Green Bay Packers (1-1 SU, 0-1-1 ATS) vs. Detroit Lions (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS)
NFL Week 3
Date and Time: Sunday, Sept. 21 1pm ET
Where: Ford Field
by Evergreen, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: GB +1/DET -1
Over/Under Total: 52.5
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It has been the oddest of NFL seasons so far and we are just two weeks in. Given all of the off field news, it is nice to simply focus on the games and one of the best matchups in week 3 pits Green Bay against Detroit. The Lions welcome the Packers to Ford Field and the winner here will leave with no worse than a share of the division as all four NFC North teams enter the week at 1-1. The QB battle should be a good one as Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford are among the very best arms in the game and both have a variety of weapons at their disposal. This rivalry has produced some tense moments over the years and there should be plenty of trash talk to go around.
The early betting opened with Detroit as one point favorites and you should act now if you want that line. Green Bay is among the most heavily bet teams each week and they get a lot of love as underdogs so watch for the online betting sites to move this line to a pick em or swing this to the Pack as favorites by week end. Since 2003, one-point favorites have covered at a rate of 55.9% but again, the action will go a long way to determining who is in fact that favorite by the close of betting. The over/under for the game is 52.5 points.
In 2013, these teams split the season series with each winning their respective home games. The Week 13 win by the Lions looks dominant if you reference only the 40-10 final score but remember that Aaron Rodgers was out for that game. Green Bay won in Week 5 by a 22-9 score with a healthy Rodgers. Despite the teams familiarity with each other, the offensive stars have mostly gotten their way so it will be up to the defenses or even special teams to make the key plays to separate these squads.
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Green Bay shook off the opening loss at Seattle with a 31-24 win against the Jets last week but had to dig deep after falling behind 21-3. The Packers have played eight quarters and have been soundly beaten in six of them. Rodgers has been played well as expected but the run game has not gotten on track with the Packers averaging just 80 yards on the ground. That has made consistent offense tough to come by and it doesnt look to get any easier as Detroit has allowed just 58 yards rushing on average so far. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are one of the best receiver tandems with the duo grabbing all four of Rodgers TD throws so far and they will be leaned upon again as the Pack will find more success against the Detroit secondary than against the strong front seven.
Detroit found things to be pretty easy against the Giants in the opener but laid an egg last week in a 24-7 loss at Carolina. The Panthers look to be pretty good so that loss might not be as bad as it seems right now but they wont get it done this week with a similar effort. Joique Bell and Reggie Bush have been sub-par on the ground but make up for it as pass receivers with 15 total catches between them. They should find some running lanes against a Packers defense that is allowing 176 rushing yards through two games and they will continue to be coverage mismatches against Packer linebackers. Stafford and Calvin Johnson are in mid-season form for the most part and the addition of Golden Tate (11 catches, 150 yards) makes for another difficult coverage task. Green Bay hasnt made the splash plays on defense with only three sacks and one interception so far so Detroit shouldnt have too many problems moving the ball on schedule and scoring points.
The biggest injury note comes from Green Bay as T Bryan Bulaga is day-to-day with a sprained MCL. The Packer line desperately needs him back in both the run and the pass schemes as it is clear the backups are just warm bodies. DB Micah Hyde is also day-to-day with a knee and that could hurt the over the top coverage options for the Packers if he is out. Given the passing prowess of Rodgers, it should be pointed out the Detroit safeties James Ihedigbo and Don Carey are questionable with knee issues and DB Nevin Lawson is out for the year with a foot injury.
It seems pretty clear that both offenses will have success come Sunday so maybe the easiest bet is to take the over. I do think the line moves through the week so wait if you want to potentially grab the Lions as a home dog but Im taking them to win this one straight up so the one point there essentially irrelevant. The Packers cant feel good about last weeks performance and the Lions are a step-up from the Jets and this one isnt in Lambeau. There is no one on the Packers that can effectively cover Bell and Bush out of the backfield and Stafford could dink and dunk all day should the Green Bay corners find a way to bottle up Megatron. There wont be much room for Eddie Lacy to get going and Detroit has the better playmakers on defense with Ndamukong Suh, Ziggy Ansah and DeAndre Levy all looking good so far. The Packers will get their points but the Lions will too and while this one may be close, like so many division games are, it will be Detroit that prevails by a 33-30 final.
Evergreen’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: DETROIT