Lions vs. Packers Odds & Picks: Use Green Bay In Teasers
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images. Pictured: Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers
Lions vs. Packers Odds
The Lions are 1-0 in the Darrell Bevell era after the interim head coach took over for Matt Patricia.
It can be expected that teams get a boost the first game after a coach is fired, but it’s in the second game where a letdown spot can emerge. For example, both the Texans and Falcons fired their head coach this season and got a bump in the very next game with a win but lost in the second game under the new coach.
Detroit will try to avoid the same fate against a Green Bay team coming off successive double-digit wins. The Lions will not only have to navigate a possible letdown spot, but they’ll also have to contend with Aaron Rodgers, who has had success indoors as a big road favorite.
Green Bay Packers
There aren’t enough plaudits to describe how Rodgers has played this season. The future Hall of Famer is putting together a season that resembles his 2011 MVP campaign. Rodgers leads the league with 36 touchdowns and his 84.5 mark in ESPN’s QBR matches that of his 2011 campaign.
Rodgers looks much more comfortable in his second season in head coach Matt LaFleur’s offense. While the Packers finished 13-3 in the 2019 regular season, this team looks even better given the emergence of Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard. Green Bay’s tandem of young receivers have done well to quiet some of the criticism the Packers received for not using the draft to address that position.
Last year, Green Bay finished the season as the eighth-ranked team in Football Outsiders’ offensive DVOA. The Packers rank second this season, trailing just the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Packers will relish the chance to face a Lions team that ranks dead last in defensive DVOA. Detroit allows 7.6 yards per pass attempt (29th) and 11.3 yards per completion (30th). Rodgers should have plenty of time to pick out his targets against this Detroit team that’s ranked 28th in quarterback pressure this season.
The Packers seem to gotten past a rough patch of injuries earlier this season when they were without wide receivers Davante Adams and Lazard. Now, the team has gotten healthier and despite listing 15 players on the injury report earlier in the week, only backup guard Simon Stepaniak and backup tight end Jace Sternberger have been ruled out for Sunday.
Starting safety Darnell Savage is listed as questionable and was a limited participant in Friday’s practice, while backup wide receivers Equanimeous St. Brown and Malik Taylor are also listed as questionable, though only Brown was a full participant on Friday.
Things didn’t go well for the Lions when they faced the Packers earlier this season at Lambeau Field. Green Bay doubled up Detroit, 42-21, and gashed the Lions for 259 rushing yards.
While Detroit’s defensive struggles have been laid bare for all to see, it can still have success moving the ball against Green Bay. However, the Lions need to get more out of their running game in order to better control the time of possession and protect their defense from being exposed for long periods on the field against Rodgers.
Per TeamRankings, Detroit is averaging 3.9 yards per carry this season and that number is down to just 3.1 over its last three games. The Lions will hope to exploit a Packers defense that has had its fair share of struggles when playing the run over the last two seasons.
In 2019, Green Bay was ranked 27th in rush defense DVOA and in 2020, it is ranked 25th. Opposing teams are currently averaging 4.6 yards per carry against the Packers which puts them tied for 23rd in the league.
The Packers’ inability to effectively stop the run leaves them vulnerable to play-action passes, as well. That impact is reflected in their pass defense DVOA, which has actually dropped from ninth last season to 18th in 2020.
In these two teams’ meeting earlier this year, Green Bay controlled the time of possession by having the ball for 35 minutes in the game. Detroit is ranked 28th in the league with time of possession, while Green Bay is first in the league. If Green Bay is able to dominate the time of possession again, this outcome could be very similar to their first meeting back in September.
The Lions will be without some key pieces on Sunday: Starting right tackle Tyrell Crosby has been ruled out with an ankle injury. Matthew Stafford will again be without perhaps his favorite target in wide receiver Kenny Golladay while cornerback Jeff Okudah is going to miss the rest of the season due to a groin injury that will require surgery.
Green Bay opened at -8, but the number is already as high as -9 at some books (compare real-time lines). Due to the uncertainty of this season, we’ve seen plenty of line moves occur after the Friday injury report is released as opposed to earlier in the week like in previous seasons. This line move is likely due to Detroit having three starters already ruled out for the game.
While I’m often reluctant to lay this kind of price with a heavy favorite, I’d prefer to use the the Packers as a teaser leg and cross through the key numbers of seven and three.
FanDuel is currently offering Green Bay as an 8.5-point favorite. A six-point teaser would bring this number down to 2.5, making it very attractive as a potential leg on any teaser.
It helps that Rodgers is 6-1 playing indoors as a road favorite of at least six points. The only blemish on his record was a 7-3 loss in 2010 when Rodgers was knocked out of the game in the second quarter due to a concussion. This game ticks all the boxes of what I’d look for when playing a teaser, and it’s worth a look to add on to any ticket you have on Sunday.
Pick: Tease Packers -8.5 to -2.5