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Regression in Green Bay? Oddsmakers juicing up Packers under 9 win total

June 14, 2020 12:47 AM

Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur couldn't have dreamed of a better rookie season. The Packers went 13-3, won the NFC North and reached the final four. Green Bay beat the Seahawks 28-23 in the divisional round before falling to the 49ers 37-20 in the NFC Championship game. The Packers' 13-3 record was tied with the 49ers and Saints for the 2nd-best record in the NFL, trailing only the 14-2 Ravens. It also marked the best regular season for Green Bay since they went 15-1 in 2011.

Nearly everything went right for the Packers during the regular season, which created a narrative that Green Bay wasn't quite as good as their record showed. For example, their point differential was + 63. The Vikings were + 104 but finished 10-6. The Cowboys were + 113 but finished 8-8. The Titans were + 71 but finished 9-7. Minnesota, Dallas and Tennessee all had better point differentials, but finished with a much worse record. In other words, Green Bay outperformed their pythagorean win total, which measures how lucky or unlucky a team is based on their points scored vs points allowed. 

Green Bay didn't do much to improve its roster during the offseason. The Packers lost linebacker Blake Martinez and tight end Jimmy Graham, but then signed linebacker Christian Kirksey, tackle Rick Wagner and wide receiver Devin Funchess. Green Bay made a move for the future, drafting Utah State quarterback Jordan Love 26th overall to be Aaron Rodgers' potential replacement. But Green Bay did nothing to help Rodgers in the here and now to help him win a Super Bowl. 

So what do oddsmakers think of Green Bay in 2020?

The Packers' win total is 9 across the market. Right off the bat, you would think the over is the play. After all, Green Bay won 13 games last season, so even if they took a step back to 10 wins the over 9 would still cash. However, according to juice liability, the under has taken in some sharp action. 

At FanDuel the under 9 is -145 (the over + 125). At PointsBet the under 9 is -130 (over + 105). Circa Sports is hanging under 9 at -115 (over -105). DraftKings is even hanging a rare 8.5 (over -137, under + 113). 

Simply put, books are forcing bettors to pay a hefty price on the under 9 because the house has liability on Green Bay regressing to 8-8.

The Packers's schedule shouldn't be much of a factor either way this season. Their 2020 opponents went a combined 128-126-2 (.504) in 2019, giving Green Bay the 15th hardest schedule, which is pretty much middle of the pack. 

Here is the full Green Bay schedule this season

Week 1: at Vikings

Week 2: vs Lions

Week 3: at Saints

Week 4: vs Falcons

Week 5: Bye

Week 6: at Bucs

Week 7: at Texans

Week 8: vs Vikings

Week 9: at 49ers

Week 10: vs Jags

Week 11: at Colts

Week 12: vs Bears

Week 13: vs Eagles

Week 14: at Lions

Week 15: vs Panthers

Week 16: vs Titans

Week 17: at Bears

The Packers are still a slight favorite to make the postseason. Green Bay is -134 to make the playoffs at DraftKings and + 110 to miss the playoffs. 

Green Bay is + 170 to win the NFC North, trailing only the Vikings + 150. The Bears are + 425 and the Lions + 600.

The Packers are + 1300 to win the NFC and + 2800 to win the Super Bowl. 

In terms of player props, Rodgers' over/under passing yards this season is 3,850.5 and passing touchdowns 26.5. In 2019 Rodgers threw for 4,002 yards and 26 touchdowns. Rodgers is + 3000 to win MVP.

Davante Adams' over/under receiving yards is 1,150.5. Last season Adams hauled in 997 receiving yards in only 12 games. 

Aaron Jones' over/under rushing yards is 950.5. Jones rushed for 1,084 yards in 2019. 

LaFleur is + 3000 to win Coach of the Year. 

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