Criticize all you want how they’ve done it, but the Green Bay Packers haven’t done much else this season other than win football games.
The Packers (12-3) can guarantee themselves a first-round bye with a win Sunday afternoon at the Detroit Lions (3-11-1) and have an opportunity to make one final statement before the playoffs with a complete sweep of all three of their NFC North rivals, but the Lions likely haven’t forgotten how close they came to handing them a setback in the first half of the season. It took a comeback effort from Aaron Rodgers to keep the Lions from winning at Lambeau Field.
Here’s a closer look at the Week 17 matchup between NFC North in Detroit along with background, stats and advice on where to put your money.
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Packers vs. Lions Game Details
Date: Sunday, December 29
Time: Noon CT
Location: Ford Field (Detroit)
Spread: Packers -12.5
*All odds are courtesy of OddsShark.
The opening odds had the Packers at 9.5-point favorites, but the stakes and general ineptitude of the Lions has the majority of popular books giving the Packers no fewer than 12 points coming into the weekend, according to VegasInsider.com. The spread, though, hasn’t totally swayed bettors with just 61 percent of public bets taking the Packers, according to ActionNetwork.com.
The total has also ticked upward since it opened at 41.5, which isn’t unwise when you consider the Lions have allowed at least 20 points in four straight games. Still, bettors like the under slightly more with 54 percent of public bets counting on a low-scoring game.
- Green Bay is 10-5 ATS in its last 15 games
- Detroit is 1-9 ATS in its last 10 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Green Bay’s last 7 games
- Detroit is 0-6 SU in its last 6 games against an NFC opponent
- Green Bay is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games against Detroit
- The total has gone OVER in 6 of Detroit’s last 8 games against Green Bay
*All trends are courtesy of OddsShark.
Analysis & Picks
The Packers have repeatedly said they don’t mind winning games in an ugly fashion so long as the wins keep coming, but it would do some good for their prestige heading into the playoffs to put a thumping on a conference opponent that, frankly, deserves to be significant underdogs. That means an encore performance for the defense, which restrained and flustered Minnesota in Week 15, and the offense establishing a rhythm quickly enough to snatch an early lead.
Even if Aaron Rodgers comes out blazing for a touchdown pass or two, the Packers’ primary focus should be on getting the ball to running back Aaron Jones and keeping up the momentum he has gained from consecutive strong performances down the stretch. The dynamic running back is just 16 yards short of his first career 1,000-yard season and currently leads the NFL with 19 touchdowns after running for two in each of his last two games.
The Lions restrained Jones for just 47 yards on 11 carries on the first go-round just a week after he had scored four touchdowns against Dallas, but they don’t have a great reputation otherwise when it comes to stopping the run with 115.7 rushing yards allowed per game. In general, the Lions have struggled on defense this season as one of the worst all-around units in the NFL. They are giving up 398.3 total yards per game (29th) and 26.7 points (27th) and have a league-low six interceptions. Not good optics against Rodgers, who has thrown just three picks all year.
The trick here, though, is determining whether to buy into the Packers playing a complete, precise game against the Lions. Winning is one thing, but covering such a large spread is another. In this instance, I’m taking the Packers to punctuate the regular season with an exclamation point and roll past the Lions with steady offense and a few takeaways.
Pick: Packers -12.5
Prediction: Packers 27, Detroit 10