The Detroit Lions Can Make Franchise History Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Apr 9, 2024 08:00 PM
The Detroit Lions Can Make Franchise History Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Detroit Lions just won their first NFL playoff game since 1991. Can they follow that up with the franchise’s first-ever trip to the NFC Championship by beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday, January 21?

  • What: Detroit Lions vs. Tampa Bay Bucs
  • Date: Sunday, January 21, 2024
  • Time: 3 p.m. eastern standard time
  • Where: Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan
  • Point Spread: Lions (-6.5), Bucs (+6.5)

At the start of the season, most wouldn’t have pegged the Lions as a playoff team, let alone a potential conference finalist. Detroit has struggled for years on end to get over the postseason. The last time they made any noise, in fact, there wasn’t even an NFC Championship of which to speak. Now, however, they find themselves hosting a second straight playoff game. Not only that, but the latest NFL online betting odds have them pegged has pretty heavy favorites:

Detroit Lions-290+235Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Remember to keep double-checking these online NFL playoff betting odds until you actually submit your wager. Our Lions vs. Buccaneers betting odds are accurate entering Wednesday, January 17. That gives the best NFL online betting sites plenty of time to make adjustments leading into opening kick-off on January 21.

Many Detroit fans will get googly eyes seeing Tampa Bay on the other end of their schedule. That’s fair. The Bucs won the ultra-week NFC South to crack the postseason and then took advantage of a hobbled and underachieving Philadelphia Eagles squad to get here. Still, the defense is legit. Tampa Bay ranks in the top seven of points allowed per game and has one of the more effective blitzing schemes in the league. The offense has also shown they can take advantage of weaker secondaries. Last week, the Bucs hung 32 points and racked up 426 passing yards against the Eagles. Detroit’s own secondary has holes and is no stranger to coughing up 30-plus points in a game. That could open the door for Tampa Bay to break through with a victory.

Can the Bucs take advantage of that opening? Or are the Lions about to be one victory away from a Super Bowl appearance?

The One Reason Why the Detroit Lions are Decided Favorites to Beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Leaky defenses don’t often curry this much favor among NFL playoff betting lines. And the Lions field nothing if not a potentially leaky defense. Letting up 23 points to the Los Angeles Rams last week isn’t that big of a deal. And before that, they held both the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys to 20 points apiece.

But we have also seen fundamental breakdowns in the secondary. Between Weeks 10 and 14, the Lions surrendered an average of nearly 30 points per game while facing only one above-average offense. Detroit also ranks 29th in net yards allowed per pass attempt as well as 29th in the percentage of opponent red zone possessions that end with a score. None of this is good news.

And yet, the Lions pose a uniquely difficult matchup for the Bucs defense. Tampa Bay likes to shut down higher-end run games and force offenses to rely on passing games with a savvy package of blitzes. They don’t figure to deviate from that script against Detroit, which is set up to take advantage of porous coverage on the ground.

Here’s the thing: With Jared Goff under center, the Lions thrive reading and reacting to blitzes. We saw as much when they faced the Bucs earlier in the regular season. Tampa Bay may be able to shift its approach somewhat, but they’ll eventually have to pick their poison. And the Lions offense has too much poison from which to choose.

OSB Prediction: Detroit Lions (-290)

Detroit Lions To beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Should We Expect a Photo Finish in Detroit?

Teams with the Lions’ moneyline are typically favored by more than a touchdown. But the latest NFL playoff point spread betting odds don’t give that much leeway to the Bucs:

  • Detroit Lions, -6.5 (-110)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers, +6.5 (-110)

Comfortable victories are not what you would consider a Lions staple. Since their Week 9 Bye, Detroit’s seven wins have come by an average of 7.8 points. Just two of those games, meanwhile, have featured a margin of victory greater than six.

Indeed, the Lions cobbled together bigger-time victories earlier in the year. But between their holes in the secondary and the potential for Tampa Bay’s defense to control the pace of play, we see this game coming down to the final drive or two. And that’s not conducive to Detroit winning by a touchdown or more.

OSB Prediction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, +6.5 (-110)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers To cover the point spread against the Detroit Lions

Could Lions vs. Buccaneers be the Highest Scoring NFL Game of the Week?

The latest NFL playoff over/under betting odds currently have the matchup between the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers projected for the highest total. But the lines also suggest Detroit and Tampa Bay could give them a run for their money:

  • Over 48.5 (-110)
  • Under 48.5 (-110)

Everything we just discussed invariably leads us to favor the “over.” The Bucs defense is hyperactive. But that plays into the Lions’ hands. We could look back on this game and see that they spit out multiple 20-plus-yard-plays reacting to Tampa Bay’s blitzes in the box.

On the flip side, while the Bucs’ own offense does not rate highly in certain metrics, they have started to perk up. Tampa Bay has topped 25 points in three of their past five outings, and their passing performance against Swiss cheese secondaries like Detroit’s has been more stellar than not. Expect this final total to surpass the 50-point threshold.

OSB Prediction: Over 48.5 (-110)

Rams and Cardinals To score under 48.5 combined points

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can find one that works for all of your 2024 NFL betting:

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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