November 15, 2021

Here's Why You Need to Bet on the Lions to Go Winless in 2021

Just five teams have had winless seasons in the NFL. The feat has happened just three times with more than 12 games: the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-14), the 2008 Detroit Lions (0-16), and the 2017 Cleveland Browns (0-16).

Following their tie to the Steelers in an extremely winnable game, the Lions won't be the first 0-17 team in NFL history, but, now sitting at 0-8-1, Detroit looks to be the first football team to finish a winless 0-16-1. 

The few games the Lions had the chance to win were squandered by a lack of playmaking and depth as the final buzzer neared — including a terrible game-winning field goal attempt Sunday. 

Before Week 10, Detroit was 29th in points scored and 31st in points against. The Lions aren't quite as awful as some of their historically bad peers. Their DVOA is -32.8%, good for last in 2021, but far shy of the 2005 49ers mark of -55.5%. In fact, the winless 1976 Buccaneers and 2008 Lions ranked as the fourth-worst and sixth-worst in NFL history.

Even the worst teams can luck their way into a victory.

But the 2021 Lions offer us a unique opportunity from a betting perspective. DraftKings currently has their season wins at 1.5. And after Lions' latest failure, this time against Steelers backup QB Mason Rudolph, you should absolutely bet on Detroit to go under 1.5 wins at +100.

There's an inherent ineptitude within the Lions' roster that will plague them in at least half their remaining games. The offense barely functions, producing a quarterback with an embarrassing 6.3 yards per attempt, with no weapons outside of D'Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson, who tallied zero receptions in the Lions' tie Sunday. 

The defense has been less of a disaster despite ranking 31st in scoring allowed. Having veteran coaches like Dom Capers and Todd Wash helps some, but the lack of depth and experience in the back seven has been massively apparent. The unit gets gashed one way or another almost every week, with their loss to Chicago as the most promising outcome. They allowed just 373 total yards and weren't manhandled in any particular way.

Upcoming matchups against the Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, and Green Bay Packers will offer little reprieve in terms of the talent difference for the Lions' offense. The Bears, on Thanksgiving, and Falcons, the day after Christmas, may be the most winnable games on the schedule. However, both teams should still beat the lowly Lions. 

The defensive unit will be the lynchpin for improvement. Cornerback Amani Oruwariye has three interceptions but the rest of the team has just one. And former first-round bust Charles Harris is the only defender with more than two sacks. It's easy to see why this team struggles when there's such a lack of upside any given week.

It's all too familiar of a problem for winless teams in the past. Maybe Detroit gets lucky and Goff has a transcendent game, or they're gifted several turnovers and they pull out an unlikely win. The odds, though, favor them going winless, and we need to grab the best odds possible right now. 

Photo: Getty Images