The playoff hunt heats up when the Cowboys descend on the Packers in week 14. Find out where the value NFL picks are to be had as we breakdown this matchup and the corresponding NFL odds on tap.
NFL Pick: Packers -7
Best Line Offered: at Heritage
Green Bay Packers Home Faves
Buoyed by a Hail Mary for the ages, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers look to keep their bid for the NFC North title alive at the expense of the Cowboys in week 14.
In Detroit last week, the Packers were under the cosh for most of the 60 minutes and trailing the Lions by 20-points halfway through the third quarter. To say things looked dire is an understatement. What transpired in the last 20 minutes of the game and how Rodgers practically heaved the team onto his shoulders and lifted them to the improbable 27-23 victory is almost impossible to put to words. No hyperbole wouldn’t do it justice. Only to see it is to truly appreciate its brilliance and awesomeness. What it does underscore, in no uncertain terms, is that it takes all of the 60 minutes of a game to win (Tom Coughlin and the Giants may know a thing or two about that).
The upshot of the win on Thursday Night at Ford Field is the return of the Packers to their rightful place, atop the NFC North pile. Minnesota Vikings, on the heels of an embarrassing loss to the Seahawks, slipped into second place. Now, the Vikings kick off Thursday Night Football this week, so it remains to be seen whether the Packers remain atop the pile by the end of the day. It’s quite possible they’ll slip down to second place before even taking the field on Sunday.
If the NFL odds were any indication, however, presiding over their NFC North principality should remain with the Packers. The Cardinals are overwhelming favorites on the NFL odds board, improving to a whopping 11-points at some sports betting exchanges ahead of Thursday’s Primetime kick off, marking a rise from 8-points at early doors.
In any event, we digress. Though the Packers and their fans will be keenly following the Vikings vs. Cardinals game, their immediate concern are the Cowboys, who somehow despite a subpar 4-8 SU record are in the playoff hunt, which makes them dangerous floaters for the highly-anticipated Sunday tilt.
The Packers can’t take anything for granted. They’ve already had a couple of inexplicable losses at Lambeau – a loss to the Lions and then the Bears – and the Cowboys won’t be averse to orchestrating another upset.
Not unlike the Packers, the Cowboys salvaged their playoff bid with a last-gasp win over the Redskins in MNF. The pivotal win, which also marked Matt Cassel’s first win as a starter for the Cowboys, lifted the Cowboys to a 4-8 SU record in the dysfunctional NFC East. They are one game behind group leaders, which as it so happens is a three-way tie with the Redskins, Eagles and Giants, all on a 5-7 SU mark. However, the Cowboys have the 3-2 edge over the division right now.
In more ways than one, this is a must-win game for both the Packers and the Cowboys. Naturally, with home advantage, the Packers are the obvious favorites on the NFL odds board, trading at anywhere from -315 NFL odds (Pinnacle) to -350 NFL odds for the straight up win and on a touchdown line against the spread at most sportsbooks.
Where Consensus Betting Points To?
Public consensus betting reveals the Packers have the lion’s share of betting on this game with 62.84% of tickets recorded, and, equally important, those tickets also account for the bulk (78.90%) of the money risked on this game.
Obviously, few NFL bettors are buying what the Cowboys are selling here. What is interesting to note is that despite receiving the bulk of the spread bets according to SBR the line is moving against the Packers on the NFL odds board instead of ballooning as one might expect. The NFL line opened around the 8.5-point mark in early NFL betting markets but it has come down to 7-points now. This reverse line movement is a good indicator that sharp money has come down on the Cowboys at one point or other during the week.
NFL Betting Verdict: Consensus vs. Sharp NFL Picks
Nobody that has followed the Green Bay Packers diligently this season is under any illusions about their struggles, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. If we’re to compare this instalment with last year’s the most obvious difference is points per game scored. Last season, Aaron Rodgers and his 0-line lit up the scoreboard with ease and abandon. This season it’s been more of a struggle, which could be down to the loss of Jordie Nelson for the season amongst others.
Packers are only 7-5 ATS through 13 weeks of the 2015 season with a 4.2-point winning margin on average and a negative 1.1-differential against the spread. This includes a 3-3 ATS mark at home together with a 5.8-point winning margin and a negative 1.7-point differential against the spread. Compared to 2014, when they finished with a 10-7-1 mark against the spread (includes playoff games) and a 7.6-point winning margin and a plus 3.4-point differential against the spread. As home team, they were a league-leading 6-2-1 ATS with a 17.8-point winning margin and a whopping plus 10.4-point differential against the spread.
Digging deeper into the stats, it’s important to note that the Packers haven’t covered a spread higher than 2.5-points since week 5 of the season. Therein probably lies the motivation behind sharp betting on the Cowboys. Since closing on a 10.5-point spread in week 6 to the Chargers – one they failed to cover – the Packers have gone 2-5 ATS overall and, crucially, 0-3 ATS at home. Yikes.
One thing though that hasn’t changed is the perception across sports betting shops. Struggling though the Packers may be in certain aspects of the game, there’s no doubt that odds makers believe the Packers are the real deal. And we’re inclined to agree with this assessment. It might seem square to just fall in line with preconceived notions, and, critically, go against current stats, brushing them aside callously for our NFL picks. But it’s not.
What we’re doing is going above square-ish preconceived notions. We’re hanging our hat on inspiring intangibles, namely the Hail Mary. The way the Packers never gave up and turned around what looked to be certain defeat was simply remarkable. That singular game and heroic effort by Rodgers et al could be the catalyst that propels the Packers down the stretch as they find the verve and swagger with which they started the season on and reeled off six straight wins. We’re laying the points with the Packers bravely.