The bets on the Detroit Lions probably aren't going to slow down before the season starts.
When a team goes on HBO's "Hard Knocks," it allows viewers a close-up look at a team they probably didn't know much about. With the Lions, coach Dan Campbell's excitement will be infectious. Hearing running back Jamaal Williams implore his team to improve on last year's record will stick with everyone.
And bettors loved the Lions in the futures market at BetMGM long before "Hard Knocks" aired.
Plenty of the markets for NFL futures feature bettors going all-in on the Lions, whether it's their win total, odds to win the NFC North or for major individual awards. There's a lot of excitement about a team that finished last season 3-13-1.
Bettors can't get enough of the Lions
Make no mistake: Sportsbooks will be rooting hard against the 2022 Lions. Bettors are bullish on a team that won just three games last season.
The most-bet over in the win total market is the Lions at 6.5. Detroit would need to improve by four wins to hit that over. Bettors haven't blinked. As of late July at BetMGM, 94% of bets and 95% of the money on Detroit's win total was on the over.
The Lions are the second-most popular bet to win their division. The Philadelphia Eagles have gotten more bets to win the NFC East than the Lions have to win the NFC North, but that's it. Among all NFC North champion bets, the Lions have gotten 57.4% of the bets and 51.9% of the money is on them. The Lions are +850 to win the division so a Detroit division title would be a big loss for BetMGM.
Two of the award markets are dominated by Lions too.
Campbell is the favorite to win NFL Coach of the Year at +1200. Campbell's odds have moved down from +1600 as bets on him keep coming in. In the Coach of the Year market, 31.3% of the money is on Campbell. No other coach is getting more than 6%. Campbell has five times more money on him than any other coach.
And yet, Lions rookie defensive end Aidan Hutchinson has the highest percentage of action in any award market. In the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year market, 49% of bets are on Hutchinson, the second pick of the draft. He's the favorite at +550.
Bettors in Michigan have been willing to blindly wager on their favorite teams to a surprising degree. That's driving some of those numbers. But make no mistake: Bettors everywhere love the Lions. That's probably not changing after the "Hard Knocks" hype kicks in.
How good will the Lions be?
There are reasons to like the Lions this season.
Last year the Lions started 0-10-1 but kept playing hard and finished 3-3. Bettors already knew they were far ahead of the market last season. The Lions were 11-6 against the spread, a remarkable record for a team that won three games straight up. You won't see that big of a split between spread record and actual record very often in the NFL. The difference was due to the Lions' 2-5-1 record in games decided by seven points or less. Bad luck like that in close games usually doesn't carry over to the next season.
The Lions got better late in the season, had a good offseason and come back with some positive vibes. Add in Michigan bettors being positive about their teams, and that explains why the Lions are dominating many betting markets this offseason.
Bettors can take a closer look at the Lions during "Hard Knocks." That will probably lead to an even bigger liability for sportsbooks on Detroit this season.