For the first time in 11 months, the Detroit Lions won an NFL game. Last Sunday’s 26-23 win on the road vs. the Arizona Cardinals snapped an 11-game losing streak for the Lions, dating to Oct. 27, 2019. What’s next, following Week 3’s upset win? Coming home to Ford Field as 4-point underdogs against the New Orleans Saints.
Both Detroit and New Orleans have gotten off to slow starts in 2020, losing two of their first three games. Oddsmakers, however, see the Lions’ 1-2 record as a more accurate reflection of the team’s quality this season than the Saints’ identical record. Last week, Detroit needed Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray to throw three interceptions just to eke out a 3-point win on Matt Prater’s game-winning field goal. Meanwhile, New Orleans’ losses have come in competitive games against stiff competition, including the Green Bay Packers, who blew Detroit out a week before notching a 37-30 win over the Saints in Week 3.
Let’s look at the early betting lines and angles to consider for Michigan sports bettors heading into the Lions’ Week 4 contest against the Saints.
Saints favored by 4 at nearly all sportsbooks
Online sports wagering is not yet available in the Wolverine State — it’s expected to launch as soon as Thanksgiving and no later than early 2021 — but the number of commercial and tribal casinos in Michigan that have opened retail sportsbooks has steadily grown since the state legalized sports betting in December 2019. Now, residents and visitors can wager on sports at 12 different casinos scattered throughout the Mitten.
Just last week, Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel and its sister casino, Leelanau Sands, unveiled retail sports betting options in northwestern Michigan, as did the Odawa Casino in Petoskey.
It doesn’t much matter where gamblers find themselves placing bets on Sunday’s Lions-Saints game, however, because there’s hardly any variation in oddsmakers’ lines for the contest. From the Detroit sportsbooks powered by BetMGM and FanDuel to the tribal casino books connected with BetRivers and William Hill, the Lions are trading as 4-point underdogs against New Orleans.
Moneyline bets on the Lions to win are currently paying between +170 and +180 at most books, while the Saints’ moneyline ranges from -200 to -215.
Oddsmakers predict a high-scoring affair, thanks in part to the Lions’ weak defense — it took Detroit until Week 3 to log its first interception, and no NFL defensive line has been less effective at pressuring opposing quarterbacks than Detroit’s — and also thanks to Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford’s ability to rack up touchdown passes when he looks downfield to receivers like Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones. The total points over/under for Lions-Saints opened at 56 at most sportsbooks and has already been bet down to 54 or 54.5 at various Michigan sportsbooks.
The Alvin Kamara Show comes to Detroit
Nex Up 📺: Saints at Lions this Sunday on FOX/Noon CT pic.twitter.com/D2WRIAXnLV
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) September 28, 2020
At 41 years old, Saints quarterback Drew Brees has aged into a more conservative, game-managing style of play than when he was in his prime, shattering passing records and leading the NFL in overall air yards seven times. Now, he averages the least yards per attempt of any starting quarterback in the league, which typically isn’t the recipe for explosive offense in today’s NFL.
So how has New Orleans managed to put 30 or more points on the board in each of their three games — something the Lions have yet to do once — so far this season? Football is perhaps the ultimate team game, but in this case, it’s not terribly reductive to credit one man with generating much of the Saints’ offense: running back Alvin Kamara.
Kamara is averaging 146 combined rushing and receiving yards this season, and he’s carried the ball into the end zone on six of his team’s nine total touchdowns over three games. The Lions’ defensive line has lagged so far this season in its ability to pressure opposing quarterbacks or contain the run, and Kamara could be poised for a breakout game on Sunday.
When sportsbooks release player prop lines later this week, Michigan sports bettors might find it worth their while to take a long, hard look at Kamara’s over/under lines for combined passing and receiving yards and total touchdowns.
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