Rich Hribar and Raymond Summerlin bring you their best bets every Friday of the NFL season as well as a preview of Sunday Night Football. The preview is free, but the bets can only be found in the Rotoworld Season Pass. Don’t miss out on the action.
Rich: 23-17-1 season record (last week: 4-1)
Raymond: 24-16-1 season record (last week: 2-3)
All lines taken from the VI Consensus at VegasInsider.com Friday morning.
Sunday Night Football – Packers @ Patriots (-5.5) – Total 56.5
Rich: Through the quirky timing of Aaron Rodgers sitting his first two seasons, missing one matchup with an injury, and being in opposite conferences, this is just the second time ever that we’re getting a game between Rodgers and Tom Brady as starting quarterbacks. Given their career overlap, that’s a bit of missed opportunity, but I’ll just blame it on Mike McCarthy somehow.
As for this Sunday, it’s another opportunity where we’re getting Rodgers and the Packers with a higher number than we’re accustomed to getting. Rodgers’ team has gotten more than five points in a game just three times (2-1- ATS) over his entire and we’re getting that in back-to-back weeks. Just like I stated last week, I’m just going to take Rodgers and this many points any time I can get them.
The Patriots have turned things around after a slow start, winning five in a row, but their defense is still highly suspect. Over their seven games since the season opener, the Patriots have allowed 24 or more points in five of those games. The only two teams that were below that arbitrary threshold of points scored were the Dolphins and Bills. Green Bay is averaging 25 points per game, so I like their ability to put points on the board here in a high-scoring game. Rodgers is also getting warm as he gets healthier. He’s averaging 9.0 yards per pass attempt over the past three games after 7.2 Y/A over his opening four games of the season.
On the other side, the Packers have also just been handing out points to the opposition. Opposing teams have scored at least 29 points in five of the past six games against Green Bay with the only exception being the Bills, of course. To piggyback off of that, the Patriots have been stellar at home this season. New England averages 4.0 offensive touchdowns per game at home (third) as opposed to 1.8 per game on the road (24th). We’ve played the over on some of these high-game totals so far with lackluster results over the past two weeks, but I’m ready to go back to the well here again. As much the unders have struck back the past two weeks, we’ve had eight games with a game total of 55 or more points so far this season and the over has hit in five of those games with two of the three unders falling exactly one point short, meaning predicting these ultra-high-scoring affairs has been spot on to date through half of the season.
Pick: Packers +5.5, Over 56.5
Ray: In addition to getting a good quarterback at a pretty big number, the Packers are interesting because they are playing their second road game in a row following the bye week. That only happens a handful of times each season, and teams in that situation tend to do very well against the spread. Following the Saints’ win in Minnesota last Sunday night, teams in that situation are now 26-18-1 ATS (59.1%) since 2008, and underdogs are 17-10-1 (63%). Likely undervalued coming off a disappointing start to the season and a loss to the best team in the league, the Packers are also in a good situational spot. That makes them an easy bet.
I agree with Rich the over is probably the correct side given Green Bay’s difficulties on defense and how good New England’s offense has been at home so far this year. That said, I have thought all year the Packers have the pieces to be a better defense than they have shown, and we saw that kind of coalesce when they “held” the Rams to 29 points last week. Perhaps things will fall to pieces again following the Ha Ha Clinton-Dix trade, but it is enough for me to stay away.
Pick: Packers +5.5
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