Green Bay Packers vs. New Orleans Saints Pick ATS
Green Bay Packers (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) v. New Orleans Saints (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
NFL Week 1
When: Sunday, September 12 at 4:25p ET
Where: TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, FL
Point Spread: GB -3.5/NO +3.5 (MyBookie - Sign up through the link on our review page and use bonus code PREDICT100 and they’ll give you a 100% bonus on your deposit of $50 to $300!)
Over/Under Total: 50
The 2021 NFL season is ready to kick off this week, and there are several key matchups on the Week 1 slate. Everyone has their eyes on Tampa Bay’s chances to repeat as champions, but Green Bay and New Orleans are among the top contenders in the NFC, and they will square off in Jacksonville after Hurricane Ida forced the game out of The Superdome. The Packers are one of the most popular teams outside of their own region, so the neutral site may be far from neutral as many Green Bay fans flock to other stadiums as it remains nearly impossible to get into Lambeau without season tickets.
Same Old v. A New Era
Green Bay has been one of the most consistent teams for years now, and much of that is due to Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is back after some tense moments in the offseason, and the three-time MVP is looking to get to the NFC Championship for the third straight season. Drew Brees was the starting QB in New Orleans since 2006, but it is now Jameis Winston’s team, and the former #1 overall draft pick is looking to start the second chapter of his NFL career. Winston never made the playoffs with the Buccaneers, but he is now piloting a franchise that is a frequent playoff participant, including each of the last four seasons. These teams did meet last season, with Green Bay notching a 37-30 win. Davante Adams and Michael Thomas missed that contest due to injury, but it didn’t hurt the scoring pace, and while Adams will be on the field this weekend, Thomas will not as he is on the PUP list with a bad ankle.
Green Bay has been a fast-starting team with a 7-1 mark against the spread in their last eight September contests with a 5-1 ATS record in the previous six season openers. New Orleans is on the other side of that trend, going 1-6 ATS in their last seven Week 1 games, but they are 7-2 against the spread in the last nine against a conference foe. The OVER is 4-0 in the previous four GB games overall and 11-5 in the last 16 against an NFC opponent. The UNDER has hit in eight of the previous eleven Saints games overall.
The 2019 season saw Green Bay winning close games with some very pedestrian offensive numbers, but 2020 saw the Packers inside the top-10 in both rushing and passing yards while ranking first in points scored at 31.8 per game. Efficiency was high, with GB committing the fewest turnovers in the league. Aaron Jones returns as the team’s leading rusher from the last three seasons, with A.J. Dillon taking over the backup role. That will give Green Bay a good 1-2 punch on the ground, but the pass is likely where the team will shine the most. Rodgers threw for 48 touchdowns last season, and while that level of production isn’t likely again, he has his top-5 targets back from last season, with that group accounting for 40 scores. Amari Rodgers was a third-round draft pick, and the team brought back longtime Packer Randall Cobb to give Green Bay one the deepest WR groups in the league.
Monday Night Football: Ravens vs. Raiders Pick ATS
After a year as a backup, Jameis Winston won the starting QB job with his performance in the preseason. Taysom Hill will have his package of plays and be on the field as a playmaker, but the fact that Hill is not the gameday backup suggests that Winston is going to get a long leash. Winston’s last year as a starter saw him lead the league in interceptions, but a year under Drew Brees should prove a positive influence in the decision-making department. Alvin Kamara led the team with 21 total touchdowns, and he will again be the focal point for this offense, with Michael Thomas slated to miss a significant portion of the early season. Marquez Callaway built a nice connection with Winston in camp, but he is going to draw Jaire Alexander this week with Tre’Quan Smith potentially out with a bad hamstring. TE Adam Trautman is doubtful, leaving Jared Cook as the only other proven pass catcher for this weekend. Winston is probably happy to be on the field, but he is working with a rather bare cupboard in his first start.
Don’t Expect a Classic
I’m excited to see the game, but I’m not sure if it will be a great product given how sloppy some openers can be and the volume of key injuries on both sides. Green Bay will be without T David Bakhtiari and potentially without LB Za’Darius Smith. Bakhtiari is the best lineman on the team after C Corey Linsley departed via free agency. Rodgers could be on the move with Cam Jordan looking to add to his 23 sacks over the last two seasons. New Orleans will need that pass rush to get home, considering how beat up the secondary is. Marshon Lattimore was added to the injury report on Wednesday alongside Ken Crawley, who hasn’t practiced this week due to a hamstring issue. The Saints traded for DB Bradley Roby to bolster the secondary, but Roby is suspended and will miss Week 1. Both teams have areas of obvious concern, but New Orleans looks to have fewer viable solutions.
Take Green Bay to Cover
Don’t be fooled into going away from the crowd on this one. Green Bay is one of the squarest bets in any week, so it is no surprise to see them getting nearly 70% of the action through Wednesday evening. Not having a true home crowd is more damaging to New Orleans than most teams, and that will help Green Bay cash in on every slight advantage they have. Davante Adams might be held in check with a good game plan, but there are enough secondary playmakers in guys like Marques Valdez-Scantling, Allen Lazard, and Robert Tonyan for Rodgers to use against this limited secondary. Throw in a very fresh Jones-Dillon combo, and Green Bay has playmakers to get 30+ points on the board. I can’t say the same for New Orleans, and Alvin Kamara can’t do it all himself. Green Bay has won both its openers under Matt LaFleur and 11 of the last 14 overall. They jump out quick while Winston fights some jitters and don’t look back en route to a 33-21 win and cover.
Ted Walker’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Green Bay. Spice up your NFL season by entering a 200K Survivor Pool or even better, the 500K Pick 5 Contest at BetOnline! Winner grabs 200K! Enough to pay your damn house off!