Green Bay Packers NFL Betting Preview: Pack Could Go Tumbling Back
Posted on: August 13, 2020, 09:48h.
Last updated on: August 14, 2020, 08:49h.
What goes up must come down. At least that’s the expectation from oddsmakers after a surprisingly strong season for the Green Bay Packers under first-year coach Matt LaFleur.
The Packers surged from 6-9-1 in 2018 to 13-3 in 2019. They reached the NFC Championship Game but got clobbered for the second time that season by the San Francisco 49ers, 37-20.
Oddsmakers don’t see a repeat, let alone the Packers taking the next step and reaching their first Super Bowl since 2010. William Hill, for instance, has Green Bay 10th in its Super Bowl rankings at plus-2,500.
Over/Under: 9 Wins
The reason for the pessimism is obvious. After getting within a step of the Super Bowl, general manager Brian Gutekunst used his first two draft picks on players who might not provide much immediate help. First-round quarterback Jordan Love will watch and learn behind Aaron Rodgers, and second-round running back AJ Dillon joins a backfield that includes Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams.
Like most sportsbooks, FanDuel established the over/under on Green Bay at nine wins (+120 for the over; -140 for the under). Green Bay rolled to the NFC North title last year. William Hill gives the nod to the Packers (+140) over the rival Vikings (+150) to win the division. PointsBet, on the other hand, puts the Packers (+175) behind the Vikings (+150).
The team’s weakest position was receiver. But Gutekunst’s only major addition, veteran Devin Funchess, opted out because of COVID-19 concerns. Green Bay was a hard-to-duplicate 8-1 in games decided by one score.
I think the Packers were incredibly lucky to have the record that they did last year,” said John Sheeran, the director of trading for FanDuel Sportsbook, to Casino.org. “I didn’t think they were very good, if I’m honest.
“There were concerns with Aaron Rodgers’ accuracy, which I’d never really seen from him before,” Sheeran continued. “They didn’t do well in the draft. It’s blatantly obvious he was hoping they would get some talent around him to push forward, and they absolutely didn’t do that.”
On the other hand, there’s reason to be bullish. While the 36-year-old Rodgers wasn’t as dominant as past seasons, he’s coming off only the second season in NFL history of 4,000-plus yards, 25-plus touchdowns, and five or fewer interceptions. The only other such season? Rodgers in 2018.
He’s flanked by two premier players. Jones led the NFL in rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns last season, and receiver Davante Adams leads the NFL with 40 receiving touchdowns over the past four seasons. The defense, with Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith combining for 25.5 sacks, finished ninth in points allowed.
Leader of the Pack
Rodgers, a two-time MVP and perennial front-runner for the award, is 11th in MGM’s MVP odds at +3,000. That’s not only well behind Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes (+400), Seattle’s Russell Wilson (+600), and reigning MVP Lamar Jackson of Baltimore (+700), but also trailing second-year Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray (+2,500) and new New England quarterback Cam Newton (+2,500) as well.
I’m concerned about what the season looks like for Rodgers,” Sheeran told Casino.org. “If they were to have a bad start, would LaFleur go with Jordan Love earlier than you might expect?”
Rodgers doesn’t have to do it alone, though. Jones, with an over/under of 1,325.5 total yards, according to DraftKings Sportsbook, is actually ahead of Rodgers on MGM’s Offensive Player of the Year board. DraftKings lists Adams fourth (+1,400) in the race to lead the league in receiving yards.
Editor’s Note: This is the first of 32 NFL team previews. The series continues this week with the rest of the NFC North.