Thursday Night Football Betting Preview & Picks

Sep 28, 2023

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Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (+2) (-105)

Analysis: The Lions haven’t been favored over the Packers at Lambeau Field since 1986 and are 4-28 SU in Green Bay since 1992.  Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur is 16-5 ATS as an underdog, including a perfect 4-0 ATS with Jordan Love under center.  Overall, LaFleur is 45-29 ATS during his tenure with the Packers, including 17-9 ATS at night, the fourth-best record of any coach over the last 20 years.  Let’s also note that LaFleur boasts a career 16-9 ATS record against NFC North opponents.

Since 1995, NFL home underdogs are 174-111-10 ATS (61.1%) if they are projected favorites the following week, covering the spread by an average of +3.77 points per game.  Since 2004, divisional home underdogs are 76-49-2 ATS (60.8%) in September affairs, including 31-17-1 ATS (64.6%) since 2015.  NFL home underdogs in September primetime games are 29-21 SU and 33-16-1 ATS (67.3%) since 1989, including 25-11-1 ATS (69.4%) since 2010, covering the spread by an average of +3.97 points per game.  Since 2011, NFL teams with average totals of 42.5 points or less in their last three games are 103-77-8 ATS (57.2%) in games with totals of greater than 45 points, including 21-14 ATS (60%) since 2020.

Since 2008, NFC favorites of 2 points or less are 58-77-2 SU and 53-80-4 ATS (39.8%) versus teams not from the NFC East, including 8-25 SU and ATS (24.2%) since 2019, falling short of market expectations by an average of -5.03 points per game.  Detroit also falls into a negative 33-50 ATS (39.8%) system of mine that invests against certain divisional road favorites of less than three points coming off a non-divisional game versus teams off a win by fewer than five points.  These teams have failed to cover the spread by an average of -4.27 points since 1989.

LaFleur expressed optimism during Tuesday’s press conference that running back Aaron Jones and wide receiver Christian Watson would both return for Thursday night’s game against the Lions.  Jones totaled 127 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns in the first three quarters of Green Bay’s season-opener against the Bears before suffering a hamstring injury.  Watson was injured in practice on August 31 and hasn’t played a snap this season, but everything points to his return on Thursday.  Watson practiced last Wednesday and Friday and recently stated that he was “pretty close” to playing against the Saints.

Both Jones and Watson worked out extensively on the field prior to last week’s game and I would be shocked if we didn’t see both players in the huddle Thursday night.  Love leads the league in air yards per pass attempt at 10.1 and will only get better with Jones and Watson on the field.  Green Bay ranks ninth in offensive DVOA despite playing the first three weeks without their two best weapons.

Love has struggled against the blitz, averaging just 5.1 yards per pass attempt with a 42.9% completion rate, but the Lions’ secondary is banged up and I don’t think they’ll gamble by bringing a lot of pressure.  Finally, Green Bay is 13-4 SU and 14-3 ATS in its last seventeen primetime games, including 6-3 SU and 6-2-1 ATS on Thursday Night Football.  With Green Bay standing at 4-0 ATS in its last four games as a home underdog, grab the points with the Packers and invest with confidence.

Consider Betting the Under 45 points: Since 2012, home underdogs in games with totals of 45 points or less are 58-40-2 to the Under (59.2%), including 28-12 Under (70%) since 2019, covering the total by an average of 3.6 points per game. Since 2000, home underdogs in September primetime games are 34-14-1 Under (70.8%), covering the total by an average margin of 5.89 points per game. This situation is 31-9-1 Under (77.5%) since 2017 and 16-1 Under (94.1%) since September 21, 2017, covering the total by 7.24 points per game.

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