Detroit Lions (0-6) at Los Angeles Rams (5-1)
The Lions are 0-6, but they aren’t usually getting blown out and, in fact, their -63 point differential isn’t even the worst in the league, as the Dolphins (-78) and Texans (-80) are both worse. On average, their losses have come by an average of 10.5 points per game, but even that makes it seem like they’ve been blown out more than they have been, as four of their six losses have been kept within 10 points, while one of their two losses by more than 10 points came in a game in which the Lions led the Packers at halftime in Green Bay. Detroit’s defense has been horrendous, but defense is the less predictive side of the ball, while their offense ranks 12th in first down rate and 6th when schedule adjustments are taken into account.
The Lions’ only real blowout loss came last week against the Bengals, who beat them by 23 points in what was easily Detroit’s worst game of the season. Normally betting on teams coming off their worst game of the season tends to be a winning proposition as you can get good value. That is somewhat the case in this matchup, as the Lions are underdogs of 16 points, while my calculated line has this game at Los Angeles -12.
That’s not a ton of line value though and there is one thing that gives me pause in putting any confidence in the Lions this week, which is Sean McVay’s familiarity with his former quarterback Jared Goff. McVay got the most out of Goff for years and knows the quarterback’s weaknesses and tendencies better than anyone in the league, possibly even Goff himself. I’m still taking the Lions for pick ‘em purposes purely on value, but I can’t have any confidence in them and their best path to covering will likely be through a backdoor cover after getting down by more than the spread total early, which is definitely something the Lions have proven capable of this season.
Los Angeles Rams 31 Detroit Lions 17
Pick against the spread: Detroit +16.5