Do the oddsmakers have a bad chance on the Lions’ playoff chances?

Hey, I’m Ben Fawkes. I worked at ESPN for almost 10 years and helped grow the sports betting business. It’s no surprise to me how much the industry has grown.

I created this weekly MLive Betting Mailbag to share my insights and provide both beginner and professional sports bettors with the knowledge and data they need to make quality, profitable bets. We’ve covered a variety of NFL betting topics over the past few weeks, including data-driven betting trends and, of course, all things Lions.

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Now let’s come to your question.

What are the betting odds for the Lions to win their first playoff game since 1991?

-Shaun from Pennsylvania

Since Lions fans have had a lot of bad luck, Shaun, let’s get this straight: According to the New York Times playoff simulator, Detroit has a 99 percent chance of making the postseason even if they lose their final three games.

So they’re not in the postseason, but barring a miracle, they’ll win the NFC North for the first time – and their first division title since 1993.

Assuming they win the division, they will most likely be the No. 3 seed, which means they will face the No. 6 seed and likely Minnesota, Seattle, the Rams, New Orleans or Tampa Bay.

Detroit was a 3-point favorite at Tampa Bay in Week 6 and a 3.5-point favorite at New Orleans in Week 13; The Lions were 8.5-point favorites against the Packers on Thanksgiving.

I think it’s fair to say that Detroit will be at least a 5-point favorite over any No. 6 seed (perhaps except the Rams), which would probably have an implied win probability of at least 70%.

Preferably,

Ben

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