The Green Bay Packers are laying 12 points – and climbing – on the NFL odds board for Monday night’s matchup with the Atlanta Falcons. It seems that’s just a little too chalky for the sharps this week.
Jason’s record after Week 13: 34-46-1 ATS, 17-20-1 Totals
Everyone’s got a line in the sand. For many sharps, that line is –10. Double-digit underdogs have been a healthy NFL pick for decades – or at least, they were until now. Through Week 13 of the 2014 season, double-digit dogs are just 6-7-1 ATS on our NFL odds. More scoring means more teams are able to cover those giant spreads more often. It’s time to move that –10 benchmark a little higher. Don’t be a slave to Base 10.
How about something a little more duodecimal? The Green Bay Packers have opened as 12-point home favorites for Monday Night Football (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), where they’ll face the Atlanta Falcons in (chuckle) a battle of division leaders. Our early consensus numbers showed two-thirds of bettors picking the Packers, but our advanced reports at press time have nearly 70 percent of the monies wagered falling on Atlanta’s side. You know what they say: Big monies is sharp monies.
Or is it? Underdogs of 12 points or more are 3-3 ATS this year, which is still unprofitable. It’s not much of a sample size, but it’s enough to make us suggest ignoring this approach altogether when you’re making your NFL picks for Monday night. Instead, let’s focus on the matchup itself.
But first, a correction: We stated previously that Pro Football Reference had Green Bay (9-3 SU, 7-4-1 ATS) pegged at plus-12.6 SRS and Atlanta (5-7 SU and ATS) at minus-0.5 SRS. Apparently those numbers were either in error or not fresh. Make it plus-9.9 for the Packers and minus-3.4 for the Falcons. It still works out roughly to a 17-point difference, if you give Green Bay about 3.5 points for home-field advantage – making the Falcons play at Lambeau Field in December should be worth a little extra sumpin’ sumpin’.
1 vs. 32
The Week 13 DVOA Ratings at Football Outsiders are definitely crescent-fresh, and they give us even more reason to recommend the favorites this week. Green Bay checks in at No. 3 overall (No. 1 offense, No. 16 defense, No. 19 special teams), while Atlanta is in the bottom half of the table at No. 19 overall (No. 12 offense, No. 32 defense, No. 8 special teams). Look closely between the parentheses, and you’ll see this matchup pits the league’s “best” offense against the league’s “worst” defense.
This game could get real ugly real fast. Here’s how the Packers fared earlier this year against some of the poorest performers on the defensive DVOA charts:
Week 4: Packers 38, Bears 17 (GB –2)
Week 7: Panthers 17, Packers 38 (GB –6.5)
Week 8: Packers 23, Saints 44 (NO –2)
Week 10: Bears 14, Packers 55 (GB –9.5)
As you can see, it wasn’t a clean sweep for the Packers, but they did go 3-1 SU and ATS against these weaker defenses – Carolina’s is highest of the three in efficiency at No. 23 overall. Now let’s do the same thing for the Falcons against the NFL’s top offenses:
Week 1: Saints 34, Falcons 37 (OT; ATL –3)
Week 7: Falcons 7, Ravens 29 (BAL –7)
Actually, those are the only two offenses in the Top 10 that the Falcons have faced this year; New Orleans is at No. 5 this week, and the Ravens are No. 10. Aside from the Saints, playing in the NFC South has thus far protected Atlanta from having to face any monster offenses. Until now. We’re more than happy to recommend the Packers given the disparity between their offense and Atlanta’s defense. Yes, Lambeau Field should be chilly Monday night, but the forecast calls for clear skies, so we’ll take our chances. Into each life some chalk must fall.
Free NFL Pick: Take the Packers