Panthers vs. Packers Odds & Picks: Upset Brewing in Green Bay?

Panthers vs. Packers Odds & Picks: Upset Brewing in Green Bay? article feature image

USA Today Sports. Pictured: Jimmy Graham, Aaron Rodgers

  • The Green Bay Packers host the Carolina Panthers as 5.5-point favorites.
  • Our experts analyze the betting odds, break down the biggest matchup and make their pick.

Panthers at Packers Odds & Picks

  • Odds: Packers -5.5
  • Over/Under: 47
  • Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

Odds as of Thursday evening and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).

The Green Bay Packers struggled in last week’s 26-11 loss to the Chargers in Los Angeles. But the public isn’t shying away from backing Aaron Rodgers and Co. as 5.5-point favorites against the Carolina Panthers, with more than 50% of spread tickets and money coming in on Green Bay.

Should you back the Pack to bounce back and cover, too?

Our experts break down every angle of this game, complete with comprehensive matchup analysis and a staff pick.

Panthers-Packers Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Packers

Green Bay’s injury report looks pretty good compared to prior weeks. Davante Adams (toe) has been limited, but that’s to be expected — the same goes for Marquez Valdes Scantling (knee/ankle). I wouldn’t expect either to miss this game.

Safety Adrian Amos (hamstring) is the biggest injury to watch on defense after missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday. He’s second on the team in tackles behind linebacker Blake Martinez.

Christian McCaffrey (knee) missed practice on Wednesday but returned to limited practice on Thursday. This appears to be the new norm for him. There could be some good news for the Packers’ offense since defensive lineman Vernon Butler (back) and cornerback James Bradberry (groin) haven’t practiced. Justin Bailey

Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.

titans-vs-panthers-odds-picks-predictions-week 9-2019
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Christian McCaffrey

Biggest Mismatch

Both Rush Offenses vs. Both Run Defenses

I love the Green Bay secondary and edge pressure, which is one of the reasons the Pack were my only preseason future. It’s a defense built to stop today’s modern passing offenses.

But the Packers need to do something about their run defense before the postseason. It’s a major liability. And the source of the problem? The defensive line, which ranks dead last in adjusted line yards and inside the bottom 10 in almost every other advanced metric that analyzes run defense performance.

For the season, Green Bay has allowed 4.7 yards per carry (25th in the NFL) and ranks 26th in Football Outsiders’ rush defense DVOA.

The Packers have been gashed by competent rushing attacks all season and now get McCaffrey.

The story is very similar with the Panthers, who have a secondary playing at a high level but a rush defense that is not. In fact, you could argue Carolina has had the worst opponent-adjusted rush defense in the NFL so far this season.

The Panthers rank 32nd in rush defense DVOA and have allowed 5.1 yards per carry, which is tied with the Bengals for worst in the league. That’s not a good omen vs. a Packers backfield led by Aaron Jones. I think the Panthers really miss DT Kawann Short, who was placed on IR at the beginning of October.

The bottom line: Both teams should move the ball on the ground with ease, so this will likely come down to which has more success in the red zone. And in a matchup of two solid rushing attacks, you have to give the nod to the better QB in Aaron Rodgers.

The Packers offense has been statistically better than the Panthers in the red zone in regards to touchdown rate. And Green Bay’s defense has been superior by a wide margin, allowing touchdowns on only 48.28% of opponent red-zone trips (sixth in the NFL) compared to Carolina allowing touchdowns on a league-high 69.23% of opponent trips inside the 20. Stuckey

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Packers -5.5
  • Projected Total: 47.5

I faded the Packers last week, but it was mostly a result of buying low on the Chargers — I did not expect the Packers to roll over as badly as they did.

They should bounce back at home, but I’m not seeing any value in the spread or total here; both look spot on and betting behavior looks fairly balanced.

This game is a pass for me. Sean Koerner

Expert Picks

Matthew Freedman: Panthers +5.5

To me, this game comes down to the various matchups of offensive and defensive strengths and weaknesses.

The Packers offense is built around Rodgers. He’s the greatest strength of the unit. In Pro Football Focus grades, the Packers offense is No. 3 in passing but No. 12 in rushing.

But the Panthers defense is unquestionably good against the pass. That’s perhaps their greatest strength. They’re No. 3 in pass defense DVOA and No. 4 in PFF coverage grade. Fourth-year cornerback James Bradberry is becoming a true shutdown cover man: He’s allowed a 54.5% catch rate this season and no receiving touchdowns.

I expect Bradberry to shadow Adams, who is still dealing with a turf toe injury and looked like a diminished version of himself in his return to action last week.

James Bradberry
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: James Bradberry (24)

The Panthers’ run defense is not good. In fact, it’s No. 32 in DVOA. But I think that number might be overstating how bad the unit is. The Panthers are No. 13 in PFF run defense grade, and ever since the Panthers lost the run-stuffing Short (he last played in Week 2), they have still been No. 14 against running backs in early-down rush success rate allowed.

I’m sure the Packers will try to use running backs Jones and Jamaal Williams to move the ball systematically down the field, but they might have less success than expected.

As for the Panthers pass offense — it’s not great. The Panthers are No. 29 in PFF passing grade, but at least wide receivers D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel are dynamic playmakers with the ability to occupy a defense and open up space underneath for passes to McCaffrey.

And in targeting McCaffrey — the league’s most consistently productive pass-catching back (6.2 receptions per game since last season) — the Panthers will probably have success. Packers linebackers Blake Martinez and B.J. Goodson have PFF coverage grades of 60.1 and 60.8 and have collectively allowed an 87.5% catch rate.

And as a runner, McCaffrey is gonna get fed. He’s No. 1 in the league with 20.6 carries and 110.1 yards rushing per game. The Panthers are No. 5 in rush offense DVOA. But the Packers are only No. 26 in rush defense DVOA.

The difference in this game is that the Panthers’ greatest offensive strength matches up precisely with the Packers’ greatest defensive weakness: Their inability to stop running backs.

McCaffrey leads the league with 1,244 yards and 13 touchdowns from scrimmage. As it happens, the Packers have allowed 1,424 yards and 11 touchdowns from scrimmage to opposing backfields. If the Packers make opposing backfields look like McCaffrey … what will McCaffrey look like when he faces them? A winner.

I’d bet on the Panthers to +4. [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

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