Nover's View: Point spread thoughts on 7 and Lions

by Stephen Nover

The two topics in today's NFL column are the point spread number 7 and the Detroit Lions. I'll save the worst for last. So let's begin with 7. 

We all know 3 is the most important point spread number in football. The next most significant point spread number is 4. Then 7. 

However, 7 is not nearly as important as it used to be. This is because of more missed extra points and teams understanding analytics thus attempting 2-point conversions more frequently. The value between 6 and 7 isn't nearly what it once was because of these factors. 

A team winning by exactly seven points has happened five times this season in 94 games through the quarter mark of the season. That's 5.3 percent compared to 7.4 percent the number of times a team has won by exactly six points this season. Note that twice of the five instances it was underdogs that won by exactly seven points. There were a couple of times, the latest being the Cowboys beating the Patriots, where a team won by six in overtime and not seven because there was no extra point try with the outcome decided. 

Conclusion being don't spend money buying extra juice to get 7 if taking 6 1/2, or laying 7 1/2. Not worth it. 

Now on to the Lions. Ever heard of Amon-Ra St. Brown, Kalif Raymond, KhaDarel Hodge, Tom Kennedy and Geronimo Allison? Didn't think so. Those are Detroit's wide receivers. 

I've been watching the NFL for 58 years and have never seen a less distinguished group of wide receivers. Tyrell Williams was supposed to be the Lions' No. 1 wideout after Kenny Golladay went to the Giants. Williams is injured. So is Quinten Cephus, who was the lone wide receiver to display some potential. Unfortunately, he suffered a broken collarbone and is out for the year. 

Jared Goff was only effective with the Rams when the setting was right, which meant playing in LA's nice weather with excellent weapons and backed by the coaching of offensive guru Sean McVay. Goff is exposed with the Lions as the timid downfield passer that he is unable to make any of his wideouts better. Aside from tight end T.J. Hockenson and running back D'Andre Swift, Goff has extremely limited talent around him. That's true. But Goff doesn't do anything to elevate this talent. 

Despite being the only winless team in the NFL and hit hard by injuries - on both sides of the ball - the Lions still display effort. They held the Ravens, Bears and Vikings to an average of 20.6 points in their three previous games before getting clobbered, 34-11, by the Bengals this past Sunday. 

You can't make it in today's NFL without a semblance of a passing attack. The Lions lack this. Detroit has failed to break 17 points since Week 1. The Lions are averaging 15.2 points in their last five games. The last time they scored a touchdown in the first half was on their opening drive back in Week 2. 

So what do you do with the Lions besides watch another game? Feel bad for Dan Campbell and bet the Under. The Lions have gone Under in each of their last four games. They've gone below the total by a combined 43 1/2 points during this span.

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