Packers vs. Lions Odds, Picks, Predictions: How To Find NFL Week 18 Value Based On Green Bay’s Potential Rest
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Rodgers (No. 12) and Jordan Love.
- The latest Packers vs. Lions odds likely don't fully factor in the potential for Green Bay to rest starters considering there's a wide range of possible outcomes for how long the NFC's 1-seed could do so.
- With that in mind, our analyst outlines his picks and predictions for this NFL Week 18 matchup below, complete with a bet on the over/under.
Packers vs. Lions Odds
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via Gun Lake. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
The Packers and Lions are wrapping up the regular season with an entirely meaningless Week 18 tilt.
Green Bay has the NFC’s top seed wrapped up, while Detroit has a top-two draft slot similarly cemented. Unlike some seasons, there’s no clear No. 1 overall pick, but the top two edge rushers stand out. Improving from second to first draft choice isn’t of great value this year.
The storyline of this game is Green Bay’s starters. Aaron Rodgers declared after Week 17 that, “I’m going to play next week and I expect Davante (Adams) to play and our guys to play.” Of course, that doesn’t mean they play the entire game, regardless of the score.
Oddsmakers either expect a partial appearance from the Packers’ top players or are simply hedging, since Green Bay would be a much larger favorite if it was playing all out.
With all of that accounted for, finding comfortable betting angles will be a challenge. Let’s see what we can dig up.
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Packers vs. Lions Injury Report
- DL Kingsley Keke (illness): Out
- CB Jaire Alexander (shoulder): Out
- OT David Bakhtiari (knee): Questionable
- TE Dominique Dafney (ankle): Questionable
- RB Aaron Jones (knee): Questionable
- LB De’Vondre Campbell (elbow): Questionable
- RB Jason Cabinda (knee): Out
- QB Jared Goff (knee): Questionable
- G Jonah Jackson (elbow/knee): Questionable
- LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin (shoulder): Questionable
- WR Josh Reynolds (thigh): Questionable
- DE Michael Brockers (neck): Questionable
- TE Brock Wright (groin): Questionable
Packers vs. Lions Matchup
|Packers Offense||DVOA Rank||Lions Defense|
|Packers Defense||DVOA Rank||Lions Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
What Can We Anticipate From Packers?
In 2011, the defending champion Green Bay Packers were riding high. They opened the season with 13 straight wins, and finished at 15-1. Heading into the final week of the season, the 1-seed in the NFC was secured as the Packers hosted the Detroit Lions.
Rather than risk the health of Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay chose to rest their starters. They won the game 45-41 thanks to six Matt Flynn touchdowns. Flynn went on to sign a big deal in the offseason with Seattle, but that’s a story for a different time.
The interesting part of this story is what happened next. Green Bay’s starters enjoyed their two weeks off, before facing the New York Giants in the divisional round. New York was 9-7 in the regular season and a massive underdog. Green Bay came out flat and was beaten by the eventual super bowl champion Giants 37-20.
That seems to be the lesson Green Bay is learning from this year. They don’t want three weeks between games for their starters — particularly Rodgers. My guess is that Rodgers and other key players (Adams, Aaron Jones) will play roughly half the game before taking an early exit as they prepare for the postseason.
All of this makes handicapping this game tricky, as DVOA and other metrics are based on a Rodgers-led Packers. However, this could also be a big opportunity for backup Jordan Love. He played poorly in his first run as a starter this season, leading the Packers to only seven points.
Love needs to show he belongs in the NFL — either as the successor to Rodgers or somewhere else. Getting some positive tape out there would be big for him, and the Lions defense is a perfect opponent to do that against.
Don’t Expect Much From Lions Defense
As discussed, the Lions don’t have much to play for this week. However, that’s been the case for essentially all 16 games they’ve played until this point, which hasn’t stopped them from playing hard. They’re a young, hungry team that will be looking to finish strong this week.
While Detroit could be doing that without starting quarterback Jared Goff, that hasn’t held it back much lately. Tim Boyle hasn’t been a significant downgrade as of late. Goff has a yards-per-attempt mark of 6.5 this season, while Boyle’s mark is 6.32 over the past two weeks.
Similarly, the running game hasn’t suffered much during De’Andre Swift’s absences. He’s expected to play in a limited fashion, but Jamaal Williams and Craig Reynolds haven’t been much of a drop off on the ground. Green Bay’s defense struggles against the run — the strength of the Lions offense — which sets up nicely for Detroit.
Of course, defense could be a struggle for the Lions regardless of who’s at quarterback against them. After last week’s 51-point debacle, the Detroit defense has moved into last place in the pass defense DVOA ranks. Expect both Love and Rodgers to find success through the air.
Detroit isn’t much better on the ground, but I wouldn’t expect that to be the Packers’ focus. Limiting wear and tear on Jones and AJ Dillon makes sense if and when the starters are playing. Getting an extended look at Love’s abilities against an NFL defense (in the loosest sense of the word) should be a priority later in the game.
Packers vs. Lions Predictions
Given the motivation levels of these teams, I’m anticipating a relatively high-scoring game here.
Both defenses are bad at what the opposing offense is good at. The Packers also have reasons to unleash their passing attack throughout this one. While Jordan Love — if he plays significant reps — is clearly a downgrade from Aaron Rodgers, the Lions passing defense is a downgrade from the rest of the league as well.
On the Lions side, their running game should do enough to put at least some points on the board against a Packers team that’s allowing 4.8 yards per carry.
Pick: Over 44.5 | Bet to: 46
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