Little Line Movement For Monday Night Football
The Green Bay Packers will be double-digit favorites for the third time in four games when they host the Minnesota Vikings in an NFC North divisional matchup on Monday Night Football. The unbeaten Packers (8-0) are 13-point favorites against Minnesota (2-6) according to the Don Best odds screen and have gone 5-1 against the spread in their last six. Game time is scheduled for 8:35 p.m. (ET).
The only real concern for the defending Super Bowl champions this season has been on the defensive side of the ball, where they have slipped to 30th in the NFL in yards allowed, giving up nearly 400 yards per game. Last year, Green Bay ranked fifth in the league, allowing just 309.1 yards per game. The biggest difference has been through the air, as the team is surrendering almost 300 passing yards per game compared to 194.2 in 2010.
The Packers ranked second in the NFL last year with 24 picks and already have a league-high 16 this season. Their ability to generate turnovers has allowed them to play a bend, not break style of defense where they allow opponents to move down the field and rack up yards but ultimately keep stay out of the end zone for the most part.
The Vikings figure to test them again after nearly pulling off a major upset in Week 7. Rookie quarterback Christian Ponder helped them cover the spread as 10-point home underdogs in a 33-27 loss, throwing for 219 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions while running back Adrian Peterson also ran for 175 yards on 24 carries and scored once. Ponder made his first career start against Green Bay, and the two picks were the only real mistakes he made.
Minnesota is coming off a bye week after winning on the road against the Carolina Panthers in Week 8 as 3-point dogs, 24-21. Ponder threw for 236 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions to outduel fellow rookie Cam Newton. The team spent the bye getting healthier, as cornerback Antoine Winfield should be back on the field for the first time since Week 4 after recovering from a neck injury. Winfield is listed as probable on the injury report.
Green Bay’s inefficiencies on defense have not been noticeable in the standings thanks to QB Aaron Rodgers and the team’s offense. Rodgers has completed nearly 73 percent of his passes for 2,619 yards with 24 touchdowns and just three interceptions. In the first meeting with the Vikings, he calmly led the Pack on two touchdown drives within the first five minutes of the third quarter en route to a 20-0 run after they trailed 17-13 at halftime.
The NFL’s highest-scoring offense that has averaged 34.4 points per game has led to five of eight games going ‘over’ the total, including each of the past two. Last week, Green Bay held off a late rally by the San Diego Chargers in a 45-38 road victory, building a 21-7 lead at the end of the first quarter thanks to two interception returns for touchdowns.
The Packers remain No. 1 in the Don Best Linemakers Poll and may be focused on proving they can still play great defense on a national stage and in front of their home fans. Early betting has seen the opening total of 51 ½ go down to 50 ½ at some sportsbooks. The ‘over’ is 6-1 in their last seven meetings with No. 24 Minnesota, although none of the totals in those games closed higher than 47.
The weather should not be a factor in Green Bay, as the high temperature is expected to reach 51, cooling down to 35 at night under partly cloudy skies.