NFL Predictions - Packers Should Be Public Darlings In Week 16

Jason Lake

Monday, December 19, 2016 9:08 PM UTC

Monday, Dec. 19, 2016 9:08 PM UTC

The Green Bay Packers still aren’t in a Wild Card spot, but they’ll be a very popular NFL pick this Saturday when they host their division rivals, the Minnesota Vikings.

In the magical world of efficiency stats, the Green Bay Packers (8-6 SU, 7-6-1 ATS) are the best team in the NFC North. But they’re one game behind the Detroit Lions in the real world, and they don’t even control their own fate in the NFC Wild Card race. In fact, the Minnesota Vikings (7-7 SU, 8-6 ATS) could still overtake the Packers for a playoff spot. Crazy times, my friends.

Minnesota’s chances don’t look too good. They’re 7-point road dogs on the NFL odds board for Saturday’s matchup (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX), and our consensus reports show two-thirds of the early action landing on Green Bay. But here at the ranch, we’re recommending the Vikings as a contrarian NFL pick, and we think you’ll be able to snap them up at +7.5 or better once the weekend rolls around.

Spoiler Alert

It’ll be a tasty pick at that price. FiveThirtyEight has projected an Elo-based spread of Minnesota +6 for Saturday’s contest, so there might already be some betting value at the magic +7. Granted, the Vikings need a lot of help to qualify for the playoffs, but they can do it; Football Outsiders give them a 0.9-percent chance of making it in. So we’re saying there’s a chance.

At the very least, the Vikings should be motivated to play the spoiler role and put a major dent in Green Bay’s playoff chances – which sit at 59.6 percent according to Football Outsiders. The Vikes did beat the Packers in Week 2, 17-14 as 1.5-point home dogs. Minnesota also has RB Adrian Peterson back in the lineup, although he was limited to 22 yards in last week’s return versus the Indianapolis Colts. Peterson has shredded the Packers for 5.1 yards per carry lifetime.

As for that extra half-point, Green Bay are No. 2 on the public money charts as we go to press, behind only the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Minnesota has fallen to No. 17 after starting the season with five straight wins SU and ATS. We can expect plenty more action on the Packers this week, and with nothing of consequence in Saturday’s game-time weather forecast, getting that spread at +7.5 could make all the difference.

Free NFL Pick: Minnesota +7 (–120)Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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