Chiefs vs. Packers Odds, NFL Picks, Predictions: How To Find Betting Value On This Week 9 Matchup
Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Love (left) and Patrick Mahomes.
- Jordan Love in for Aaron Rodgers. The Packers moving from short to much longer underdogs as a result. Plus windy weather conditions!
- There are a lot of moving pieces, but after breaking down Chiefs vs. Packers odds, our analyst identifies how bettors could find value on this Week 9 NFL matchup.
|Time||4:25 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
Three years in a row, the football world expected to get Patrick Mahomes vs. Aaron Rodgers. And all three times, we’ve been robbed of a generational QB matchup.
In 2019, Mahomes got hurt and Rodgers led Green Bay to a late comeback over Matt Moore at Arrowhead. In 2020, both teams were No. 1 seeds in the playoffs, but Tom Brady marched the Buccaneers into Lambeau Field and knocked off the Pack. And this year, Rodgers tested positive for COVID on Tuesday and is out.
Quarterbacks making their first ever start present lots of uncertainty from a betting perspective, but also give bettors a potential edge. It’s hard to accurately price Jordan Love compared to Rodgers, but we’ll do our best.
We know what Mahomes can do, so can Love keep pace?
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Packers vs. Chiefs Injury Report
- QB Aaron Rodgers (COVID protocols): Out
- DT Kingsley Keke (concussion): Out
- T Dennis Kelly (back): Questionable
- DT Dean Lowry (hamstring): Questionable
- T David Bakhtiari (knee): Decision coming Saturday
- T Mike Remmers (knee): Out
- DT Khalen Saunders (knee): Questionable
Packers vs. Chiefs Matchup
|Packers Offense||DVOA Rank||Chiefs Defense|
|Packers Defense||DVOA Rank||Chiefs Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
How Big a Downgrade Is Love For Packers?
Rodgers is a very good quarterback. Surprise! Just kidding.
But his ability is paramount to the success of this Packers football team.
Rodgers ranks third in Expected Points Added (EPA) per dropback this season, and when you remove Week 1’s stinker against New Orleans, he slides up to second. Rodgers just beat Arizona on the road with Randall Cobb as his top outside option.
Now, he’s out. So how should we value the Green Bay offense with Love taking snaps?
Trying to value a quarterback making his first career start is a tricky endeavor. There are a few ways of going about it — looking at historical rookie QBs, looking at a coach’s history, trying to glean data from that QB’s preseason or college stats.
At the end of the day, any of the above methods are going to deal with a small sample size and are extremely difficult.
Our experts weighed in this week on their adjustments for Love. Oddsmakers re-opened the Chiefs around -8, and money immediately poured in on Green Bay, pushing this back to 7.
For what it’s worth, I have adjusted Green Bay from an elite offense to a slightly above-average one when going from Rodgers to Love.
Love showed some sparks in the preseason, has a good arm and can move around in the pocket — he ran a 4.65 at the combine. Matt LaFleur is a coach I trust to put Love in a good position to succeed, and we forget that he took almost all of the first-team reps in the offseason until Rodgers returned for training camp.
Furthermore, Green Bay has its entire stable of wide receivers back. Davante Adams and Allen Lazard are back from COVID protocols, and it appears Marquez Valdes-Scantling is also back from a stint on the injured reserve. MVS provides speed that has been missing in this Packers offense.
Green Bay should also have a major advantage running the ball against the Chiefs. The Packers offensive line may get a boost, with left tackle David Bakhtiari potentially making his 2021 debut. Even without him this season, Green Bay’s rushing attack ranks in the top five, with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon leading the way.
I expect LaFleur to give Love lots of help with creative running schemes and heavy use of play action.
What’s Up With the Chiefs Offense?
By the sheer fact that Green Bay is starting Love, Kansas City is the team we have more certainty about in this matchup.
That being said, the Chiefs have been a volatile team that hasn’t really made much sense this season. After being preseason favorites to win the Super Bowl, Kansas City has stumbled to a 4-4 record out of the gate. The Chiefs have watched their Super Bowl odds tumble all the way to 11-1, only the eighth-lowest in the NFL.
Before Rodgers was announced out on Tuesday, some shops had Kansas City as a small underdog. A healthy Mahomes getting points at home was not on my 2021 bingo card, but it’s been such a weird season that maybe it makes sense?
Let’s start with the offense.
This has been a wildly disappointing season for Mahomes and the Chiefs offense, but they’re still a top-10 unit by all major metrics — DVOA, EPA/play and success rate. The Chiefs actually lead the league in success rate at 54% — over half of their offensive snaps increase win probability. They remain the best offense in terms of converting third downs this season, converting 12% more than expected.
So why does it feel so blah? Why does this offense, with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, feel like it’s sputtering?
Let’s start with the turnovers. The Chiefs have 19 turnovers in eight games. That is the most in the NFL, even more than the Jets, Texans, and Jaguars. How?
Mahomes is pressing. The big plays to speedsters like Hill and Mecole Hardman have dried up this season for K.C., which is only 18th in explosive passing plays. Teams are playing more two-high coverage and forcing the Chiefs to dink and dunk and frankly, their secondary weapons after Hill and Kelce just aren’t very good. Mahomes is trying to do too much, because he has no margin for error.
Can the Chiefs Defense Get Any Better?
This is largely subjective, but part of why it feels like Mahomes is pressing so hard is because of the abomination that is the 2021 Kansas City defense.
The numbers and the eye test are in perfect harmony here — 31st in DVOA; 30th in success rate allowed, only ahead of Houston and Atlanta; 30th in EPA/play allowed, only ahead of Jacksonville and Detroit. If your defense is among the likes of Houston, Atlanta, Jacksonville and Detroit, things are not going well.
Defense is a weak-link unit. Teams that have weaknesses on defense will have those weaknesses exploited by good teams. And K.C. has plenty of them.
Daniel Sorensen is one such weak link, and he’s become almost a household name for how poorly he has played this season. He is currently PFF’s 86th-ranked safety out of 88 possible players, and he gets picked on in coverage constantly. He’s given up 21 receptions for 356 yards on 26 targets against. QBs have a 158 passer rating targeting him. Not great!
Sorensen’s snaps have declined in recent weeks, but the replacements aren’t much better. Ben Niemann is a terrible linebacker as well. The cornerback play from L’Jarius Sneed and Charvarius Ward has been underwhelming, and there are just too many holes for Tyrann Mathieu to plug.
Can things get better? Sure. Maybe the acquisition of Melvin Ingram will help the front four generate more pressure. Steve Spagnuolo will always blitz at extremely high rates, but the less the Chiefs can blitz and the more they can help their weak links, the better.
Do I see that improvement happening immediately? It’s unlikely. LaFleur is a very good offensive schemer and Green Bay should be able to have its way on the ground. The Packers WRs should have a field day, and the Chiefs weakness at linebacker will likely hurt them quite a bit.
Chiefs vs. Packers Picks
The first rule of NFL betting is to respect the market, and both oddsmakers and bettors have given us a good bit of information this week.
With Rodgers in, most shops had this game between K.C. -1 and GB -1. As soon as he was ruled out, oddsmakers re-opened this around Kansas City -8. Bettors disagreed, and immediately smashed it down to K.C. -7, where it’s sat the rest of the week. That price seems like a fair adjustment to me — having dug into Love and historical spots with new QBs, I have this game at a hair above 7.
So we turn our attention to the total, which opened around 55, was bet to 54, and re-opened at 48.
Given what Kansas City’s defense brings to the table, and the system and personnel around Love, I believe Green Bay will be able to move the ball, both through the air and on the ground. And the Packers may play faster with Love than they did with Rodgers. Green Bay was bottom three in pace each year under Rodgers and LaFleur. Love played in an up-tempo system at Utah State, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the Packers played a bit faster here.
This total has fallen a bit too much for my liking, but the weather conditions in Kansas City — sustained 15 mph winds, with gusts up to 28, make an over much less palatable.
There are a ton of moving pieces here, and at the end of the day, the market has settled in at K.C. -7 or -7.5 and a total of 48. The total is a bit low to me, even when accounting for wind, but the edge is quite narrow (I project it at 49). There’s a reasonable case for the over, even despite the wind, but I’m relying on subjective projections about Green Bay’s increase in tempo.
Instead, I will be looking to live bet this game, in particular I’ll be monitoring Green Bay’s tempo and how much the wind affects downfield passing. If the Packers are playing fast and the deep ball is in play, look for a live over –particularly if the Chiefs finds themselves behind.
Pick: Live or 2H Over if either team trailing by 7+
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