Free Expert NFL Picks: Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 12/25/2014
If either Detroit or Green Bay wants to reach the Super Bowl -- the Lions never have -- then it better take Sunday's winner-take-all showdown at Lambeau Field for the NFC North title. The No. 1 overall seed is in play, although not likely, for the winner. The loser drops all the way to No. 6 and will open the playoffs next weekend at most likely Dallas.
Realistically, the Lions-Packers winner will be the NFC's No. 2. To get No. 1, Green Bay must have Seattle lose at home to St. Louis, which I don't see any chance of happening. The Lions would need a Seahawks loss and Cardinals loss at the 49ers. Obviously the beauty of getting the No. 2 is avoiding Seattle until potentially the NFC title game. Maybe the second seed gets lucky and the Seahawks are upset at home in the divisional round.
The Packers were preseason favorites to win the North for a fourth straight season. The Lions have never won the North. Their last division title was in 1993 when it was the Central. Certainly Detroit's Jim Caldwell deserves consideration for NFL Coach of the Year -- especially if the Lions win this game. At Bovada, the Packers are +260 second-favorites behind the Seahawks to win the NFC with the Lions at +1100.
This is the first time two teams with 11-plus wins will meet in the final game of the regular season to determine a division champion since 1993 (Cowboys at Giants)
Lions at Packers Betting Story Lines
Aaron Rodgers should sew up his second NFL MVP Award as long as he doesn't have an absolutely terrible game Sunday and Green Bay loses. Rodgers is the heavy -400 favorite at Bovada. The only guy likely to catch him is Houston's J.J. Watt (+500), and Watt probably would need five sacks Sunday against Jacksonville to tie the NFL single-season record to have a shot.
The Packers no doubt will be happy to be home after their offense sputtered the past two weeks on the road, a 21-13 loss in Buffalo in Week 15 and 20-3 win in Tampa Bay last Sunday. The Packers are 7-0 at home this season and have won their games at Lambeau Field by an average of 20.7 points. Rodgers played through the flu against the Bucs and strained a left calf early in the game. He still threw for 318 yards and a touchdown. However, that calf problem could really limit his mobility. Jordy Nelson continued his career year -- he was named to the Pro Bowl for the first time -- with nine catches for 113 yards and a TD vs. Tampa. He has 92 grabs on the year, and Bovada lists a prop on whether he gets to 100. "No" is -150 and "yes" +120. There's also a prop on who leads the NFL in TD passes, and Rodgers is a +1000 long shot. His 36 are three behind Peyton Manning, with Andrew Luck one back of Manning.
The Lions have won four straight games, although their offense has sputtered the past two weeks as well, a 16-14 home win over Minnesota in Week 15 and 20-14 victory in Chicago last week. Matthew Stafford has yet to prove he is a big-game quarterback, and he wasn't very good in either game. He had two picks and no TDs against Chicago and completed just 56.4 percent of his passes. That will not cut it to win this game. Stafford also will be playing without his long-time center Domonic Raiola, who was suspended for stomping on a Bears defensive player. This will be the first time in Stafford's pro career he won't have Raiola. Rookie Travis Swanson replaces him. Obviously keep an eye out for potential fumbles.
Green Bay's worst offensive game of the season was Week 3 at Detroit, a 19-7 loss. That dropped the Pack to 1-2 and led to Rodgers' now-famous: "R-E-L-A-X" quote. Rodgers threw for just 162 yards and the Packers had only 223 total yards. The Lions overcame three turnovers, all by Stafford (two picks and a fumble). Detroit had a defensive touchdown (Don Carey 40-yard return) and a safety. Green Bay was shut out the final three quarters. That was the game in which Lions starting linebacker Stephen Tulloch was lost for the season when he hurt his knee celebrating a sack.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers NFL Week 17 Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , Green Bay is a 9-point favorite (+105) with current alternate lines of 7.5 (-110) and 7 (-130). No 8 or 8.5 yet for some reason. The Packers are -355 on the moneyline and the Lions +295. The total is 47. Detroit is 7-8 against the spread (2-5 on road) and 4-11 "over/under" (0-7 on road). Green Bay is 8-6-1 ATS (5-1-1 at home) and 10-5 O/U (6-1 at home).
The Lions are 2-6 ATS in their past eight after a win. Detroit is 0-4 ATS in its past four road games vs. teams with a winning home record. The Packers are 4-0 ATS in their past four after allowing less than 15 points in their previous game. The under is 5-0 in Detroit's past five against teams with a winning record. The over is 8-1 in Green Bay's past nine after a win of 14 points or more. The home team has covered four straight in the series. The under is 4-1 in the past five.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers Expert Picks and Betting Predictions
The next win for Packers coach Mike McCarthy will be No. 100, including playoffs. He just passed Vince Lombardi for No. 2 on the team's all-time list. Green Bay has won a ridiculous 23 straight home games against Detroit, which includes a playoff game in 1994. The Pack are 14-3 overall vs. Detroit under McCarthy. Dating back to 2006, McCarthy's first season, Green Bay is 7-1 in Week 17 games, including 4-0 at home.
To no surprise it will be pretty cold, with temperatures in the low 20s for the 4:25 kickoff and then dropping into the teens. No chance of snow, sadly. Green Bay has been an offensive juggernaut at home, but this is by far the best defense to visit this season. The Packers probably won't be able to run the ball against that No. 1 Lions rush defense. If Green Bay scores 18 points it will have the largest differential in home/road scoring in NFL history (currently the Pack have scored 288 at home and 168 on the road for +120; record is +137 by 1985 Lions).
The streak reaches 24 straight. Give the 7-point alternate line and go under.
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