- Win Over/Under: 10 (-110/-110)
- Make NFC Playoffs: -180 (64%)
- Win NFC North: +175 (36%)
- Win NFC Championship: +600 (14%)
- Win Super Bowl: +1200 (8%)
The Action Network’s Projected Wins: 9.99 (4th)
The 2018 Packers will be a lot different than the version we saw close out 2017.
- Aaron Rodgers is back: The difference between Rodgers’ career winning percentage (.662) and that of backups Brett Hundley and DeShone Kizer combined (.125) somehow understates Rodgers’ importance to this team.
- Bryan Bulaga is back: Healthy tackles are important since Rodgers has the collarbone density of Tony Romo.
- Mike Pettine replaces Dom Capers: Pettine’s defenses have climbed an average of 12.3 spots in the rankings in points allowed in his first year with a new team, which would be good news for a unit that ranked 26th last season.
- Ted Thompson is gone: Thompson was like the guy in your fantasy league who has a really good draft and then never makes a roster move the rest of the season. New general manager Brian Gutekunst signed actual big-name free agents this offseason, like Jimmy Graham and Muhammad Wilkerson.
While this is a team with Super Bowl upside, I would stay away from their win total.
The average bettor grossly overrates the odds of a team hitting the over, and Packers bettors are one of the worst offenders.
Due to the popularity of Rodgers and the Packers in general, their win total tends to be inflated, and it’s resulted in the under hitting in four of the past five seasons.
You could argue that this season is a little different because their win total is 10 instead of the 10.5 or 11 it’s been in each of the past five years, but even if you had bet over 10 each year in that span, you would have still gone 1-2-2.
This hasn’t been quite the same Packers offense we remember for putting up video-game numbers early on in Rodgers’ career, especially over the past three seasons. From the start of his career through 2014, Rodgers averaged 8.22 yards per attempt. From 2015 on, he’s averaged 6.99.
If you’re going to have a 31-year-old, lumbering red-zone specialist, it’s better to have him at a position that doesn’t demand as much speed. So in that sense, swapping Jordy Nelson out for Graham is a positive. But the former Seahawks tight end averaged only 9.1 yards per catch in 2017, and he can’t stretch the field like Nelson did in his prime.
With Randall Cobb as the No. 2 wideout, a deep running back corps that features Jamaal Williams, Ty Montgomery and Aaron Jones and the ability to play two or even three tight ends at a time with Marcedes Lewis and Lance Kendricks, this should be an effective but not particularly explosive offense, despite Joe Philbin returning as offensive coordinator. (Is Ben McAdoo next?)
A less explosive offense has generally meant a less enticing win column: Green Bay had 9.2 wins according to Pythagorean expectation in 2015, 9.0 in 2016 and 9.1 in the six 2017 games Rodgers finished, topping out at 10 real wins and winning only one division title over that span.
And as brilliant as Pettine has been at times, he’s been out of the NFL since 2015, and four of his past five defenses as a coordinator or head coach finished 20th or worse in points allowed.
The cornerback unit in particular has a wide range of potential outcomes.
You can look at Tramon Williams’ top-15 Pro Football Focus grade last season — at age 34 — as either the beginning of a late-career resurgence … or the continuation of his trend of randomly having a good season every four years or so.
Kevin King, Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson all have first- or second-round pedigree, but they’re also all still young enough to laugh at the name “Haha Clinton-Dix” and get away with it.
Too many Packers seasons of late have come down to collarbones or Hail Marys, so I’d focus on the high-upside futures and avoid the others, which could be an adventure to cash.
Instead, I’d take it game by game with Green Bay.
Elite quarterbacks tend to cover the spread at home, and Rodgers is no different. He’s covered 65.7% of his starts at Lambeau Field, with minimal drop-off over the past three seasons (61.1%). – Chris Raybon
The Bets: Win NFC Championship, Win Super Bowl
Green Bay Packers 2018 Schedule
- Games Favored: 12
- Avg. Spread: -3.4
- Strength of Schedule: 11th (1 = Easiest, 32 = Hardest)
Survivor Pool 101
- Use the Packers: Week 1 vs. CHI, Week 4 vs. BUF, Week 10 vs. MIA, Week 13 vs. ARI
- Use Packers’ opponents: Week 9 @ NE
Fantasy Football Outlook
- Top Picks: WR Davante Adams, QB Aaron Rodgers
- Sleeper: RB Ty Montgomery (PPR)
- Potential Bust: RB Aaron Jones
Best of “I’ll Take That Bet” on ESPN+
“GB has the largest ticket count to win the division, and that’s normal. We had them 14-1 to win the Super Bowl and took some money there, so they’re at 12-1 now. They have the third-most Super Bowl tickets.”
– Westgate bookmaker Jeff Sherman to The Action Network’s Michael Leboff
Aaron Rodgers to Win Comeback Player of the Year? (+350)
This is a slight lean on an award that Rodgers qualifies for after missing nine games last season with a broken collarbone.
There’s almost no doubt that he will put up MVP-caliber numbers if he plays a full 16 games, so I think there’s some value at this price.
You might have heard me talk about this on the Action Network NFL Podcast, but having had the same exact shoulder surgery as Andrew Luck (+450) a couple of years ago, I believe Luck will not come close to his pre-injury form, which gives Rodgers sneaky added value. – Sean Koerner
The Bet: Rodgers to Win Comeback Player of the Year +350
There’s Never a Wrong Time to Play Davante Adams in DFS
Adams had the second-most receiving touchdowns in the league over the past two seasons, but his ability to overcome Rodgers’ severe home/road splits is perhaps even more impressive.
Per the FantasyLabs NFL Trends tool, Rodgers has averaged 3.4 fewer DraftKings points per game on the road since 2014, but Adams has surprisingly been slightly more productive away from Lambeau throughout his career.
Regardless of where he’s playing, Adams has an elevated floor because of his touchdown equity, as he’s posted the fifth-highest Consistency Rating among wide receivers over the past two seasons (min. 10 games). – Ian Hartitz