The Detroit Lions have consistently fell short of expectations this season while the Indianapolis Colts have consistently exceeded expectations. It might seem like that would be reflected in how this week’s game between the Lions and Colts is viewed but that isn’t the case.
The early betting line has installed the Lions as favorites over the Colts. The line currently sits at a solid 4.5 points in the Lions’ favor with an over/under set at 51 total points.
Are the sports books disrespecting the 7-4 Colts or expecting the 4-7 Lions to finally live up to what they are supposed to be? As it turns out, the line might be a better indication of reality than the standings.
The Colts deserve a ton of credit for their improbable 7-4 mark so far this season but how they’ve gotten to this point is very interesting. They have been outscored by a total of 43 points this year. Compare that to the Lions who have been outscored by just 13 points.
Smart people figured out that scoring differential tends to correlate to a team’s record quite well (read more about that here). When calculating the expected W-L record for each team, the Lions come out ahead at 5.2-5.8 compared to 4.4-6.6 for the Colts.
What bearing does all this have on the game? Not a whole lot, except it goes to show that when the Colts win, the game is usually close and when it’s not, the Colts lose. That is probably a good read on the game against the Lions. Either they will man up and win comfortably or show that they are ready to pack it in and lose. I just don’t see a scenario where the Lions win but don’t cover the spread.
How would you bet?