Sunday Night Football Week 2 – Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings – Preview and Prediction
The second week of football comes to a conclusion with a hotly anticipated NFC North matchup between the division’s likely two best teams. Both Green Bay and Minnesota are coming off wins in Week 1, so this contest is critical for shaping the divisional race.
At BetOnline, the current odds have the Packers -2 (-110) and Vikings +2 (-110) and the total is at 43. The odds originally opened at Packers -3. The total has gone down since opening at 44 points. It’s at 43 at most shops.
Betting action has been heavy on Green Bay, with more than 80 percent of all wagers coming in on the Packers. Despite that, the odds have moved the opposite direction, with the line dropping to -2. The total has seen right about 50/50 action on both the under and the over.
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Green Bay was at Jacksonville last Sunday to start their season. The game wasn’t quite the shootout that we saw in other games, but the pace was above-average from the get-go. The Jaguars led for much of the first half until Aaron Rodgers connected on a touchdown to Davante Adams to give Green Bay a 21-17 lead.
That concluded most of the scoring. Both offenses slowed down in the second half. Neither team scored another touchdown. The Packers won the game 27-23.
As far as injuries go, Green Bay is mostly healthy. However, they do have one major injury concern when it comes to cornerback. Their best corner, Sam Shields, is still in the concussion protocol.
Shields played extremely well last week, holding Jaguars’ wide receiver Allen Robinson to just 72 yards on 15 targets. He will not play this week and may be out for an extended period with his past concussion history.
Jordy Nelson caught a touchdown in his first game back from a torn ACL, and he played 54-64 snaps in the opener. He said that he had “heavy legs” after the loss, but not setbacks. He is expected to be a near every-down player going forward.
The Vikings were in Tennessee last Sunday to take on the Titans. Offensively, Minnesota looked awful in the first half, where they were shut out and trailing 10-0. The second half was much different.
They outscored the Titans 25-6 in the second half, including forcing three turnovers in seven minutes, two of which resulted in scores. Eric Kendricks intercepted a pass and returned it 77 yards for a touchdown and Danielle Hunter returned a fumble in the next quarter. By the middle of the fourth quarter, the game was well in hand for the Vikings.
Shaun Hill started for Teddy Bridgewater, who is out for the season due to injury. Sam Bradford, who was acquired in a trade with Philadelphia before Week 1 will start this week. He has had two weeks to learn the offense and is an upgrade over Hill in terms of talent.
Minnesota is also having issues with their top cornerback. Xavier Rhodes has been ruled out this week after not playing in Week 1. He is battling a knee injury but isn’t expected to need surgery. He’s only expected to miss a few games. Backup, Trae Waynes will start in his place.
Minnesota is one of my favorite bets this week. Let’s remember, this team won the division last year. They’re not flashy. In fact, they’re kind of boring, but Bradford isn’t much of a downgrade from Bridgewater and the Vikings have a strong running game and defense.
Reverse line movement is telling us what we need to know and exactly where the sharp money is going. Despite almost all the bets going on Green Bay, the odds didn’t move to -3.5 for the Packers, but they went in the opposite direction.
It sets up as a potential let-down spot for the Pack after a road win against Jacksonville. With Jordy catching a touchdown and their offense rolling through a weak Jaguars defense – their confidence may be a little too high right now.
Take Minnesota with confidence, but perhaps wait until closer to game time. This will be a “bailout” game for bettors who want to recoup their losses from earlier in the day. It’s also a prime time game that is nationally televised, which also garners a lot more recreational betting action. The odds may move to +3 or better in favor of Minnesota.
Pick: Vikings +2