The Minnesota Vikings-Green Bay Packers rivalry hasn’t seen a spread like this in three decades.
With the playing-for-pride Packers shutting down franchise QB Aaron Rodgers for the season, the Vikings are listed as 9-point road favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com against Green Bay with a 40-point total in a Saturday matchup on the NFL Week 16 schedule.
According to the OddsShark NFL Database, this is the first time since 2000 the Vikings have gone into Green Bay as the favorite. It is also the most points the Packers have been spotted for a home game since 1988.
Minnesota is 6-3 straight-up and 5-4 against the spread over their last nine games as a road favorite. Green Bay, with Brett Hundley back as the starting quarterback, are 1-6 SU and 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven games as a home underdog.
With a forecast high of 20 degrees, the weather will be a factor for both offenses, but the Vikings, who are 11-3 SU and 10-4 ATS, don’t fit the stereotype of dome teams. Many members of QB Case Keenum’s complement of receivers – including WR Stefon Diggs, WR Adam Thielen, RB Jerick McKinnon and TE Kyle Rudolph – were around when Minnesota played in the elements in 2015.
Depending on how much of an equalization the conditions become, Keenum and Co. should have a matchup edge since the Packers give up 7.8 yards per pass, fourth-worst in the NFL.
The Vikings, if LT Riley Rieff (ankle) returns, should have their entire offensive line whole again. Minnesota has a good-but-great ground game with Latavius Murray and McKinnon and the Packers are limiting teams to just 4.0 yards per rush, ninth in the NFL.
The prospects for the Packers, who are 7-7 SU and ATS, getting a shot at the cover or the outright victory likely come down to the production of Hundley and the protection of his offensive line. Instability with the latter is why Green Bay has allowed way too many sacks (46) this season, but they are relatively healthy.
With Davante Adams in the concussion protocol, Green Bay will likely be counting on the WR trio of Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and Geronimo Allison to find slews of space against Minnesota’s second-ranked defense, whose 5.9 yards per pass allowed is also second in the NFL.
Green Bay, which is 4-2 ATS in its last six games, has an above-average rushing attack with the Jamaal Williams-Aaron Jones tandem. Whether they get to use it against the Vikings, whose 3.7 yards allowed per rush is also second in the NFL, depends on not falling behind and containing Minnesota early.
Bettors should keep an eye on the total as kickoff approaches. The over is 19-14-3 in 36 NFL games this season that had a closing total of less than 40.
The total has gone over in four of the Vikings’ last five games as road favorites. The closing totals in those games ranged between 38.0 and 40.5 – similar to the total for this matchup. The total has gone over in the Packers’ last six games in December.
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