Packers vs. Vikings NFL Football Odds & Predictions September 18/2016

Vikings Munnerlyn, Captain shaking hand with fans

Saturday, September 17, 2016 5:48 PM GMT

The Green Bay Packers are 2.5-point road faves for Sunday night's game against the Minnesota Vikings. Perhaps those football odds should be the other way around.

Record: 2-0 ATS, 0-2 Totals

Green Bay Packers vs Minnesota Vikings
How do you like Shaun Hill now? We did say the Minnesota Vikings were undervalued after QB Teddy Bridgewater (knee) was lost for the season, although the late arrival of Sam Bradford threw the betting market into confusion. Granted, it took a pair of defensive touchdowns for Minnesota to beat the Tennessee Titans 25-16 and cash in as 2.5-point road faves, but Hill “managed” the Vikings just fine in Bridgewater's absence.

It remains uncertain at press time whether Bradford is ready to take over the reins for Sunday night's matchup (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC) with the Green Bay Packers. Either way, the Packers have opened as 2.5-point faves on our NFL odds board for the regular-season opener at Minnesota's new stadium. And our consensus reports show two-thirds of early bettors on Green Bay. Early action is sharp action, right?

Quantify This
Yeah, one problem with that: Check out our expanded consensus report, and if the numbers are the same as they are at press time, you'll see Minnesota with a higher average bet: $79 to Green Bay's $52. And surely the Packers are overvalued this year. They are one of the Top 3 Super Bowl favorites on the NFL futures market, after all. And they barely escaped Week 1 versus the Jacksonville Jaguars, winning 27-23 as 3.5-point road faves.

Let's ask some quants for their opinion. FiveThirtyEight project the Vikings to win Sunday's game 58 percent of the time, generating an Elo-based point spread of Minnesota –2. Sweet, sweet betting value. ESPN's Football Power Index is a little less optimistic, giving the Vikes a 53 percent chance of winning, but that still makes them the analytic favorites. The numbers back up the betting logic.

Sam I Maybe Am
If only we knew for sure that Hill was going to start. We've been Bradford apologists here at the home office for quite some time; when healthy, he's a perfectly cromulent quarterback. Even when he wasn't healthy last year, Bradford still performed at slightly above replacement level, according to the stats at Football Outsiders.

Bradford is presumably healthy now. But is he ready to take over the Vikings offense? If not, would head coach Mike Zimmer throw him into the fire anyway? Zimmer says they'll be taking it “one week at a time,” which is music to our ears here at the ranch. Just because it's the Packers and not the Titans, doesn't mean there's any need to rush Bradford to market. Remember what happened to Josh Freeman three years ago?

Besides, RB Adrian Peterson should be carrying the load on Sunday. Green Bay had the No. 19-ranked rush defense in the league last year, compared to No. 6 against the pass. And Minnesota's front seven should make life very difficult for Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, especially with center Corey Linsley on the PUP list with multiple hamstring injuries. Give us the Vikings, please, and may the prolate spheroid be with you.

Free NFL Pick: Vikings +3 (–125)
Best Line Offered: at Bovada

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