NFL Picks: Vikings vs. Packers Betting Odds and Football Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 10/24/2010
The circus arrives in Green Bay this weekend. Brett Favre makes just his second return to Lambeau field in enemy colors. Unlike last time, though, he comes into town struggling badly and under a dark cloud thanks to some allegedly horrible choices he made when he was with the Jets.
Favre would like nothing more, I’m sure, than to use this game to change the stories surrounding him - a huge performance here could at least temporarily deflect the attention away from his texting habits. He knows how to put up a big game in Lambeau. The thing he doesn’t have as much experience with, though, is dealing with injuries, and his elbow is a long way from good.
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As much as Favre and the Vikings need a win here, the Packers need one almost as badly. They were a popular Super Bowl pick heading into the season, but they have dropped three of their last four games and are in a rough spot.
Looking back at their recent games makes two things stand out clearly. First, this team has come close to respectability - they have lost their last two games in overtime, so they would be far more respectable in the standings if they were just a little better under pressure late in games. Second, this is a team that has has been hit incredibly hard by injuries. If they were at full strength then they would be very dangerous, but they are a long way from full strength.
Favre is the main event in this game, but Randy Moss is a great subplot. Simply put, Packers’ fans just don’t like Moss. Last time he was in Lambeau was in 2005, and he not only scored a TD that allowed the Vikings to beat the Packers in a Wild Card game, but he also pretended to moon the crowd after scoring. Green Bay fans will not welcome Moss back with open arms. Luckily, Moss is a guy who likes to be hated.
Vikings vs. Packers Betting Odds and Line Movement
The line opened with Green Bay favored by the key number of three. The popularity of Brett Favre for bettors hasn’t waned despite his recent issues - the Vikings have drawn two-thirds of all bets placed. That has forced the line down slightly - it is available at 2.5 in many places. The total opened at 44 or 44.5 depending upon the place and is showing stability at that level. It may move slightly, but not in any significant ways barring a major development between now and game time.
Vikings vs. Packers Betting Trends
The Vikings are 5-1 ATS in their last six against the NFC, and 5-5-1 ATS in their last seven against the NFC North. They are just 1-5 ATS in their last six on grass, though, and 1-5 ATS in their last six road games.
Green Bay is 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven against teams with losing records, and a very solid 17-8 ATS in their last 25 against the NFC North. They are 0-4 ATS the last four times they have been favored.
The ‘over’ is 5-0 the last five times Minnesota has been a road underdog of a field goal or less. Green Bay has gone ‘under’ the last four times they have been favored by the same margin.
Minnesota has covered the spread eight of the last 10 times these teams have met. The road team has covered 12 of the last 16 meetings, and the underdog has covered 17 of the last 22. The last four games have all gone ‘over’.
Vikings vs. Packers NFL Picks and Predictions
I’ll be frank - I hate this game. It would be a very interesting one if both teams were playing up to their potential. In fact, it would be one of the great games of the season. Both teams are so damaged, so inconsistent, and surrounded by such drama that it’s really hard to get a hold on what is likely to happen.
On one hand I am tempted to go with the Vikings - they finally played a solid game against a decent but very flawed Dallas team last week, and they have the tools on offense to test and exploit the challenged Green Bay defense.
On the other hand, I’m not at all convinced that Brett Favre can overcome his elbow problems and channel all of his off-field issues into a very positive performance here, so I am nervous to put a lot of faith into him. I also think that the surprisingly strong Green Bay pass rush will be able to abuse Favre. When Favre has been hit hard this year he hasn’t responded well.
The other factor working in favor of Green Bay is that some of the injury cloud is finally lifting. Al Harris and Atari Bigby are both expected to make the first start of the season in this game, and both will upgrade their positions. NFL sack leader Clay Matthews was out last week with a hamstring injury, but he is ready to go again as well. The boost that those returns will give the Packers along with the emotions of what will be a charged stadium and and an edge at quarterback mean I have to trust the Packers here.
Neither team has shown a lot on offense this year, and both quarterbacks are playing well below expectations. Given that I like going ‘under’ 44.5 a lot more than I like the ‘over’.
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