This article is part of our NFL Picks series.
NFL Futures Bets: Lions Futures Bets To Target This Season
To say the Lions were a surprise last year is an understatement. They weren't expected to be a very competitive team. However, they were well coached by Dan Campbell and offensive coordinator Ben Johnson. As a result, they not only were competitive in most of their games, they finished with a winning record. In addition, they were fourth in the NFC in point differential (+26).
Currently, at 9.5 wins at DraftKings Sportsbook, the over for the Lions is -120 and the under is +100. I'll be outlining the case to consider betting over 9.5 wins. Check out all of the 2023 NFL Futures here at RotoWire. Want more NFL futures content? Be sure to read our Patriots Futures, Ravens Futures, Bengals Futures, Vikings futures and Browns futures breakdowns.
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Upgrades on Offense
Detroit scored the fifth-most points in the league last year. However, many of their points were scored in games that they were trailing- there was a lot of production in garbage time. Taking their raw points scored and saying they were an elite offense lacks context. But it should be noted that offensive coordinator Ben Johnson crafted a passing attack that gave us the best version of Jared Goff since 2019, when he was with the Rams. Despite having few reliable weapons outside of Amon-Ra St. Brown, this was an offense on the rise.
In the draft, the Lions were aggressive in adding weapons to the offense. With the 12th pick of the first round, they added Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs. Aside from being an explosive runner, the rookie should provide them with a dangerous receiving weapon out of the backfield. Then, Detroit used the 34th pick in the draft on tight end Sam LaPorta. Even though rookie tight ends often struggle as pass catchers early in their careers, Laporta should be an upgrade over last year's uninspiring group. In addition to those upgrades, the Lions will welcome back WR Jameson Williams in Week 7 after he serves his suspension. Despite catching just one pass last year, Williams showed difference-making speed when he was on the field. In 2022, Detroit thought so highly of Williams that they spent the 12th pick in the draft to acquire him.
In addition to the improved playmakers, this team still has one of the better offensive lines in the league. It won't be surprising at all if the Lions were one of the better offenses in the NFL.
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Defense Set to Take the Next Step
There's no argument. There's no way to go but up for this unit. They tied with the VIkings by allowing the third-most points in the NFL last year. The Detroit defense struggled to slow the run and the pass. In today's NFL, a team needs to either be strong in coverage or pass rush to be a factor on defense. Recognizing their deficiency, the team revamped their secondary during the offseason. They added three free agent cornerbacks who are expected to start when they have three corners on the field (Cameron Sutton, Emmanuel Moseley and C.J. Gardner-Johnson). Although they don't have anything close to a shutdown corner, all three of these players are solid. In terms of the pass rush, last year's top draft pick Aidan Hutchinson is being counted on to make the leap to being an elite rusher after an inconsistent rookie year in which he recorded 9.5 sacks.
Detroit was also weak against the run. Of course, many NFL teams don't make stopping the run a priority in a pass-heavy league. Regardless, the Lions used a first-round pick on LB Jack Campbell. They are hopeful the rookie has an immediate impact against the run.
Overall, this won't be a great defense. But they do have the pieces in place to be average. That may be all they need as they try to move into the 2023 playoff field.
It's the first time in a while that there is a schedule benefit from playing in the NFC North. After decades of the Packers having Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers at QB, they are now rebuilding with Jordan Love. In addition, the Vikings have been losing talent on defense for the past few years and could be one of the weaker units in the league. Finally, despite the Bears making upgrades on offense, they still have a defense that projects to be well below average. The Lions have a chance to win most of these six games.
In addition to their divisional matchups, they have games in which they will have a solid chance to win. In particular, those home matchups are against the Seahawks, Falcons, Panthers, Raiders and Broncos. The favorable road matchups are against the Buccaneers and Saints.
Best Lions Future Bet For 2023
The Lions were a team on the rise last year. Not only did they make potentially impactful additions both on offense and defense, but they have some younger players who have a chance of making a big second-year jump. Also, this is a well-coached team with an innovative offensive coordinator. The probability that they win at least 10 games and cash the -120 odds is favorable.