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Odds to Be Lions Next Head Coach After Patricia Fired – Robert Saleh Favored, Jim Harbaugh Listed at 7-1

Robert Duff

by Robert Duff in NFL Football

Nov 30, 2020 · 11:40 AM PST

This Sept. 7, 2019, file photo, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh watches from the sideline in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Army, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Tony Ding, File)
  • San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh is the +575 favorite to be the next head coach of the Detroit Lions
  • Detroit fired coach Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn on Saturday
  • Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy (+590) and Michigan Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh (+725) are other top betting choices

By now, you’d think the Detroit Lions would have this coach search down pat. Yet, the fact that the team is again searching for a coach tells you they’re still trying to work out the kinks in terms of finding the right man for the job.

Matt Patricia was fired as coach of the 4-7 Lions on Saturday. He suffered his final humiliation on Thanksgiving Day when the Houston Texans served the Lions a 41-25 drubbing.

In a prop wager asking who will be the next head coaching hire by the Lions, Robert Saleh is the betting favorite at odds of +575. The defensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers has been a top head coaching candidate for a couple of seasons now.

Likewise, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy is considered to be another head coach in waiting. Bienemy is the second betting choice at +590.

Odds to be Next Coach of Detroit Lions

Coach Odds
Robert Saleh +575
Eric Bienemy +590
Lincoln Riley +670
Jim Harbaugh +725
Darrell Bevell +775
Brian Daboll +950
Byron Leftwich +950
Dan Mullen +1100
Josh McDaniels +1300
Kevin O’Connell +1300
Matt Campbell +1400
Arthur Smith +1400
Dabo Swinney +1500
Leslie Frazier +1600
Matt Eberflus +1600
Nick Saban +1800
Joe Brady +1900

Odds as of Nov. 30.

An intriguing possibility is Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh. He’s listed with a betting line of +725.

Coordinated Effort

Whoever replaces Patricia will be the 11th coach the Lions have employed since 2000. Only two of those 11 have managed to post a winning record while in charge of the team. None of them have won a game during the postseason.

Historically, the Lions like to bring in coordinators from the NFL at the top of the food chain. Patricia, for example, was defensive coordinator of the New England Patriots prior to becoming the Lions head coach.

That would explain the presence of Saleh and Bienemy high on the odds board. Saleh is also a Detroiter, which makes him even more interesting as a candidate.

The problem is, none of these coordinators have looked very coordinated as the man in charge. Patricia was 13-28-1 as Lions coach. Still, his .321 winning percentage only leaves him as the fourth-worst Lions coach since 2000.

Jim Schwartz (29-51, .363), Rod Marinelli (10-38, .208), and Marty Mohrninweg (5-27, .156) are other coordinator hires who failed spectacularly as Lions coach.

Do They Want A Michigan Man?

Would a Michigan man interest Detroit? Or, to be more precise, would Michigan man Jim Harbaugh be interested in the Lions?

He’s not been the answer at Michigan that Harbaugh was expected to be, bottoming out this season. The Maize and Blue are 2-4 this season. Harbaugh looks to be on his last legs in Ann Arbor.

But Harbaugh was 49-22-1 as coach of the 49ers. He took San Fran to a Super Bowl.

Perhaps he’s just a better fit as a pro coach than at the college level.

Smith Offers Intriguing Value

In case you haven’t noticed, NFL head coaching hires are getting younger. Some teams are even willing to think outside the box.

That being the case, it might not be a bad idea to make a play on someone further down the odds board. Arthur Smith, for instance.

The offensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans, Arthur Smith, is the man who resurrected the career of Ryan Tannehill.

If the Lions opt to move on from Matthew Stafford at the season’s end, it wouldn’t hurt to have a quarterback guru in charge of the team.

A New View

What makes this Lions hire even more fascinating is that it will be the first made by owner Sheila Ford Hamp. Her initial mission will be to convince quality candidates that the Lions aren’t going to continue to be the NFL version of the Gong Show.

Bienemy and Saleh will be wooed by every team looking for a coach. Harbaugh will want to get far away from Michigan.

The Lions will be low on the pecking order. Unless Saleh gives them a hometown discount, look for Smith to be the man.

Pick: Arthur Smith (+1400)

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