Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Green Bay Packers (2-1 SU, 3-0 ATS) vs. Minnesota Vikings (3-0 SU,
2-1 ATS), 8:20 p.m. EST, Monday, October 5th, 2009, Hubert Humphrey
Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minn., TV: ESPN

by Badger of

Point Spread: Packers +3.5/Vikings -3.5
Over/Under: 46

Finally, the game the rival states of Minnesota and Wisconsin have
been waiting for since the day quarterback Brett Favre signed with
the Minnesota Vikings is upon us, when the 3-0 Vikings host the 2-1
Green Bay Packers in a crucial NFC North showdown in the Metrodome on
ESPNs Monday Night Football.

By now if youre not familiar with the entire Favre saga and how its
unfolded up to this point, then you definitely should not be betting
on the NFL. In order to save time, lets just say there are literally
hundreds of subplots and story lines in this game that the boys in
the MNF booth will have at their fingertips to fill up airtime. And
Im sure well see and hear them all, too.

For the first time this season the Vikings really needed Favre to put
the team on his shoulders last weekend, and he didnt disappoint
firing a 32-yard touchdown pass to Greg Lewis with two seconds left
in the game to help to Vikings steal one back from the 49ers, 27-24.

The Packers come into the Monday night game fresh off of a 36-17
victory over the St. Louis Rams last Sunday, but dont be deceived by
the lopsided score because the Packers still have some issues.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is still running for his life since the
Packers offensive line is in shambles, but he did throw for two
scores and ran another one in himself to lead the Pack past the Rams.

The point spread for the primetime showdown opened with the Vikings
listed as modest 3.5-point favorites. For the most part it has held
through the early steam at the window, but you can find a few sportsbooks that have moved the hook up or down, so you can
find the Vikings at minus-3 to minus-4 depending on where you wager.

The over/under total opened at 47 at the start of the week, and just
like the point spread, the number has moved up or down a half-point
to 46.5 or 47.5 depending on where you book your bets.

As mentioned, the Vikings havent needed Favre to be very Favre-like
yet this season because of the running of Adrian Peterson. Peterson
ran all over two patsies in the first few weeks of the season
(Detroit and Cleveland), but last week against a solid San Francisco
defense he was held to 85 yards as the Viking failed to rush for over
100 yards as a team for the first time this season. Favre picked up
the slack, throwing for over 300 yards and tossing two scores in the
big win.

Rodgers meanwhile has been a marked man, and not because hes still
trying to dodge the comparisons to Favre. The Packers offensive line
has given up 12 sacks so far, including two last week against the
Rams weak d-line while starting left tackle Chad Clifton missed the
game with a high-ankle sprain.

The Packers offense still seems committed to running the ball though,
and they had their best game of the year last weekend (152 yards
total), but once again it was against the Rams. Running back Ryan
has yet to run for 100 yards in a game this season and the unit
as a whole is struggling to sustain drives, especially early in the
game. The lone bright spot is that the Packers are still 6th in the
league in scoring (27 ppg), so despite the struggles the offense is
still dangerous.

Defensively this game will hinge on which team has better success
stopping the run. The Vikings held the 49ers to just 58 yards last
weekend and still have Pat and Kevin Williams inside to eat up space.
The Packers have not done a good job against the run, allowing 128.7
yards on the ground per game so far (23rd) against teams like
Cincinnati (Cedric Benson) and the Rams (Steven Jackson).

The Packers had won five straight games in the head-to-head series
until last November when the Vikings held serve in the Metrodome,
28-27, but Packers kicker Mason Crosby missed a 50-yard field goal as
time expired otherwise it might have been six in a row.


The Packers have owned the series at the window, covering the spread
in four straight games and in five of the last six overall, including
three straight in the Metrodome. In fact, the Packers own a rock-
solid 7-1 ATS record in their last eight games against an NFC North
rival. The Vikings are 2-6 ATS in their last eight against the NFC

There are a few other betting trends in the head-to-head series that
are significant. The road team in the series is 11-3 ATS in the last
14 games. The over has also been a historically strong play, going
3-1 in the last four overall and 7-1-1 in the last nine games played
in the Metrodome.

Badgers Pick: The hype machine will be overheating in this game,
and Im afraid the game might not live up to it. Clifton might make
it back this week due to the extra few off days, but the Packers O-
line will still have trouble with the Vikings D-line. Both
quarterbacks will be under big pressure to outperform the other as
well. Either way, I see an ugly game that the Vikings cover with a
late touchdown. Take Minnesota minus the 3.5 points.