Minnesota Vikings (11-3) at Green Bay Packers (7-7)
The Packers squeaked out overtime victories over a pair of bad teams, the Buccaneers and Browns, to stay alive in the playoff race with Aaron Rodgers returning to action week 15. Unfortunately for the Packers, the schedule got tougher and Rodgers was not 100% in his return, as the Packers fell to the Panthers 31-24, ending their playoff hopes. Now with the season essentially over, the Packers have shut down Rodgers for the season and will turn back to backup Brett Hundley for the final 2 games of the season.
Rodgers isn’t the only one that is going to be missing from action in this one, as wide receiver Davante Adams is out with a concussion, while outside linebackers Nick Perry and Clay Matthews and right guard Jahri Evans are likely out after missing practice all week. The Vikings, meanwhile, have no notable injuries and have their offensive line back together healthy for the first time since week 8, with left tackle Riley Reiff, right tackle Mike Remmers, and center Pat Elflein all healthy after missing time in recent weeks.
Unfortunately, this line has swung 12 points since Minnesota was 3-point underdogs on the early line last week, so we’ve lost all line value with the Vikings. Even with all of the injuries, I have this line calculated at Minnesota -6.5. It’s a shame because I love the spot the Vikings are in. The Packers’ season is over and they have another tough divisional game next week in Detroit. The Vikings, meanwhile, need every win they can get as they compete for the #1 seed in the NFC and have another easy divisional game on deck, with the Bears coming to town.
Favorites of 6+ are 72-43 ATS since 2014 before being favorites of 6+ again, while underdogs of 6+ are 39-60 ATS over that same time period before being underdogs of 6+ again. Combining the two, favorites of 6+ are 23-7 ATS since 2014 before being favorites of 6+ again, when their opponent will next be underdogs of 6+ again. Superior teams tend to take care of business with another easy game on deck, especially if their inferior opponent has another tough game on deck to potentially be a distraction. I wish we were getting a better line, but the Vikings should be the right choice for pick ‘em pool purposes.
Minnesota Vikings 24 Green Bay Packers 13
Pick against the spread: Minnesota -9