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NFL Week 9 – Lions vs. Packers

Are you ready for some football? A Monday night party! Ok, I might not be Hank Williams Jr. with a guitar singing the intro song, but I am here to get you fired about the Monday Night Football game in week 9.

Jon Gruden and Sean McDonough will be calling the play-by-play live on Monday night. Don’t forget to tune into ESPN at 8:30 pm EST to catch the action from historic Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. More than 80,000 screaming “cheese heads” will be rooting on their beloved Packers when their division rival Detroit Lions’ squad rolls into town.

My goal with this blog is talk about what each team will be trying to do on the field once the ball kicks off on Monday evening. More importantly, how will all the information and details affect the betting landscape.

Think of the following sections as your go-to guide for what you need to know before you decide who and what to wager for Monday night’s tilt.

After all, I suspect you want to win some money betting the game.

Let’s take a head-first dive straight into the matchup this week. There are some key injuries to discuss and lot’s game plan tendencies we need to pay attention to.

Where: Lambeau Field Green Bay, Wisconsin
When: Monday 11/6 8:30 pm EST
Opening Line: Pick O/U 43

Right away, I need to point out the first glaring fact. The line may have opened at an even “pick-em” but the sharp bettors didn’t let that last very long. Within a few hours of releasing the odds, we saw the line go from a pick to the Lions -2.5. That’s a pretty significant jump.

Let’s consider how and why this happened.

The Big Line Jump

I certainly am not an NFL betting expert, but here’s what I know. For the line to surge by 2.5 points that quickly, a lot of money came in right away. When I refer to “a lot of money” in the context of sports betting, I am talking about the sharp bettors. The line doesn’t move based on how many betting tickets there are on one side. It’s how much money is bet on one side that shifts the line up or down.

The goal of the sportsbooks and online sports betting sites is to try and have an equal amount of money bet on each side of a specific contest. That way they aren’t liable for a big loss and they just collect “the juice”.

The line soaring by 2.5 points in the Lions favor means the betting sites are trying to balance the money out.

In my years of studying sports betting, there’s something I have noticed. It might not be something you have paid much attention to, but that should change now. I am talking about specific numbers I like to call “teasers”. Not the kind of teasers that you get to adjust the line on multiple games and bet parlays on them.

I am talking about the kind of “teasers” that betting sites and the Vegas sportsbooks have in place for that potential bettors.

Key Numbers

When most people think about key numbers while betting football games, the numbers 3 and 7 immediately come to mind. Because so many football games are decided by a touchdown or a field goal, betting sites use the numbers 3 and 7 as “key numbers”. You will see lots of football games kick-off with a team favored by exactly 3 or exactly 7 points.

So, what does that tell us when the line doesn’t quite get to that key number of 3 or 7?
My following theory isn’t founded on personal opinions. It is based on recent trends and past results.

When I see an online sports betting site offer a team at -2.5 or -6.5, I see one thing. I see the betting site is essentially “begging me” to take that side. They understand bettors are fully aware of how important the numbers 3 and 7 are in football lines.

Bettors think that they are getting some sort of bargain by only having to lay 2.5 instead of 3 points, or 6.5 instead of 7 points. The reality is the books could easily shift that -2.5 line to -3. When they leave the line at 2.5, it makes me wonder. It makes me believe the betting sites actually want me to bet on the Lions. By making the line look appetizing (2.5 or 6.5) the sportsbooks and online betting sites can sway bettors towards one side.

My theory is generally to go against whatever side the public is leaning on. I don’t want to do what everyone else is doing.

We should take a closer look at both sides of the football. Now that we have introduced the line and its movement, let’s break down the matchup on the field. Let’s begin with the visitors.

Detroit Lions

Coming in at 3-4, Detroit is in need of finding a way to win this game. The Lions have dropped three straight games after starting the season 3-1. Let’s look at what has gone wrong for Jim Caldwell’s bunch over the past few weeks.

33 points. That is how many points per game the opposition is averaging against the Lions over the course of the past three games. Two of these losses came at Ford Field in front of their home fans. Their defense is going to have to step up and reduce that average if the Lions are going to have a chance on Monday night.

I like Matthew Stafford. I think he has a tremendous amount of talent. I also believe in his leadership qualities. What I am not sold on is the offensive line and offensive weapons that surround Stafford. #9 can’t do it on his own, he needs help. Golden Tate appears to be healthy, so that should help the team sustain drives.

The Lions complete inability to run the football has haunted them in the past. I am afraid the skeletons may come out of the closet again this week. Detroit can’t trust their offensive line and they don’t have a guy in their backfield that can pound out yards.

It doesn’t help that the Lions have found themselves trailing in the second half in a number of games this season. When they are trailing, they have no choice but to put the pressure on the shoulders of their quarterback. The Lions are 4th in the NFL in pass attempts per game and 24th in the league in rushing attempts per game.

One thing is clear. If the Lions are to go on the road and defeat the Packers on Monday night- expect them to do it on the heels of Matt Stafford. If he struggles, then chalk this one up in the L column for Detroit.

How about the Packers? What strategies will they look to employ against Teryl Austin’s defense?

Green Bay Packers

Green Bay fans, I know. None of you are in the best of moods, nor have you been the past two weeks. After storming out of the gates to a 4-1 start, the Packers hopes and dreams for a Super Bowl Run this season came crashing down- literally. When Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr drove franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers’s right shoulder into the ground, he was essentially putting the final stamp on the Packers season.

Since Rodgers left that game, the Packers offense has looked like a shell of itself. Backup Brett Hundley, unfortunately, hasn’t been able to convert 3rd downs and maintain drives. After scoring only 10 points against Minnesota, Green Bay only scored 17 points against the Saints.

I know they have had a bye week to try and get this thing sorted out. I just am not convinced there is enough time in the world to get Hundley up to NFL speed.

Let’s face it. Since Hundley took over for Green Bay, Hundley has completed only 52.7% of his passes. He has thrown one touchdown despite throwing four interceptions and fumbling the ball twice.

I have no personal opinion on Hundley, I just go by what the data tells me. The facts tell me that Brett Hundley has been unable to read defenses and make quality decisions. IF that continues on Monday night against a speedy Lions defense, this one could get ugly. Not in terms of being a blowout, but in terms of looking very sloppy.

This leads me to my favorite bet of the game. I think the Lions should be able to find a way to beat the depleted Packers, given who Green Bay is putting out on the field. However, the Lions have let me down too many times in the past to put all my eggs in one basket.

Conclusion – Best Bet

That’s why I like the under in this game. 43 isn’t a ton of points, but let’s remember what we are dealing with.

Detroit can’t run the ball whatsoever. Green Bay knows this and will be loading up the defensive backfield with cornerbacks and safeties to prevent Matt Stafford from slinging the ball around the field. Trying to do this on the road in a hostile environment isn’t something I have a lot of confidence will work out too well for Detroit.

On the other side of the ball, Green Bay’s offense is a complete mess. They can’t run the ball and they can’t throw the ball. Last time I checked, that’s not a good offensive recipe to try and score points.

This is exactly why I don’t see a bunch of points being scored Monday night. With a kick-off temperature that will be somewhere in the 30s (degrees Fahrenheit), players will be gasping for breaths. Two sputtering offenses and banged up offensive lines doesn’t lead me to believe this is going to be any sort of shoot-out.

Not every football game has to be enjoyed purely because the level of football being played is so great. Of course, we would much rather watch a highly-contested game with two teams who have all their star players healthy and playing. But there’s another point of view we need to consider.

Winning money betting on the game isn’t too bad of a consolation prize, is it?

Enjoy the game and good luck betting!

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