Packers vs Vikings NFL Week 1: Updated Spread, Picks, Prediction

Packers vs Vikings NFL Week 1: Updated Spread, Picks, Prediction article feature image

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images. Pictured: Kirk Cousins.

  • The money has flowed in on the Vikings over the past 24 hours, making them the favorites against the Packers.
  • Davante Adams is no longer in Green Bay, while the Vikings have a new head coach with an offensive mindset.
  • Anthony Dabbundo breaks down the game and makes his pick below.

Packers vs. Vikings Odds

Sunday, Sept. 11
4:25 p.m. ET
Packers Odds
-110o / -110u
Vikings Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

Minnesota actually won the only meeting between these two teams in which both Kirk Cousins and Aaron Rodgers played last year, but the Packers have dominated the division and this rivalry for most of the Rodgers era. Green Bay is the only team in the NFL to win 13 or more games in each of the past three seasons — all under head coach Matt LaFleur — but this season looks to be the most challenging for the Packers to repeat as division champions.

Minnesota fired head coach Mike Zimmer and hired Sean McVay disciple Kevin O'Connell as it potentially transitions to a more aggressive and forward-thinking offensive approach. Zimmer was effective in some ways and always coached up a solid defense, but the Vikings struggled with late-game management, early-down aggression and fourth-down decision making under his watch.

There's no guaranteeing that O'Connell will be more aggressive, but he could help the offense take a step forward under the perennially underrated and productive Kirk Cousins.

Despite Green Bay's division dominance, it's Minnesota that has won four of the past five meetings on home soil. The market has come down from opening at +3 over the summer, but really how much better is Green Bay when compared to Minnesota?

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Packers vs. Vikings Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Packers and Vikings match up statistically:

Packers vs. Vikings DVOA Breakdown (Stats from 2021)
Overall DVOA216
Pass DVOA213
Rush DVOA825
Overall DVOA1622
Pass DVOA1216
Rush DVOA2728

Green Bay losing Davante Adams was one of the most highly discussed storylines of the entire offseason, but it's worth mentioning just how much Adams meant to this offense. In the two games against Minnesota last year, the Packers scored eight touchdowns. Adams scored four of those. He also accounted for almost half of the teams receiving yards in those games.

You can even go back to the pandemic season, where Adams once again scored four of the Packers' eight touchdowns in two games against Minnesota. Adams is responsible for about 40% of the Packers' receiving yards in the past three seasons against the Vikings. Simply put, Minnesota has had absolutely no answer for Adams — and now it won't need one.

It's not just about Adams as we need to factor in who is left to replace him. Rodgers just had incredible back-to-back MVP seasons, but the Packers also lost Marquez Valdes-Scantling and are likely without Allen Lazard in this game. Rodgers is very much about timing with his receivers and there's a lot of reliance on very young players, such as rookie Romeo Doubs, and older players, like Randall Cobb.

I'm also a bit skeptical of Green Bay because of how much it over-performed expected win totals in years past. Some credit should be given to LaFleur for his ability to have his teams consistently outperform their Pythagorean win total, but there’s also a good chance a lot of that can be explained by variance and that regression could be coming.

Based on points for and points allowed, Green Bay should have only won 9.8 games in 2019, 11.2 in '20 and 10.5 in '21. It is important to note that prior to his back-to-back MVP seasons, Rodgers was not playing at an elite level in the four years before LaFleur arrived. Rodgers showed no signs of it last season, but the possibility of him looking more like the pedestrian 2015-18 Rodgers is not off the table.

The Packers also finished 28th in defensive early down success rate last year, a major red flag for the unit given early down success tends to be more predictive than late-down data.

Betting Picks

It seemed as though the entire discourse surrounding Green Bay last year was about injuries. However, the Packers were actually above average in overall health last season and it was Minnesota that finished in the bottom third in adjusted games lost to injury, per Football Outsiders.

With home field dwindling to less and less with each passing season and it being worth even less in divisional games, you have to think Minnesota and Green Bay are within two points of one another to bet Minnesota here.

There's also this clear trend that likes the Vikings: Divisional dogs are profitable almost all season long, but especially in Week 1. Since 2005, divisional dogs have gone 58-36-2 against the spread (61.7%), covering by an average of nearly two points per game.

Minnesota had the better defense by early down success rates and EPA/play and although it's a reach to say they'll be better offensively, a fully healthy Vikings' offense can be just as good as a Packers' offense without Adams and Lazard.

I'd bet Minnesota if you can get +1 or better.

Pick: Vikings +1.5 | Bet to +1

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