It's another big Thursday Night Football game, this time between the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals.
We've got a market report on the game from South Point director Chris Andrews and best bets from Adam Burke and Dave Tuley as Week 8 kicks off.
Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals (-6.5, 50.5)
Market report from Chris Andrews: Before all of Green Bay’s COVID-19 news broke, I opened Arizona -3.5. Sharps bet it up to -4. I’ve told you in the past to pay attention to lines that immediately move away from the key numbers of 3 and 7. If sharps liked the Packers, they would have taken + 3.5 right away. I was doing decent two-way business at Arizona -4. Then, star receiver Davante Adams was ruled out. We went straight to Arizona -6. Wednesday morning, Allen Lazard was also put on the COVID-19 list. We had been taking bets on Arizona -6 as it was, so I moved to Arizona -6.5.
As I write this, I’m seeing some 7’s pop up. That could mean the South Point will be at Arizona -7 by kickoff. I’ll need to take more Cardinals bets before lifting the line to a key number. My Over/Under opened 53. Sharp bets and COVID-19 news dropped that all the way to 50.5. The public almost always bets the Over in prime-time TV games. My tickets are already 5-1 to the Over even though most of the money is on Under. I can assure you oddsmakers all over the country will be monitoring additional COVID-19 news for this game from now until kickoff.
Tuley: This is a great Thursday night matchup with the undefeated Cardinals (7-0) hosting the Packers (6-1). The Cardinals were -3 on the advance line last week, which increased to -3.5 after Arizona routed the Texans 31-5 on Sunday while the Packers beat Washington 24-10. Then it was announced Monday that Adams was going into COVID-19 protocol and the line spiked to -6. I’m sure the conventional wisdom, especially among recreational bettors who might not even know the line was lower, will be “you have to take Aaron Rodgers plus the points.” But I’m not so sure.
If Washington could outgain the Packers 430 yards to 304, I shudder to think what the Cardinals could do. So, yes, I’m resisting taking the points with Rodgers as a dog. I know it’s against the “Wong teaser” rules as the line is below a touchdown, but I’m tempted to start our Week 8 teasers with the Cardinals just needing to win straight up. The other possible teaser on a second straight week with few advantage teasers (meaning you capture the key numbers of 3 and 7) is the Vikings + 1.5 up to + 7.5 vs. the Cowboys. While I lean to the Under as the Cardinals are No. 4 in the league, allowing just 316.7 yards and 16.3 points per game, I’m passing probably due to the thought of the Cardinals’ offense vs. the Green Bay defense, even though the absence of Adams helps.
Pick: Cardinals in teasers
Burke: It is crazy to think about a wide receiver having such a massive impact on the betting line, but when you think about the loss of a player like Adams and also pair it with how bad the Packers actually looked in last week’s win over Washington, you can see why the market reacted the way that it did.
Adams has been targeted 73 times; the next highest targeted pass-catcher for Green Bay is running back Aaron Jones with 28. We should see a lot of touches for Jones in this game, as he’ll need to be both a runner and a receiver with injuries on the offensive line and a banged-up Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Now Lazard is also on the COVID-19 list.
The Packers lose more than just a big-play threat with Adams gone. He’s also their best possession receiver and one of the best wideouts in the NFL. Somebody will have to big up the slack and those that can pick the right player should have a nice day on the player props front.
Like I said, it has to be Jones for me. His Week 7 output was the lowest of the season, despite tying his season high for percentage of the offensive snaps at 73 percent.
The Cardinals are unlikely to have as many takeaways this week as they’ve had in past weeks, even with the skill players that the Packers are missing. That should mean a good number of snaps and there are a lot of targets available with Adams and Lazard out. Jones should be the one to pick up the slack and it wouldn’t even be a stunner to see him occasionally lined up in the slot with AJ Dillon in the backfield.
Pick: Aaron Jones Over 38.5 Receiving Yards (-115)