that Ford Field will be rocking with legitimate excitement this Sunday.
And if the Lions can come out of this game with a victory, expect that bandwagon to start overflowing by Monday morning.
Photo: Junfu Han/Detroit Free Press