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NFC Championship Preview: Green Bay Packers vs. Atlanta Falcons Betting Advice

By Paul Wilson in Sports
| January 20, 2017 12:00 am PDT
Falcons vs Packers NFC Championship

Who: Green Bay Packers (10–6) vs. Atlanta Falcons (11–5)

Where: Georgia Dome. Atlanta, Georgia

When: Sunday, January 22, 2017. 3:05 PM (EST)

The National Football League’s 2016/17 season has finally come down to this: The Final Four.

Four teams now remain standing, with only one game standing between them and the ability to compete for the right to call themselves World Champions and winners of Super Bowl LI. The representative of the National Football Conference will be decided this Sunday when the Green Bay Packers travel to Georgia and take on the Atlanta Falcons for the last home NFL game ever to be played in the Georgia Dome.

The stakes could not be any higher.

For fans of these two franchises, it has been a long period of waiting; both have legitimate cause to feel that they are entitled to head to the Super Bowl this season. In the case of the Atlanta Falcons, the arrival of Matt Ryan in 2008 and the subsequent four playoff trips under his leadership made Falcons fans feel that they could be perennial playoff contenders, and that they would always be in contention to win the Super Bowl.

However, back-to-back 4–12 and 6–10 seasons undoubtedly shook their confidence, and ultimately prompted the front office to try to boost their chances by trying out a new head coach, switching out the incumbent Mike Smith for newcomer Dan Quinn.

Now, back to their old winning ways and looking very much like the team that Falcons fans dreamed they could be, with Matt Ryan the putative MVP of the league and playing the best football of his entire career, the Falcons are looking to surpass the mark they made in 2012, where after their one playoff win of the Matt Ryan era, they followed it up with a crushing home loss in the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers, who would go on to lose Super Bowl XLVII to the Baltimore Ravens.

This game against the Green Bay Packers marks the next (and last) opportunity for Matt Ryan and the Falcons to get a shot at redemption: To earn a chance to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl by winning a home game at the Georgie Dome in front of the home crowd.

But the Green Bay Packers stand in the way, and no matter how picturesque the storyline may be for the Atlanta Falcons to make it to their first Super Bowl in the Matt Ryan era, Rodgers and company have their own dreams to play for.

For Green Bay fans, it has been a full six seasons since they made it all the way to the Super Bowl, despite having made it to the playoffs nine times since Mike McCarthy became head coach and despite having made it to the NFC Championship game in three of those 9 postseason runs.

Packers fans will of course remember that they won the Super Bowl that year, but they will also be hard-pressed to forget the fact that they have only made it to one Super Bowl with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, and while his play has certainly shown absolutely no signs of decline, at age 33 the Packers know that they may not have an overabundance of opportunities to capitalize on the greatness of a quarterback who is essentially already a lock to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

In summary, in this matchup we find two franchises that are both unquestionably hungry to get back to the dance. We see one quarterback struggling to overcome the backhanded compliment of being dubbed the putative “Best Quarterback Never to Appear in a Super Bowl;” another quarterback who is anxious to cement his legacy as one of the greatest of all time.

The storylines abound, and the game should be as close and exciting as advertised. But whatever the ultimate storyline may be for players, coaches, and fans, it remains true that this game and the potential outcomes to be predicted hold potential value for gamblers.

Below we’ll review all of the various ways in which you could bet on this historic NFC Championship game, including moneyline odds, bets against the spread, the total score over/under, as well as any individual prop bets that could potentially hold value in this matchup.

Packers vs. Falcons Betting

  • Packers +174
  • Falcons -196

Deciding which team’s moneyline odds to wager on is really just deciding which team will win. But of course, this is not as easy as it sounds. Our approach to pick the ultimate winner of the game is to decide on the team that we believe will keep playing with heart, drive, grit, and determination throughout the entire game.

We feel that the team that’s able to stay engaged generally makes fewer mistakes, thus keeping the momentum on their side and picking up points here and there until they ultimately win the game.

During the latter half of the regular season, playoff implications make a huge difference in making this assessment. Team that are playing to keep their postseason dreams alive generally usually stay more focused and play harder than teams already eliminated.

But in the postseason the same “win or go home” mentality drives players on both teams each week, so you can no longer rely on any playoff seeding implications to judge which team will be able to maintain drive and heart throughout the entire course of the game. This is why in the postseason we have to take a deeper view of the two teams in order to determine whether or not they have what it takes.

The first factor that we like to consider is home field advantage, which undoubtedly favors the Falcons. As we mentioned above, this game is now guaranteed to be the last home game that will ever be played by the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome.

Set to be bulldozed in the Spring of 2017 in order to make room for parking for the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, just a stone’s throw away, Atlanta fans who have been watching the Falcons play in this stadium for decades now will undoubtedly be having strong emotions about the stadium, not to mention about the opportunity for Matt Ryan to head to his first Super Bowl.

So the Georgie Dome is undoubtedly going to be sent off with the loudest, fullest Falcons home game on record, and the noise could definitely impact some of the younger Packers players.

It is true that the Packers gained valuable experience playing in a dome last week against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium, and it’s also true that the Packers’ offensive line group has played together for nearly the entire year, and requires very little pre-snap communication at the line of scrimmage in order to maintain their protections.

The Packers’ O-Line is also one of the most disciplined in the league, committing among the fewest penalties of any team in the league despite the fact that their quarterback holds the ball for among the longest in the league.

So there’s little worry that the communication difficulties prompted by being in a loud dome stadium will have any sort of an impact on the line, and that we wouldn’t expect pre-snap penalties or protection issues to place the Packers into more unfavorable down and distance than the home team, particularly considering the mobility and escapability of Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

But among the younger skill players, especially if the injuries to Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams require rookie wide receiver Trevor Davis to receive a significant amount of snaps, there is certainly the potential for the loud dome environment to prompt penalties or mistakes more often than if the Packers had been playing at home, and so we give a slight advantage to the Falcons based on home-field advantage.

As was foreshadowed by our comment immediately above about Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams, another factor that we believe to be crucial in deciding which teams will have the hunger and the drive necessary to play a full 60-minute contest and to win playoff games is the health of the football teams.

Particularly in high-pressure situations, it’s paramount to have the most experienced players available on the field. Not only is it easier to get distracted in the playoffs, and so it’s vital to have a good muscle memory for things like protections and route concepts, it’s also true that players who have playoff experience are able to approach the game more methodically, and don’t get rattled quite as easily after a mistake or a shift in momentum.

In terms of playoff experience, globally, the Packers undoubtedly have the edge. Not only do the Packers have a greater total number of players on the field that have played in a playoff game, but they also have played in more playoff games as a franchise, and the most long-standing members of the team (including coach Mike McCarthy, quarterback Aaron Rodgers, wide receiver Jordy Nelson, kicker Mason Crosby and others), have played in two more NFC Championship games than have Matt Ryan and the Falcons.

However, these veterans play on the same snaps as the rookies and less experienced players, so it’s important to take a holistic view of the health of the team. In the case of the Packers, it would be a big blow if their offense were to be without #1 and #2 wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams.

While #4 and #5 wide receivers Geronimo Allison and Jeff Janis are also listed on the injury report, there’s a much greater likelihood that these two players are available for the game than Nelson and Adams. In practice this week, the majority of the snaps have been going to #3 wide receiver Randall Cobb and #6 Trevor Davis, a rookie who has played in several games this year but has recently been a healthy scratch with the availability of other, better options.

Given the fact that the Packers have two healthy tight ends, two healthy fullbacks, and two healthy running backs (one of which, Ty Montgomery, is able to run routes and catch passes as he is a converted wide receiver), Packer fans have less reason for concern, as McCarthy and Rodgers still have more than enough resources to throw a multitude of different personnel packages at the Falcons’ defense.

Furthermore, the Packers’ offense is still sporting the best pass protecting offensive line in football, so even with less experienced receiving threats, after 8 or 9 seconds it becomes impossible for any defensive back to cover a receiver, no matter how young or inexperienced that receiver may be.

On the Falcons side of the ball, their primary injuries lie on the defense, with team sack leader Vic Beasley dealing with injury and #2 sack leader Adrian Clayborn recently placed on injured reserve. Beasley, the team’s breakout star this season who led the league in sacks with 15.5 and was both voted to the Pro Bowl and nominated 1st Team All-Pro, is not listed on the injury report but is nonetheless dealing with an injury that could limit him.

Star wide receiver and team touchdown leader Julio Jones has been limited from practice for the Falcons, still recovering from a turf toe injury that has plagued him throughout the latter half of the season, but there is no doubt that he will suit up and play against the Packers.

Given the fact that the injuries for the Packers lie primarily in their receiving corps (with the defensive secondary actually liable to get healthier this week if #2 cornerback Quentin Rollins is able to exit the concussion protocol), and further given the fact that this is complemented by the Falcons’ primary injuries being on the defensive side, we call the injury situation a wash, and give neither team a major advantage based on injuries.

Ultimately, we believe that this game is extraordinarily difficult to call, and should be an intensely hard-fought matchup. We don’t believe that either team has a clear and obvious advantage, and we believe that the winner of the game will ultimately be the team that will be able to make fewer mistakes, to win the turnover margin, and to have those lucky, momentum-changing plays bounce their way.

In this way, despite the fact that we honestly believe it’s possible that either team could win this game, we are going to give the slightest of edges to the Green Bay Packers, purely because of the “best player on the field” test.

The Packers’ full confidence in Aaron Rodgers gives them an automatic edge in momentum, and this confidence has been borne out by years of playoff success, a Super Bowl victory, and nearly three months of continuously record-breaking play.

In the end, if you’re looking for an edge, look to the Hail Mary: Even if the Packers were losing by 5 points with 10 seconds left in the game, if Aaron Rodgers had the ball, you know that the Packers would have a chance to win. And more importantly, the Packers’ players would know this too, and it would show in the way they play.

Pick: Packers to win

  • Packers +4 (+105)
  • Falcons -4 (-125)

So now that we’ve established our pick of a Packers win in this game due to the fact that they believe that they have the best player on the field (and they do), our bet against the spread has been made for us, given the fact that the Packers are giving four points.

For this reason, in this section we will merely continue our argument for the Packers to win the game by considering the offenses, and whether they will be able to score points.

The biggest storyline for this game, in terms of the offenses involved, is not whether the two offenses are potent and whether or not they will be able to score points. As their track records during the regular season and so far in the playoffs have amply demonstrated, both of these teams are more than capable of putting up enormous numbers, and neither defense looks very well-suited to be able to stop the other team.

The more interesting comparison to make in this game – and, in our minds, the most crucial comparison to determine whether or not the Packers really do have what it takes to win the game – is the comparison between the two quarterbacks.

In fact, looking at the numbers between these two quarterbacks during the 2016/17 regular season, the similarities are almost uncanny. Rodgers and Ryan are the top two in the league in terms of touchdowns (Rodgers with 40, Ryan with 38), and both have only 7 interceptions.

They are also both in the top five for passer rating, with Matt Ryan leading the league with an average passer rating of 117.1, less than 5 points off of the original single season passer rating set in 2011 by none than Aaron Rodgers himself. Additionally, they have both been sacked a fair amount throughout the year, 35 times for Rodgers and 37 for Matty Ice.

The major difference between the two quarterbacks lies in their average yards per passing attempt, with Matt Ryan leading the league with 9.26 yards per pass attempt and Aaron Rodgers dead set in the middle of the pack with 7.26 yards per attempt.

This difference likely has to do primarily with the difference in the run game between these two teams: The Falcons averaged 120.5 yards per game and had 20 rushing touchdowns, both good for top five in the league. The Packers were 20th in both categories, with 106.3 yards per game and 11 total rushing touchdowns.

As the Falcons were ranked 12th in the rushing attempts per game and the Packers were ranked 29th, it’s clear that the increase in passing attempts for Rodgers is one big reason why his average yards per attempt are lower than Matt Ryan’s.

Another factor influencing Ryan’s average yards per attempt has been his astonishing accuracy in down-the-field passing. The Falcons are 3rd in the league in the number of 20+ yard receptions, with 69. Seventeen of these have gone for 40+ yards, which is #1 in the entire NFL this season. Rodgers and company, by comparison, are ranked 6th for 20+ yard receptions and 10th in 40+ yard receptions.

For Matt Ryan’s detractors, it would be easy to say that this success down the field has been entirely because of the fact that Atlanta happens to have Julio Jones on the roster, who happens to be (probably) the best receiver in the league. Detractors would say that Matt Ryan gets bailed out relatively often by Julio either getting incredibly open, or making an incredible catch.

And while there is undoubtedly a certain degree of truth in this, to limit the success of Ryan and the Falcons’ passing offense to just Julio Jones is to grossly oversimplify. First of all, it’s important to give the oft-cited caveat that Julio Jones has been injured during stretches throughout the season, ensuring that Matt Ryan has had to get the ball to other targets.

But it’s not just this: Consider the fact that even with Julio Jones missing games, he still leads the Falcons in touchdowns. And further consider the fact that even though he leads the team in touchdowns, he only has 6.

What this means is that unlike Aaron Rodgers, who is throwing the ball to two receivers who rank #1 in touchdowns (Jordy Nelson with 14) and tied for #2 in touchdowns (Davante Adams with 12), Matt Ryan has had to spread the ball around much more. 26 of Aaron Rodgers’ 40 touchdowns (65%) went to these two guys; Matt Ryan has thrown touchdowns to 13 different players, with seven of these 13 players catching between 3 and 6 touchdowns.

And not only has Matt Ryan distributed the ball between a variety of different players this season, he has also been extraordinarily efficient (leading the league with a passer rating over 117) despite having a very fast-paced offense.

Despite the fact that a quick-moving system generally causes more mistakes or miscommunications, Matt Ryan has handled the ball exceptionally well even while keeping the pace high. Astonishingly, the Falcons are tied with the New England Patriots for the fewest giveaways during the regular season.

But taking nothing away from Matt Ryan and the incredible season that he has had, the fact of the matter is that it remains true that the best player on the field on Sunday will be the quarterback leading the Green Bay Packers.

It’s undoubtedly true that Aaron Rodgers has not been able to maintain the same level of production as Matt Ryan throughout the entire season, with Rodgers and the Packers’ offense looking decidedly out of sync during the early part of the season. Even if you limit the window to the last 8 games, in which Rodgers has gone 8–0, has completed 68.9% of his passes, and has recorded 21 touchdowns with only 1 interception and averaged just under 300 yards per game, Matt Ryan still matches this pretty much step for step.

But the one thing that Matt Ryan can’t match is the special plays that Aaron Rodgers is able to make outside of the pocket.

Rodgers leads the league with an average of over two-and-a-half seconds from snap to throw. Over the past 8 games, when he was flushed out of the pocket, he averaged 70 passing yards per game outside of the pocket – 20 yards more than any other quarterback – and has somehow managed to record a 143.9 passer rating with 8 touchdowns and 0 interceptions when making these throws.

This is an x-factor that no other quarterback in the playoffs, no other quarterback in the NFL today, and perhaps no other quarterback in history has ever been able to lay claim to. For Rodgers to be able to have this astonishing degree of success outside the pocket adds an entire element to the Packers’ offense that simply gives them an advantage that no other team has.

The Packers practice the scramble drill so often that it is essentially second-nature now, and their receivers – even undrafted rookie Geronimo Allison – have a chemistry and an instinctual connection with Rodgers that enables them to get open and make big plays well after the defense has lost contain.

So in summary, it’s true that this matchup is incredibly close to call. We can’t even look at their last matchup to gain any clues.

When these two teams met earlier this season, neither team’s offensive identity looked remotely similar to what it is now. The Packers started two running backs then who are no longer on the roster, and are now starting two talented backs that were no even present in meeting rooms during that stretch of the season. The Falcons, similarly, were without Tevin Coleman, and did not have nearly the consistency in the run game that they have enjoyed throughout the second half of the season.

But even though the teams are very different, we nonetheless feel confident that this game will be just as close as it was in October, where the Falcons scored a touchdown in the waning seconds to win the game by one point.

This time, however, we believe that it will be the best player on the field and the best player in the National Football League that ends up with the ball in his hands, and ends up putting his team on top to take his franchise down to Houston and compete for the right to be called World Champions and winners of Super Bowl LI.

Pick: Packers to win, covering the spread

FootballTotal Score
  • Over 61.5 (-110)
  • Under 61.5 (-110)

Having established our view of the game that the Green Bay Packers will win this game despite spotting the Falcons 4 points on the line, we’ll now consider whether the total score will end up above or below 61.5 points.

Our approach with the over/under is to look at the defenses and determine whether or not they have what it takes to match up against the opposing offense and get off the field on third downs, stop drives before they end up in points, and keep their quarterback on the field.

In this case, there’s not much to talk about, as there hasn’t been much defense to speak of for either of these teams throughout the regular season. Both of these teams rank in the bottom ten in terms of points per game and 3rd-down conversion percentage, the Packers were the worst team in the league in terms of pass yards given up per attempt, and the Falcons were 25th in the league in rush yards given up per attempt.

The Falcons defense undoubtedly improved after their bye week, however. In their first 12 games of the 2016/17 regular season, the Falcons defense gave up 27.6 points and 381.7 yards per game, allowing opposing quarterbacks over 280 yards per game on average and taking the ball away an average of 1.1 times per game.

In the five subsequent games (including last week’s win over Seattle in the divisional round), Atlanta has given up an average of only 19 points per game, allowing 50 fewer yards on offense (60 fewer passing yards) and doubling the average number of turnovers.

The Packers also have quite a similar story of improving throughout the regular season. As has been talked about ad nauseam in the media this week, the turning point for their season was Aaron Rodgers’ now infamous assessment that the Packers could “run the table,” and the defense certainly answered the call.

Due primarily to increased health in the secondary and increased experience for young backup players, the Packers defense started getting some swagger back, and the biggest change was in the turnover margin. After their first ten games, the Packers sat at 4–6 with only 10 takeaways; in the ensuing 8 games (including their two playoff victories against the Giants and Cowboys), the Packers defense has taken the ball away 18 times, while the offense has given it away only twice.

Importantly, their overall statistical picture and their inability to stop teams from getting in the end-zone has not really changed: The big difference has been primarily that the Packers are now more likely to stop the opposing team’s drive by causing a turnover – taking any chance for points off the board and giving the ball back to Aaron Rodgers – and also more likely to finish drives with points of their own.

And so, when you look at two defenses that started the season so poorly and then came on so strong during the last month of the year and into the playoffs, it’s impossible to rely on statistics collected over the whole year in order to make our assessment of whether or not the game will be high- or low-scoring.

Taking a more personalized view of the teams, we see that the Falcons’ strength on defense is their pass rush, as with Vic Beasley they sport the NFL’s sack leader. Unfortunately, however, this doesn’t help the Falcons all that much, as the Packers have what is probably the best pass protecting offensive line in football, including two offensive tackles that have started every game this season and were more than enough to handle Beasley in the first matchup of these two teams.

This combined with the fact that Aaron Rodgers is just as good if not better when he is under pressure or when he is flushed outside the pocket means that the Falcons’ primary strength on defense is unlikely to help them very much against the Packers. Thus, we find it a lock that Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense will absolutely be able to move the ball against the Falcons and score a lot of points, regardless of whether or not they have receivers Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams available.

On the side of the Packers, the argument is even easier. The Packers also have a healthy pass rush, with Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, and Nick Perry all able to put pressure on the quarterback at times. Dom Capers, the defensive coordinator, is also known for bringing a variety of different secondary blitzes as well, and with Matt Ryan not being a very mobile quarterback, it’s possible that the Packers could put pressure on (though it’s true that Atlanta has gotten consistently solid play from their offensive line in pass protection).

However, this also doesn’t really help the Packers against the Falcons, however, because Matt Ryan habitually gets the ball out of his hands incredibly quickly, meaning that there will be little time for pass rushers to get home.

This in combination with the fact that the Packers’ secondary has been ravaged by injuries throughout the entire season makes a very strong case that the Falcons will also be able to put up serious numbers against the Packers.

In the secondary, the Packers first lost #1 corner Sam Shields early in the season, placed on IR with a concussion and designated before the playoffs not to return. Subsequently, #2 corner Damarious Randall missed several games with a variety of injuries. Backup cornerbacks Demetri Goodson and Makinton Dorleant were also lost for the season.

In the final game of the regular season, two secondary players were lost for the game on back-to-back plays – this is the kind of season it has been for Green Bay. Last week against the Cowboys, when starting safety Morgan Burnett was lost for the game early in the second quarter with a quadriceps injury, the Packers were left with a rookie safety (Kentrell Brice) a rookie cornerback (Josh Hawkins), and a second-year undrafted cornerback (Ladarius Gunter) playing key snaps to cover the Cowboys’ receivers.

While this hodgepodge of players did hold up admirably, the fact of the matter was that Dallas inexplicably refused to run the ball late in the game despite the fact that the Packers were in nickel defense, leaving inadequate run support in the box.

Put simply, the Cowboys decided to try and beat the Packers by throwing the ball despite the fact that the Packers had an extra guy in the secondary in order to shore up their deficiencies there.

While Atlanta may not feature the NFL’s 2016/17 rushing leader, they do have a strong two-headed attack with Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, and can undoubtedly take it to the Packers both running and passing. Provided that they have more sense than the Cowboys’ coaches did, they’ll be able to move the ball either on the ground or through the air, depending on the defense that the Packers are in.

In summary, with the Packers both featuring Aaron Rodgers on offense and having great deficiencies on defense, we find it an absolute lock that this game will be incredibly high-scoring, and it would take a much higher total score than 61.5 for us to even consider taking the under.

Pick: Falcons 38, Packers 40

FootballProp Bets

Having decided on our overall view of the game, that Green Bay will win a high-powered, offensive shoot-out and the defenses of both teams will struggle to stop the other team’s offense, let’s now consider any individual prop bets that could enable us to wager money on this exact storyline.

In terms of global prop bets, with so little football remaining there’s little left to talk about. Of the four remaining teams, this may be the last time to get good odds that one of them are going to win the Super Bowl. Currently, on the Bovada sportsbook, the Patriots are listed at +150, the Falcons at +260, the Packers at +375, and the Steelers at +425.

Bovada also has a sort of built-in parlay, in which you can now bet on the exact matchup you expect to see in the Super Bowl. The options available (of course) are the Patriots winning and playing the Falcons (+130) or the Packers (+250); there is also the Steelers winning and playing the Falcons (+325) or the Steelers (+600).

But if you are very interested in parlaying both of these two games together, we wonder if you wouldn’t be able to squeeze better value out of a straight up moneyline parlay, or alternatively to just put together a two-team teaser. Much like the special deals in the catalog, if it’s specifically advertised to you then you know it’s probably not going to be a good value.

We would definitely avoid taking these bets an even further step and betting on the exact outcome of the Super Bowl at this juncture. The odds do climb as high as +900 (Steelers beat Packers), but this is an incredibly risky bet. It’s essentially a three-team teaser, except without the possibility of a backdoor cover. With three games in the mix, each of which could potentially go in any direction, stay away.

As far as individual player bets, we do like either Aaron Rodgers (+180) or Matt Ryan (+200) to record the most passing yards. There is likely to be much more defense played in the Steelers/Pats game than there will be in the Packers/Falcons game, so perhaps even consider hedging these two bets, and simply betting both quarterbacks. If you can time it such that you get 2-to-1 odds or better for both bets, then hedging with both is a guaranteed win (assuming that one of the two quarterbacks do, indeed, record the greatest number of passing yards).

Matt Ryan’s MVP odds contain no value, so definitely avoid betting on that (he’s currently listed at -800 at the Bovada sportsbook).

As for additional prop bets and ways in which you could place wagers on the view of the game that we’ve developed above, there are a host of bets that contain good value. For one minor bet, consider putting money on the Green Bay Packers to score last in the game, currently getting even odds at the Bovada sportsbook. We established above that we believe this game will come down to whoever has the ball in their hands as time expires, and we also believe that the Packers will win. So getting even odds to wager on this exact outcome is a strong bet.

By the same token, if the Packers do end up winning by scoring on the last possession of the game, their margin of victory is guaranteed to be between 1 and 6 points, an outcome which is currently getting +425 at the Bovada sportsbook. If you are banking on this game being close and coming down to the wire, you can always hedge this bet with a bet on the Falcons to win the game by 1-6 points, which at +275 still provides good value even when your overall capital is split between the two conflicting outcomes.

Other ways in which you can bet on the overall outcome of the game include the total touchdowns bet, though the value isn’t great. The line is well-set at 7 touchdowns scored overall, and with negative odds for both (-125 for the over and -105 for the under), there’s not great value in this bet despite the fact that we do believe there will be a lot of touchdowns scored in this game.

The exact number of touchdowns bet obviously offers incredible value, but is unfortunately nearly impossible to predict. Our best estimate would be 6, 7, or 8 touchdowns, and with each of these getting at least +450 or better, there’s actually a fair value to be found in hedging an overall bet and putting an equal amount of money on each of these three outcomes. So long as the amount of money wagered on each is the same, if one of them wins then you will make a profit on that outcome.

We also think that the longest touchdown yardage in the game being over 48.5 yards is a safe bet, though at -125 there is no value in it. The same is true of the total number of field goals. We would take the total over, as well as the over for both individual teams, but the odds are not favorable.

Finally, in terms of individual player bets, we would quite simply recommend that you bet everyone. If a skill player is expected to be healthy in this game, (read: avoid Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams), then bet with the confidence that they have a great chance of getting a large number of targets, touches/receptions, and touchdowns.

By the same token, in this game we would advise avoiding any individual bets on the defense. As we discussed above, with the two quarterbacks involved in this matchup, and with the personnel limitations for the Green Bay Packers, there is no reason to believe that a defensive score or a high sack total is sure to happen in this matchup.

Summary: Best Bets

In summary, we believe that the last game played in the Georgia Dome before it is demolished later this year could very well be the best game played in the Georgia Dome, and ultimately the most tragic for the Atlanta Falcons. We envision a very hard-fought, very high-scoring game that will ultimately end up being close throughout the entire matchup, with two very high-octane offenses exchanging body blows throughout the entire contest. Ultimately we think that whichever team holds the ball last will win the game, and we believe that the unbelievable play of Aaron Rodgers will ultimately give the Packers the edge and send them to the Super Bowl in Houston to compete for the right to be called World Champions.

Here are our best bets:

  • Packers moneyline (+174)
  • Packers against the spread (+4, +105)
  • Over 61.5 total points scored in the game (-110)
  • Packers to score last in the game (EVEN)
  • Packers to win by 1-6 points (+425)



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