Playoff Experience Makes Packers The NFL Pick vs. Cardinals

Joe Gavazzi

Friday, January 15, 2016 8:06 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 8:06 PM UTC

The Packers travel to the desert for a revenge matchup against a Cardinals team that looks to bounce back from their most embarrassing defeat in the last several years.

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NFL Pick: Pacers +7 
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle


Green Bay Packers vs. Arizona Cardinals (-7) 8:15 EST NBC
Green Bay travels to the desert for this revenge matchup against an Arizona Cardinals team who looks to bounce back from their most embarrassing defeat in the last several years. With emotional factors favoring either team, it is a bit shocking to this bureau that at this writing the Cardinals are drawing more public money than any of the other seven playoff teams. That is a good reason in and of itself to favor the Green Bay Packers, who were a totally different team in the last three quarters of their playoff victory over Washington last week.


Last Meeting
When these teams met on this field just three short weeks ago, Arizona won the matchup 38-6 in a game that was not as close as the final score. The fierce Arizona pass rush overwhelmed the injury plagued Green Bay line, sacked QB Rodgers multiple times, and forced him to spend much of the game in a horizontal position. Fat off that victory and facing divisional opponent Seattle whom they had beaten November 13th 39-32, Arizona mailed it in in a 36-6 defeat to the Seahawks. What goes around comes around. In that game, they were outrushed 145-27 and were a -3 in the net turnover column. In the previous millennium, there was a strong school of thought that rested home teams were like money in the bank in the playoffs.


Betting Analysis
But with the line being inflated on many of these teams in recent years, these rested homers in the playoffs are just 13-23 ATS. There is no doubt merit to playing moneymaking HC Arians off a loss, a situation in which he is 11-4 SU ATS. But QB Palmer, despite his many years in the league, is 0-2 SU ATS in the playoffs. Finally from a technical perspective, Arizona is just 1-5 ATS on their home field recently, with that lone cover coming against Green Bay. There is little doubt that Arizona is the best offensive team remaining in the playoffs. They average 31 PPG, 408 YPG, and 6.4 offensive yards per play. With the way in which they dominated Green Bay just three weeks ago, there is little wonder they are attracting ample public money. 

But you need look no further than last week’s Minnesota/Seattle playoff game to see why regular season dominance is no guarantee of post season success. Surely the psychological edge belongs to Green Bay. Following that embarrassing loss to Arizona, many handicappers, including this bureau, believed the Packers would bounce at home, vying for the divisional title and a home game in the playoffs vs a Vikings team they had earlier defeated 30-13. But when the smoke cleared, the Vikings emerged with a 20-13 win, their first against the winning team all season. Again, the Green Bay offense was in total disarray. That’s the way their playoff game at Washington began last week, with the nadir of their discontent coming when QB Rodgers was sacked for a safety. It took until midway in the second quarter for the Packers to regain their mojo. I understand it was “only Washington”, but the confidence exhibited by Green Bay in the second half signaled a clear turnaround in their psyche. With the momentum of that victory, the revenge from three short weeks ago, and the greater playoff experience with QB Rodgers, it would be no surprise to see the Packers garner the surprising upset at +7 on the NFL odds board

I invite you to put the NFL odds in your favor and join me in my NFL pick on the Green BayPackers.

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