They've exceeded those expectations thus far, sitting in second place with a 2-1-1 record through Week 5. A critical game against the first-place Packers awaits next Monday at Lambeau Field.
The Packers are 11-10 favorites, followed by the Bears and Vikings at 3-1. The Lions are 6-1 underdogs, up from 8-1 last week.
Green Bay has a distinct advantage thanks to its 2-0 record in the division, adding to the stakes of Monday's game. Chicago is 1-1 in the division, while Minnesota is 0-2. Detroit has yet to play an NFC North foe.
If you believe in the Lions, now would be a good time to place your bet.
Elsewhere in the NFL, the Patriots are 3-1 favorites to win the Super Bowl, followed by the Chiefs (7-1) and the Saints (9-1). The Lions are 33-1. The Saints are favorites to win the NFC at 9-2, followed by the Packers and the Eagles at 7-1. The Lions are 16-1.
In the MVP race, Patrick Mahomes is the odds-on favorite at 5-4. His closest challengers are Russell Wilson at 11-4, and Christian McCaffrey and DeShaun Watson at 15-2. Matthew Stafford, who has a career-high 102.4 passer rating through four games, checks in at 66-1, tied with Jameis Winston and Jared Goff.