When a team that has been a doormat for years first develops into a power, their assent can be disguised by history.
If an undefeated team, winners both at home and on the road this season, was playing at home this week and getting points on the spread would that surprise you? In fact, the undefeated team is getting six points on the spread and nearly 80% of the bettors are betting on their road opponent this week.
Are you inclined to take the home underdog? What if that home underdog was playing one of the best teams in football, the Kansas City Chiefs? Not so sure you want to bet against a 3-0 Chiefs team that has a quarterback rewriting the record books seemingly on a weekly basis. Patrick Mahomes is to the football field what the Harlem Globetrotters are to the basketball court … a sure winner.
And who are the Chiefs playing this week that also hasn’t lost a game? The Detroit Lions.
The Detroit Lions haven’t lost a game, that may surprise you. The fact that they are going to stretch that beyond this Sunday is more likely even more unexpected. How many points do you need to take the Lions over the Chiefs?
That undefeated team getting points at home doesn’t sound so inviting when you know the road team is Andy Reid’s juggernaut and the long suffering Lions are at home. The Lions share the distinction with the Cleveland Browns of being the only teams in National Football League history to lose every game in a 16 game season.
To pierce public perception, the Lions will have to play good well past Thanksgiving before most would think of them as anything but bad. But, here is an early flash, the Lions are no longer bad. In fact, this season the Lions will be good, with great not out of the realm of real possibilities.
In his second season, head coach Matt Patricia has taken lessons learned in his first year with Detroit and seasons with Bill Belichick in New England, and put them to good use. He has the Lions headed in the right direction. They have the necessary elements to crack the playoff field with a veteran quarterback and talent on both sides of the ball.
They also have a long history of failure to push against to have a breakthrough season like the Chicago Bears last season or the Los Angeles Rams two years ago. On opening day, Detroit built a 24-6 fourth quarter lead over the Arizona Cardinals even as a bet-on road favorite. They got overconfident before the game was over, and in overtime ended the contest in a tie, 27-27.
Some might see their tie in Arizona as a failure for Detroit, but the fact that they played as well as they did in the difficult role of a public backed road favorite speaks well to the Lions. Even more impressive, were victories at home against the Los Angeles Chargers and a win last Sunday in Philadelphia over the Eagles.
When a team is winning, and forced by their opponent to confront the fear of failure, they are in a perfect spot to play their best. The Chiefs may have the most explosive offense in football, and Mahomes always seems on the verge of tossing another scoring pass, but the elements in this game do not favor the team the public is backing. With the Lions playing as well as they are and having the motivational boost of being bet against and a generous point spread, this is not a spot for a Detroit letdown.
In a game that should never find one team out of reach of the other, the slugfest will end with with the Lions in the lead, probably straight-up and more definitely with the benefit of the generous line.
Qoxhi Picks: Detroit Lions (+6) over Kansas City Chiefs