Washington Redskins at Green Bay Packers: 2019 Week 14 NFL Pick

Washington Redskins (3-9) at Green Bay Packers (9-3)

The Packers have been close to an auto-bet at home with Aaron Rodgers under center, going 42-21 ATS since 2011 in games that Rodgers starts and finishes. Unfortunately, we’re not getting good line value with them at home this week. The Packers are 9-3, but 5 of their wins were decided by a touchdown or less, as opposed to just 1 of their losses, and they’ve benefitted from a +11 turnover margin, which tends to be very unpredictable on a week-to-week basis.

In terms of first down rate differential, the Packers rank just 16th at +0.52% and have been even worse in recent weeks, ranking 22nd since week 7 at -0.76%. The Redskins are one of the worst teams in the league, ranking 31st in first down rate differential at -7.07%, but I still only have this line calculated at Green Bay -11.5. I’m still taking Green Bay -13 for pick ‘em purposes because of the Packers’ incredible homefield advantage, but I’m not confident in this one at all. 

Green Bay Packers 27 Washington Redskins 13

Pick against the spread: Green Bay -13

Confidence: None

Green Bay Packers at New York Giants: 2019 Week 13 NFL Pick

Green Bay Packers (8-3) at New York Giants (2-9)

The Packers were blown out last week in San Francisco in embarrassing fashion, losing by a final score of 37-8 in a game in which they lost the first down rate battle by a whopping 15.87%. Ordinarily, that loss would put the Packers in a good betting spot this week, as they are 35-21 ATS off of a loss with Aaron Rodgers under center. However, the Packers seem to be overrated this week, even after last week’s loss.

The Packers are 8-3 and have Aaron Rodgers so people are going to want to bet on them, but they have more problems than the general public realizes. Their 8-3 record has been boosted by a 5-1 record in games decided by 8 points or fewer and their 8 wins have come by a combined 67 points, while their 3 losses have come by a combined 51 points, giving them a pretty underwhelming point differential of +16. 

That’s despite the fact that the Packers have benefited significantly from turnover margins (5th in the NFL on the season at +8), which are very unpredictable on a week-to-week basis. In terms of first down rate differential, the Packers are dead even at 0.00% and have been even worse in recent weeks, with a -2.22% point differential since week 7 that ranks 23rd in the NFL over that time period. The Giants are just 2-9, but they’ve actually been slightly better in that metric over that time frame, ranking 21st at -1.79%. Overall, the Giants rank 23rd in first down rate differential at -2.29% on the season, struggling on the scoreboard primarily because of a -11 turnover margin that ranks 3rd worst in the NFL.

That being said, it’s hard to get excited about betting the Giants this week because they’re in a tough spot. Not only will the Packers likely be totally focused for this game after a loss last week, but they don’t have any upcoming distractions on deck, with a home game against the Redskins up next on the schedule, a game in which they are currently 14.5-point favorites on the early line. The Giants, meanwhile, have a big rivalry game against the Eagles in Philadelphia on deck, a game in which they are currently 8-point underdogs on the early line. 

Favorites of 6+ are 148-94 ATS since 2012 before being favorites of 6+ again the following week, while underdogs of 6+ are 84-132 ATS since 2012 before being underdogs of 6+ again the following week. Combining the two, underdogs of 6+ are 11-49 ATS since 2012 before being underdogs of 6+ again the following week when their opponent will be favorites of 6+ again the following week. It’s tough for an inferior team to compete with a superior team with another tough game on deck, especially when the superior team has another relatively easy game on deck. 

The Giants also are missing a pair of key players in their receiving corps, wide receiver Golden Tate and tight end Evan Engram, although they haven’t had a full strength receiving corps all year, so that’s not anything new. Even without those two players, I still have this line calculated at Green Bay -3.5, but I would need the full touchdown with the Giants to wager on them in a tough spot. This is a low confidence pick for now, but I’ll probably have an update tomorrow morning if the line moves.

Final Update: This line has moved to +7 in most places, but Bryan Bulaga is unexpectedly active for the Packers this week after being expected to miss a couple weeks with a knee injury. He may not be 100% and could be at risk of an in game injury setback, but I don’t want to bet on a team in a bad spot with a comparably worse injury situation, so I’m leaving this at a low confidence pick.

Green Bay Packers 24 New York Giants 20

Pick against the spread: NY Giants +7

Confidence: Low

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers: 2019 Week 12 NFL Pick

Green Bay Packers (8-2) at San Francisco 49ers (9-1)

This is one of the biggest regular season games of the year, with the 8-2 Packers going to San Francisco to take on the 9-1 49ers in a game that could decide the #1 seed in the NFC. Despite their similarly impressive records, the 49ers have statistically been the much better team this season, ranking 1st in first down rate differential at +8.58%, while the Packers rank 15th at +1.51%.  The Packers have had five wins by 8 points or fewer and have just a +45 point differential with a +9 turnover margin, while the 49ers have a +140 point differential with a +5 turnover margin. 

Turnover margins are unpredictable on a week-to-week basis, so it’s very notable that the 49ers have been much more impressive on the scoreboard than the Packers despite having less help from turnover margins. However, the Packers have faced a much tougher schedule, as they have faced the third toughest schedule in terms of DVOA, while the 49ers have faced the third easiest. When you adjust for schedule, the statistical gap between these two teams decreases significantly. 

The 49ers also come into this game very banged up. They’re tentatively expected to get top receiving threat George Kittle back from a two-game absence, but he’s expected to be less than 100%, as are wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Deebo Samuel, their second and third best pass catchers. They also remain without franchise left tackle Joe Staley, their most explosive running back Matt Breida, impressive rotational defensive end Ronald Blair, top linebacker Kwon Alexander, and starting cornerback Akhello Witherspoon, who will be joined on the sideline this week by dominant edge rusher Dee Ford. Meanwhile, the Packers are relatively healthy right now. 

As a result of all the 49ers’ injuries, the Packers actually have a pretty significant edge in my roster rankings, despite the 49ers having a significant edge in first down rate differential. The Packers are also in a much better spot, with only a trip to New York to play the Giants on deck, while the 49ers have another tough game in Baltimore. Underdogs are 71-36 ATS since 2016 before being favorites when their opponents will next be underdogs. We’re not getting a ton of line value with the Packers at +3, as I have this line calculated at San Francisco -1.5, but they’re worth a bet in a good spot.

Green Bay Packers 27 San Francisco 49ers 26 Upset Pick +135

Pick against the spread: Green Bay +3

Confidence: Medium

Carolina Panthers at Green Bay Packers: 2019 Week 10 NFL Pick

Carolina Panthers (5-3) at Green Bay Packers (7-2)

The Packers surprisingly lost to the Chargers last week, but the Chargers were healthier in that game than they’ve been all season, so it’s not a huge surprise the Packers had trouble with a team that was one of the better teams in the league a year ago. The Packers are still well positioned in the NFC at 7-2 and are still one of my top ranked teams. They also tend to do well off of a loss in the Aaron Rodgers era, going 34-21 ATS off of a loss with Rodgers under center since his first season as a starter in 2008. 

The Packers also head home this week, where they are 41-21 ATS since 2011 in games Rodgers starts and finishes. They face a Panthers team that is 5-3 and that has lost just once in 6 games since inserting backup quarterback Kyle Allen into the lineup for an injured Cam Newton, but that loss came by 38, while some of their wins have been close games that could have gone either way. On the season, they have just a +5 point differential, despite benefitting from a +6 turnover margin that ranks 5th in the NFL. Turnover margins tend to be inconsistent on a week-to-week basis and the Panthers rank just 21st in the league with a -2.52% first down rate differential. That lines up with my roster rankings, which have them 18th.

I have this line calculated at Green Bay -10, giving us a ton of line value with the Packers as 5-point favorites. The line has shifted a point and a half from the early line last week as a result of the Packers’ loss, but even at -6.5 the Packers would have been an enticing bet. I like their chances of bouncing back at home a lot, against an overrated opponent, especially with a bye on deck. Home favorites of 6+ are 49-17 ATS since 2002 before a bye and, while the Packers aren’t favored by that many points, they should be, so the logic still holds. They should be focused and take care of business without any upcoming distractions. This would be my Pick of the Week if the Packers didn’t have a pair of banged up key defensive backs (Jaire Alexander and Adrian Amos), but both seem likely to play through their injuries and the Packers are otherwise healthy.

Green Bay Packers 30 Carolina Panthers 20

Pick against the spread: Green Bay -5

Confidence: High

Green Bay Packers at Los Angeles Chargers: 2019 Week 9 NFL Pick

Green Bay Packers (7-1) at Los Angeles Chargers (3-5)

The Chargers have gotten off to a disappointing 3-5 start, a year after going 12-4, but all five of their losses were decided by a touchdown or less and they are getting healthier as the season has gone on. They’ve already gotten back tight end Hunter Henry (who ranks first in the NFL in yards per game by a tight end), talented defensive end Melvin Ingram, and top offensive lineman Russell Okung, who is likely to pull a full set of snaps this week after being limited in his return last week. They rank 12th in my roster rankings and could go on a surprise run down the stretch.

Unfortunately, they are only 3.5-point home underdogs here against the Packers. Not only are the Packers one of the top teams in the league, but the Chargers have next to no homefield advantage in Los Angeles (6-12-1 ATS since moving there, as opposed to 14-6-2 ATS on the road) due to their inability to draw home fans. The Packers are one of the most popular teams in the country, so I imagine the vast majority of fans at this game will be rooting for the road team. With the Chargers lack of homefield advantage taken into account, I have this line calculated at Green Bay -4.5, so, while we’re not getting much line value with the Packers at -3.5, they seem like the right side.

Green Bay Packers 31 Los Angeles Chargers 27

Pick against the spread: Green Bay -3.5

Confidence: None

Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs: 2019 Week 8 NFL Pick

Green Bay Packers (6-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (5-2)

Chiefs fans breathed a collective sigh of relief when they found out that what looked like a potential season ending knee injury for Patrick Mahomes turned out to be relatively minor, with Mahomes even returning to practice in limited fashion this week. It sounds like Mahomes has a good shot to return next week, about two and a half calendar weeks after the initial injury, and the time off will give Mahomes an opportunity to rest the sprained ankle that was limiting him before the knee injury, but in the meantime the Chiefs will really miss their franchise quarterback in a tough home matchup with the Green Bay Packers.

Mahomes is also far from the Chiefs’ only player that is out with injury. While the Chiefs do get wide receiver Sammy Watkins back from a two-game absence, they are still without starting left tackle Eric Fisher, starting left guard Andrew Wylie, top defensive player Chris Jones, top cornerback Kendall Fuller, and add starting defensive end Frank Clark to the injured list this week. In their current state, I have the Chiefs ranked 31st in my roster rankings, only ahead of the Dolphins, and yet they are just 4-point home underdogs against the Packers.

This line is probably only at 4 because the Chiefs beat the Broncos 30-6 last week even with Mahomes getting hurt in the second quarter, but it seems to forget that the Chiefs lost at home to the Colts and Texans and almost lost to the Lions even with Mahomes before that game in Denver. Even in that game in Denver, the Chiefs barely won the first down rate battle by 2.59%, with the Broncos essentially handing the Chiefs 20 points on four plays: a fumble recovery touchdown, a busted coverage long passing touchdown, an ill-advised fake punt, and a long punt return allowed. I’m not convinced at all from that performance that the Chiefs as they currently are stand any chance against a top level team like Green Bay. I have this line calculated at Green Bay -10, so I love the value we’re getting at -4. This is my Pick of the Week.

Green Bay Packers 27 Kansas City Chiefs 16

Pick against the spread: Green Bay -4

Confidence: Pick of the Week

Oakland Raiders at Green Bay Packers: 2019 Week 7 NFL Pick

Oakland Raiders (3-2) at Green Bay Packers (5-1)

The Raiders won back-to-back games before their week 6 bye and now seem to be overrated as a result. Those wins came against a banged up Colts team and a Bears team that hasn’t been nearly as good this season as last season. Those teams rank 20th and 23rd respectively in first down rate differential and the Raiders won those games by a combined 10 points. Including a 8-point week 1 home win over the mediocre Broncos, the Raiders’ 3 wins have come by a combined 18 points this season, while their two losses to the Vikings and Chiefs came by a combined 38 points, giving them a -20 point differential that is worst among teams with a winning record. In terms of first down rate differential, they rank just 21st at -1.68%.

Despite that, they are just 4.5-point road underdogs in Green Bay, against a 5-1 Packers team that is among the best in the NFL. Their win over the Lions’ last week was controversial because of some bad calls on Detroit, but they could have still won that game even without those calls, despite gifting the Lions a trio of turnovers. Turnover margin tends to be inconsistent on a week-to-week basis and they won the first down rate battle convincingly (+9.33%) over a solid Detroit team. They failed to cover, winning by 1 as 4-point home favorites, but are still 40-21 ATS at home since 2011 in games Aaron Rodgers starts and finishes. 

The Packers have a banged up receiving corps with Davante Adams, Geronimo Allison, and possibly Marquez Valdes-Scantling set to miss this game, but wide receiver is a big concern for the Raiders as well, who are without top wide receiver Tyrell Williams and lack depth behind him at the position. The Raiders are also likely to be without right tackle Trent Brown and, with right guard Gabe Jackson likely a week away from returning after being limited in practice all week, they are likely to be without the entire right side of their offensive line. I have this line calculated at Green Bay -10 and I expect this game to be similar to the Raiders’ big losses to the Vikings and Chiefs, so we’re getting great value with Green Bay at -4.5. This is my Pick of the Week.

Green Bay Packers 27 Oakland Raiders 17

Pick against the spread: Green Bay -4.5

Confidence: Pick of the Week