This week’s edition of Monday Night Football features a matchup between two teams that genuinely dislike one another. There’s zero love lost between the Packers and Vikings. The fact that both teams are separated by a single game in the NFC North standings only adds to this game’s intrigue.
The Packers come in at 11-3, but that isn’t stopping them from getting 5.5-points as underdogs against the 10-4 Vikings. Home field advantage is a big part of this spread, but it also tells you that oddsmakers believe the talent level between two rosters is pretty even. If you assume home field is worth three points, it does mean that oddsmakers like Minnesota by 2.5 points on a neutral field.
The idea of giving Aaron Rodgers 5.5 points to work with against a team that isn’t truly elite is enough to get seasoned gamblers really interested. The question is whether or not this is a gift or a trap. If you want to find that answer out, you need to check out our exclusive Statschecker Site filled with information on the game. I’ll give you a sample of what’s available there in this piece, but check it out for yourself before you log in your bets.
The home field advantage is huge
The Vikings come into this contest on the heels of six straight victories at home. Three points might not account for the full advantage Minnesota is going to enjoy on Monday night. Expect the stadium to be full of purple and rocking from the opening kickoff.
On the other hand, it’s not going to be anything Rodgers hasn’t seen before. He won’t be intimidated by the atmosphere. If he struggles, it can safely be attributed to Mike Zimmer’s defensive game plan.
Don’t bet on a shootout
There will be lots of offensive talent on the field Monday night, but this doesn’t necessarily have the makings of a high scoring affair. In fact, the Packers have hit the under seven times in a row against division opponents.
Familiarity breeds contempt, but it also breeds a lot of comfort level for coaches in their quest to really understand the tendencies of their opposition. Nothing either team is going to do on offense is going to catch their opponent by surprise. You may see some fireworks late, but look for a cagey opening half between these two rivals.
The Vikings may have the better offense
Statistically speaking, Minnesota’s offense has been more productive than their Green Bay counterparts this season. There’s no other logical way to explain the fact that the Vikings are averaging 27 points per game compared to the Packers’ total of 23.6.
In fairness, the Packers have tried to dial back their risk taking with the ball this season. It’s arguable that Rodgers has never been asked to do less. That might change in this game. Look for him to take some shots down the field to try to loosen up the Vikings secondary.
Green Bay is a feisty underdog
The Packers have only played three games as underdogs this season, but they have won two of those contests outright. The translation is that if you like Green Bay to cover, you should strongly consider taking them to win on the money line as well.
Rodgers is clearly the X-factor in this game, but don’t overlook the potential of his receiving corps to make big plays. Devante Adams is rounding into health. He could emerge as the difference maker in a Green Bay upset.
Both teams are good against the spread
The Vikings come in with a nice record of 8-6 against the spread this year, but the Packers have been one game better at 9-5. If you’re looking for historical trends against the spread to guide your betting, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.
This game may truly be a betting toss-up. Ultimately, it may come down to your belief in Kirk Cousins to play well in a big game. Redskins fans will tell you that’s a really bad bet.
Lean slightly towards the Vikings
The Vikings need to win this game and they should be playing in front of a raucous crowd. Dalvin Cook could really emerge as the key for Minnesota down the stretch. If he can play a productive, healthy game against Green Bay, he’ll give his team a vital home victory. Lean towards them squeaking this bet out with a seven-point victory.