The Act..."/> The Act..."/>

Should anyone bet on the Lions to cover in Week 16?

Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

FanSided is partnering with The Action Network to bring you expert sports betting information and analysis.

Lions at Broncos Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds

  • Odds: Broncos -6.5
  • Over/Under: 38.5
  • Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

The lowest over/under of Sunday’s NFL slate belongs to the Detroit Lions and Denver Broncos. But where’s the value on the total?

Our experts preview the matchup, featuring their pick.

Lions-Broncos Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Lions

Bo Scarbrough (ribs) remains limited in practice, but there have been talks of Kerryon Johnson’s (knee) potential return. If he’s active, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him step right back into his featured role.

The Broncos continue to have a banged up offensive line with Ron Leary (concussion) and Ja’Wuan James (knee) still sitting out of practice. Noah Fant (shoulder) has been limited the last few weeks, but he’s still suited up every time. Justin Bailey

Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.

Biggest Mismatch

Phillip Lindsay vs. Lions Rush Defense

The Lions run defense has served as a slot machine for opposing running backs all season. They’ve allowed an average of 22.8 fantasy points per game to opposing backfields, ranking third-worst among all teams. They’ve been particularly poor against running back in the passing game, allowing the second-most receiving yards (796) on just the 20th-most receptions (73).

This sets up well for the explosive Lindsay, who ranks inside the top 15 in both breakaway runs and breakaway run rate. The Broncos top running back has seen 12 targets over the past five games.

Lindsay has seen his highest usage in positive game scripts. He averaged 19 touches per game in their last two wins over Houston and Los Angeles compared to only seven in last week’s blowout loss at Kansas City, so this game also sets up favorably for Lindsay with the Broncos 6.5-point favorites.

He hasn’t produced an overall RB1 performance since Week 5, but has the perfect mismatch to end that streak. Mike Randle

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Broncos -8
  • Projected Total: 40

The Broncos should be able to move the ball with ease against the Lions’ 24th-ranked defense in DVOA (per Football Outsiders). And while Detroit’s offense is clearly not as explosive with David Blough under center, if he’s forced to attempt 40-plus passes for the third straight game, it could help the over here.

It’s also worth noting Johnson’s potential return again. Even if he’s only able to play in a limited role, it should give this offense a slight boost and help keep the Broncos defense honest.

Still, since this matchup involves teams already eliminated from playoff contention, I’ll typically pass in these situations. Sean Koerner

Expert Pick

John Ewing: Over 37.5

Oddsmakers don’t have much faith in either team scoring in this matchup. And who can blame them? Nothing says shootout like Drew Lock vs. David Blough. And the Lions rank only 19th in offensive DVOA while the Broncos are 26th.

A majority of tickets are on the under as well.

It’s easy to understand why the public would bet the under, but this is a sneaky good spot to wager on the over. Historically, it’s been profitable to bet the over in low-total, non-division games without wind.

This strategy works because it’s easier for an over to hit if the total is low. Non-division games feature teams that are less familiar with each other’s tendencies, which promotes a higher-scoring environment. And without windy conditions, the passing and kicking games should be more efficient.

Not only does history point to value on the over, but as we highlighted earlier, Koerner’s projected total is 40. Our model also projects the teams to go over the total with an expected average point total of 39.5 points.