NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions For Browns vs. Packers: An Expert’s Guide To Betting Christmas Day Matchup
Getty Images. Pictured: Browns RB Nick Chubb and Packers WR Devante Adams (left to right)
- NFL odds for Browns vs. Packers remain steady as kickoff approaches, positioning Green Bay favored by 7.5 points in a game with a 46.5-point total.
- With Baker Mayfield and other key Browns players activated off the COVID-19 list, where is the betting value on this NFL Christmas Day matchup?
- Our expert breaks down how he's finding value on the spread.
|Browns Odds||+7.5 (-110)|
|Packers Odds||-7.5 (-110)|
|Time||4:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||NFL Network, FOX|
The Green Bay Packers have been generous to their backers all season, posting an 11-3 record against the spread (ATS), tied for best in the NFL. The Cleveland Browns, meanwhile, haven’t been nearly as profitable, posting a 6-8 ATS mark.
Will the Packers continue to be the gift that just keeps on giving and cover against the Browns in Lambeau this Christmas?
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Browns vs. Packers Injury Report
Browns vs. Packers Matchup
|Browns Offense||DVOA Rank||Packers Defense|
|Browns Defense||DVOA Rank||Packers Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Packers Have Upper Hand At Home
Getting pressure on Aaron Rodgers is absolutely crucial. Like most quarterbacks, Rodgers’ numbers drop precipitously under duress:
- Clean: 8.7 YPA | 24 TD | 1 INT
- Under Pressure: 4.9 YPA | 6 TD | 3 INT
You know there’s utter chaos surrounding a game when an injury that kept the MVP frontrunner out of practice all week is probably the eighth-most important injury in this game, but that’s where we are at this point in the season with COVID and the war of attrition taking its toll. Rodgers failed to practice all week with a nagging toe injury, but is not even listed on the final injury report.
Of more importance is that he will be without both of his starting tackles, as Billy Turner has been ruled out after suffering a knee injury last week, joining Elgton Jenkins (IR-ACL) on the shelf. Jenkins was the bigger loss; Turner hasn’t been playing great — his PFF grade of 65.9 ranks 52nd of 82 qualified tackles — but he has logged 497 snaps this season, the most of any Green Bay tackle.
The Packers will instead turn to a bookend duo of Yosh Nijman, who has earned a grade of 63.6, which ranks 56th; and Dennis Kelly, who would be among the worst tackles in the league with a grade of 53.5 if he had enough snaps to qualify.
But wait — there’s more. The Green Bay offensive line may get a reprieve because the Cleveland pass rush will definitely be without Takk McKinley, and could also be without Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney. Garret (68), Clowney (44) and McKinley (25) lead the Browns in pressures, and their 137 combined pressures are more than the entire rest of the team (115). Garrett didn’t practice all week and Clowney is unlikely to go, so the Browns may struggle to pressure Rodgers, as without much help, the Packers could prioritize doubling a banged-up Garrett.
Buoyed by Cleveland’s pass rush, perimeter corners Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams have held up well all year, with both ranking top 20 in PFF’s cornerback grades. However, some of the luster may wear off — particularly when matched up with Davante Adams — if Cleveland is not getting home up front. Adams has 96 catches (fourth) for 1,248 yards (third) and eight receiving touchdowns (tied-eighth) this season.
Despite getting pressure up front, the Browns rank just 23rd in DVOA against the pass. The absence of Marquez Valdes-Scantling makes life easier for a Browns secondary that will be without two above-average players in safety John Johnson and cornerback Greg Newsome II. Cornerback Troy Hill, who hasn’t been playing as well but has still played 533 snaps this season, will also be missed for depth purposes.
The Packers have fielded a top-10 run game with Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon, while the Browns have been average in run defense. Getting stops on the ground will be key for Cleveland, as the banged-up Browns will struggle against Rodgers in non-obvious passing situations. The Browns may have difficulty getting off the field either way, as they rank 21st in third-down conversion rate on defense (38.0%) while the Packers rank eighth on offense (42.4%).
Browns Will Rely On The Run
Editor’s note: The Browns officially activated starting quarterback Baker Mayfield, backup QB Case Keenum, wide receiver Jarvis Landry, and others off the COVID list on Friday.
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is expected to be activated off the COVID list before this contest, and his return will be huge after Nick Mullens threw for only 147 yards in a 16-14 loss to the Raiders on Monday night. Mayfield should also be getting reinforcements in wide receiver Jarvis Landry, tight end Austin Hooper and offensive tackle Jedrick Wills Jr., who are all expected to be activated off the COVID list as well if they haven’t already.
The Browns will still be missing some big names on offense, however, as center J.C. Tretter tested positive for COVID-19 and right tackle Jack Conklin is on IR with a knee injury. PFF graded Tretter fifth of 38 qualified centers and Conklin 20th among 82 qualified tackles. No. 2 running back Kareem Hunt will also miss his second straight game. With all that being said, Nick Chubb and the Browns’ top-five run game should still have at least some success against a Packers defense that ranks 25th against the run.
Cleveland’s passing game is less of a sure thing. Mayfield won’t have practiced all week, and losing your center with little time to prepare is also bad news.
The Packers have two edge rushers in the top 20 in pressures in Rashaan Gary (63; sixth) and Preston Smith (53; 18th). On top of that, they will get back the services of interior lineman in Kenny Clark, who ranks 16th with 54 pressures but missed the last game on the COVID list.
Mayfield has long been known as a quarterback who buckles like a seatbelt under pressure, and this year is no different, as his completion rate drops from 69.0% to 40.8% and his passer rating plummets from 97.0 to 65.5.
NFL Pick: Browns vs. Packers
The Packers have overachieved this season, going 11-3 straight up despite a point differential that projects them for 8.4 wins, but this is not a spot where I would fade them. According to our Action Labs data, the Packers are 30-19-1 ATS against the AFC and 46-23-1 (67%) ATS coming off a loss with Rodgers starting.
Green Bay’s ATS win rate when favored by 13 points or less at Lambeau Field has been flat-out nice.
I would prefer to tease the Packers down under three, as 7.5 points is still a lot in this parity-driven league and exposes you to a backdoor.
The optimal teaser pairings are either the Vikings, who can be teased to nine or above despite not losing by more than eight all season; or the Falcons, who can be teased down to a pick’em against a Lions team that is in for a major letdown spot and will likely be without its starting quarterback.
Pick: Tease Packers from -7.5 to -1.5 | Bet to: -8.5 to -2.5
|More Browns-Packers Odds, Picks, Trends|