2021 NFL Season: Odds Favor Detroit Lions to Be Last Winless Team

The 2021 NFL season finally kicks off on Thursday, September 9 with a clash between the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While it’s nice to see football back, it’s also fun to see what kind of interesting betting markets are out there. One intriguing market that Bovada has takes a look at which team is likeliest to be the last one to win a game in 2021. According to Bovada’s odds, that “honor” goes to the Detroit Lions (+300).

The Lions haven’t been that great as of late. Actually, scratch that. The Lions haven’t been good in a long time. Detroit hasn’t made the playoffs since 2016 and hasn’t been beyond the Wild Card Round since 1991. The organization is hoping that things will change in the 2021 NFL season, however, that’s far from a guarantee. Yes, the Lions have a new coaching staff led by Dan Campbell and the roster is an improvement over last year’s, especially with an underrated offensive line. Unfortunately, things won’t be easy for Detroit to start the season.

According to CBS Sports, the Lions are tied for the sixth-toughest schedule this year. Detroit opens the season with games against the San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens — all teams who could realistically win the Super Bowl this year. Things don’t get much easier after that as Detroit has matchups with the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings next.

The Lions best shot at winning in the first half of the 2021 NFL season will likely be against either the Cincinnati Bengals (Week 6) or the Philadelphia Eagles (Week 8). If they don’t get a win in either of those games, it’ll likely be a long time before they do — barring any unforeseen upsets.

Last Winless Team of 2021 NFL Season Odds

Odds via Bovada as of Thursday, September 9

  • Detroit Lions (+300)
  • Houston Texans (+350)
  • New York Jets (+850)
  • Philadelphia Eagles (+950)
  • Cincinnati Bengals (+1100)
  • Las Vegas Raiders (+1100)
  • Indianapolis Colts (+1400)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (+2000)
  • New York Giants (+2000)
  • Chicago Bears (+2500)

Complete odds list available at Bovada.lv.

Houston Texans Winless Odds

If the Lions aren’t the final winless team, odds indicate that it will likely be the Houston Texans (+350). It wasn't that long ago that the Texans had won the AFC South in four out of five seasons between 2015 and 2019. Unfortunately, poor asset management led to the team finishing 2020 with a 4-12 record. While some Houston fans might be hoping for a bounce-back performance in the 2021 NFL season, that doesn’t seem too likely.

For starters, the Texans will be without starting quarterback Deshaun Watson for the foreseeable future as he continues to deal with sexual assault lawsuits. Instead, former Buffalo Bills starting QB Tyrod Taylor will take over as the lead signal-caller. The only issue is that he has just four starts in the last three seasons, so it’ll be interesting to see how he fairs in a 17-game campaign.

Houston actually has a middle-of-the-pack schedule, which is tied for the 15th-toughest. The Texans play the Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers within the first two weeks of the season, so there’s definitely a shot that they can get an early win. The only issue is that if they don’t win one of those games, they’re stuck playing playoff-quality teams until a matchup against the New York Jets in Week 12. In other words, the Texans control their destiny.

Jets Winless Odds

At +850 odds, the New York Jets are the third-likeliest team to be the last one without a win. While they haven’t made the playoffs in over a decade, the Jets are poised to begin a new era, which starts with the 2021 NFL season. Robert Saleh is the new head coach in town, 2021 second overall pick Zach Wilson is the QB of the present and future, and the team looks better overall than it did last year.

The Jets play the Panthers, Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons all within the first five weeks. With the talent New York has on paper, the team should win at least one of those games. After all, the Jets are tied for the 12th-easiest schedule of the season, so it seems likely that this is a great opportunity o showcase their improvements. Nevertheless, the NFL can be unpredictable, so only time will tell when the Jets secure their first win.

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Devon Platana
After graduating with a Masters degree in Journalism, Devon joined USGS to improve his sports writing skills. As a lifelong sports fan, one of Devon’s favorite things to do is analyze statistics across all sports.