Packers -9.5 Over Vikings for Thursday Night NFL Picks

Jason Lake

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 3:14 PM GMT

The waiting is the hardest part. It’s quite possible NFL betting fans won’t find out until game-time whether Teddy Bridgwater will start for the Minnesota Vikings against the Green Bay Packers on Thursday Night Football.

Jason’s record after Week 4: 12-14 ATS, 5-4-1 Totals

Profit: minus-5.6 units

By the time you read this, you might already know the answer: Will he, or won’t he? Teddy Bridgewater is still a question mark for the Minnesota Vikings as they navigate the short week ahead of their matchup with the Green Bay Packers. Bridgewater was held out of practice Tuesday, as he was on Monday, as the Vikings try to give his sprained ankle as much rest as possible before making their decision.

With reports on Bridgewater growing more nebulous, bettors aren’t dipping too far into their wallets and/or purses for Thursday night’s contest (8:25 p.m. ET, CBS). Green Bay is the preferred choice, getting 52 percent of the NFL picks and 63 percent of the money, but the average bet on the Packers is only $55, with $35 coming in on the Vikings. Those are not prime time numbers.

Review our thoughts on the Vikings vs. Packers Opening Odds

A View to Kalil
We’re not going to open up too heavily on Green Bay, either, but we are going to pick the Packers on principle. They were very sharp in their 38-17 victory over the Chicago Bears (+2 at home) on Sunday, rising all the way from No. 17 to No. 6 on the DVOA charts at Football Outsiders. Mind you, the Vikings also rose up the ranks after beating the Atlanta Falcons (–5 away) 41-28. They were No. 30 overall last week. Now they’re No. 26.

Of course, Bridgewater’s not to blame for those numbers. But even if he suits up Thursday night – which we’re going to assume unless told otherwise – the Vikings have other issues to deal with. Issues on defense, where they rank No. 22 in efficiency (No. 24 pass, No. 20 rush). And issues on the offensive line, which ranks No. 22 in run blocking and No. 27 in pass protection.

Hate to say it, but LT Matt Kalil is no longer all that. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2012 (filling in for the injured Trent Williams), but 2013 didn’t work out so well for Kalil after he hurt his knee, and 2014 isn’t much better after he had arthroscopic surgery during the offseason. In a not-unrelated matter, the Vikings have been whittled down to their third-string QB in back-to-back seasons now. Maybe it truly doesn’t matter who’s under center on Thursday. Okay, it does, but still.

 

Eat Your Greens
On the flip side, the Packers can chalk up their recent success, at least in part, to the quick return of RT Bryan Bulaga. He suffered what was thought to be a torn MCL in the season opener, but thanks to his knee brace, it turned out to be just a sprain, and Bulaga was able to come back in Week 3. Bulaga’s not Pro Bowl material by any means, but he did make the NFL All-Rookie team in 2010 as Green Bay went on to win the Super Bowl. Nice work if you can get it.

It appears LB Clay Matthews (groin) will also play Thursday night after taking just 52 of 78 defensive snaps against the Bears. He was one of five Packers on Monday’s official injury report, although Green Bay didn’t practice that day. Matthews (51 lifetime sacks in 70 games) is listed as probable to face the Vikings; again, whoever lines up under center for Minnesota is likely to be eating turf ‘n turf for dinner.

The Five Stars
Injuries/Suspensions/Travel/Rest: GB

Defense/Special Teams: GB

Coaching: GB

Market Bias: MIN

Betting Line Value: MIN

Verdict: 1-star pick on GB

Free NFL Pick: Bet 1.4 units on the Packers –9.5 (+101) at SBOBET

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