What the Detroit Lions have brewing is special and it’s in large part due to coach Dan Campbell. We all became fans last season after seeing them endure a 1-6 start before going on a run and winning eight of their last 10 games to finish 9-8.
From a fan perspective, the Lions were fun. From a betting standpoint, they were covering spreads, putting up points and cashing tickets for bettors. Running back Jamaal Williams was a gem of a player, scorching defenses for 17 touchdowns, the most in the league by a running back. Both Williams and D’Andre Swift are gone but in comes first-round draft pick Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery (traded for in free agency) to reload the backfield.
I’m confident Gibbs and Montgomery can and will do a fine job this season.
Bet: Jahmyr Gibbs OVER 590.5 rushing yards (-115)
At Alabama, Gibbs was 25th in the country for yards per carry, averaging 6.1 yards. Gibbs has the potential to be a ticket-cashing prop player. He has explosive athleticism, making him tough to catch; he has a short burst, speed and elusiveness. In 12 games last year, Gibbs broke off eight runs of at least 19 yards. He had three games with 30-plus yard runs. How does this help the Lions?
Last year, Detroit played the 12th-easiest schedule of opposing rushing defenses. Williams finished 11th in the league for total rushing yards (1,066), which included two triple-digit yardage games. This year, the Lions are expected to face the fourth-easiest schedule of rushing defenses.
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In the entire season, the Lions will face just one team that was top 10 in opponent yards per rush attempt last year. One.
Gibbs has an opportunity to hit some big-time plays behind what is projected to be the second-best offensive line in the league after ranking third last year in Pro Football Focus’ rankings. The unit returns four starters, including guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who missed all of 2022 with a back injury.
I’m excited for the Lions this year. After their turnaround season, I trust Campbell has a full grasp of how to manage the offense to amplify their talents.
Additional Lions betting tips
Back Detroit ATS as underdogs
The Lions are projected to be underdogs in just five games. I will be looking to back the Lions ATS in at least four, against Chiefs, Chargers, Vikings and Cowboys. Detroit went 8-3 ATS as an underdog last year, 5-2 ATS as a road dog.
Back Amon-Ra St. Brown player props
If you like betting player props, look to over receiving yards and longest reception as options for receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown early and often.
Brown was fourth in the league last year for yards after the catch and ninth for yards per route run. With Jameson Williams suspended for the first six games, Brown could be a gold mine in the prop market.
Brown had a solid rookie season followed by an improved sophomore season, going from 912 receiving yards to 1,161. He could have an even better third season. The Lions are projected to play the third-easiest schedule of opposing defenses for yards per pass attempt allowed.
Another option instead of weekly player props: Bet OVER 949.5 regular season receiving yards (-135) for Brown. (BetMGM)