T'was a sparkling summer evening in early August of 2022. I sat, holding court, at a picnic table under a large white tent in the middle of a converted parking lot, now restaurant.
Surrounded by friends, fries and fresh brews, I professed my love for a silly little underdog team that I thought was poised to surprise.
You see this is quite the tradition for me, dialing in on one of the 32 NFL franchises and claiming I can tell their future. Planting my flag on a rock not traversed by any man nor woman before.
A preseason Magellan some would say.
Whilst holding a Californian local brew I boldly belted, "They shall do it! They can not be stopped! The Detroit Lions will win SEVEN OR MORE THIS SEASON!"
6.5 games. An arbitrary amount to some but not to the handicappers at the sportsbook. For they had gone into a dark room earlier that summer and come out with Regular Season Wins predictions for every NFL team. 6.5 was the number they attached to the Michigan professional footballers. Daring any bettor to predict the fates of Dan Campbell's Cats.
The history books will show that I was mighty convincing that day because, for the first time in my life, my friends agreed with me.
In a unification previously unseen by this West Coast friend group, we all agreed that the Lions should finish with more than 6.5 wins. What's worse is, we all agreed to bet on it. Together.
Now, this friend group has collected money for various things before, whether they be fantasy leagues or dinner tabs. Never had a monetary collection occurred faster than it did on that day. Venmos and PayPals were figured out in a flash. Before we knew it, we were all paying to be Lions fans.
That is the only word that comes to mind when explaining the first half of the 2022 NFL season for our Detroit Lovebirds. A 1-6 record with injuries up and down the lineup. A defense so bad it was setting records for ineptitude. Children crying in the streets and my friends cursing me out any chance they could.
For it was I who convinced them. I, who laid my reputation down on a team widely known to disappoint. I was Charlie Brown kicking the football. And Lucy always wins.
Did I lose faith? Did I think my money was lost? Was I accepting my new title as Glendale's Skip Bayless? Indeed, I was.
Hell, I was walking around my apartment every Sunday like George Michael.
Yeah, that's right, not one but TWO Charlie Brown references in one article. Merry Christmas.
Yet before we knew it, Detroit started winning. And winning. And winning. They even played the AFC-leading Buffalo Bills and almost won. On Thanksgiving!? Detroit NEVER wins on Thanksgiving!
They were turning the season around faster than Snoopy chasing the Red Baron (three!) and on Sunday, December 18th they had six wins. One win away from immortality.
HAHAHA! We did it!!!
Detroit won their seventh game! We won our bet! My friends are talking to me again!!!
Never give up on your dreams kids.
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