Vegas Flat-Out Believes Lions Are Better than Vikings

“These days” in the NFL, one can generally assign between one and two points to the home team for a point-spread advantage.

And because the Detroit Lions are now 2.5-point favorites over the Vikings at Ford Field in Week 14, Vegas oddsmakers believe the Lions are flat-out a better franchise at the moment than the Vikings.

For context, the Lions are 5-7, while the Vikings are 10-2.

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The Vikings can clinch the NFC North for the first time since 2017 at Detroit, but in a vacuum, that doesn’t matter to sportsbooks. A 2.5-point spread indicates the Lions — somehow — are perceived as a stronger team than Minnesota. Last week, the Lions thumped the up-and-down Jacksonville Jaguars by a score of 40-14, so perhaps there’s some momentum considered.

Still, these are the same Vikings that have defeated the Lions nine times in the last 10 meetings, and conventional logic suggests the 10-2 team would command some respect over the almost-eliminated-from-playoffs 5-7 team.

But nope.

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Per Football Outsiders‘ DVOA metric, Detroit is the 13th-best team in the NFL through 13 weeks. Minnesota ranks 20th. In fact, the DVOA stat claims the Atlanta Falcons, Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns, etc., are all better teams than the Vikings. It may be time to save the “no respect” Rodney Dangerfield GIF to your cellular phone.

Moreover, the Lions-happy point spread exists even though the Vikings already beat Detroit a couple of months ago. At U.S. Bank Stadium in Week 3, the Lions went for it on 4th Down like madmen, the Vikings mostly stifled that risk-taking, and Minnesota was triumphant 28-24.

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Here is a more detailed view of the Lions and Vikings through a DVOA lens:

Lions DVOA,
Thru Week 13:

Offense = 9th
Defense = 19th
Special Teams = 9th

Vikings DVOA,
Thru Week 13:

Offense = 18th
Defense = 18th
Special Teams = 20th

So, the only thing left to do for the Vikings — to conquer the implied disrespect — is to win the game. The Vikings haven’t toppled a team by more than eight points since Week 1 and haven’t won a game by 17+ points in three years.

Minnesota lost to Detroit at Ford Field in 2021 and hasn’t lost back-to-back games at Detroit since 2013 and 2014.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).