The NFC North is a log jam with all four teams showing they have the chops to top the division in 2019. Top sportsbooks get a clearer view after Week 6, when the Detroit Lions come to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football. Oddsmakers have the Packers as 4.5-point favorites.
If you’re betting the NFL odds for Lions at Packers, these are the angles and edges you need to factor into your handicapping:
Into the Lions den
Detroit is fresh off a bye week heading into Week 6, having last taken Kansas City to the brink in a 34-30 loss at home but covering as 7.5-point underdogs. The Lions played a game of keep-away with Kansas City’s potent offense, running the ball 35 times for 186 yards and dominating the football for almost 34 minutes.
The Packers entered their Sunday showdown with the Dallas Cowboys as one of the worst rushing defenses in the league, allowing five yards per carry. However, Green Bay jumped out to a quick 17-0 lead and that left the Cowboys to pull the plug on their ground game, rushing only 21 times. Dallas did managed to put up 121 yards on those limited carries for an average of almost 5.8 yards an attempt.
The Lions hope running back Kerryon Johnson can pick up where he left off in Week 4, rushing for 125 yards on 26 carries. Not only would that expose a weak Packers run stop, but it would also keep a vaunted Green Bay pass rush guessing and take pressure off quarterback Matt Stafford.
Second half horrors
The Packers exploded out of the block versus Dallas last Sunday, scoring 17 unanswered points in the opening half. On the season, Green Bay is posting an average of 8.4 points in the first quarter and following that with eight points per second quarter – a grand average of 16.4 points per first half.
However, the wheels start to wobble after the break. The Packers did put up 14 points in the third quarter versus the Cowboys but are averaging 5.6 points in the third frame on the year. And that production continues to dip in the fourth, where the Cheese Heads stink with only 1.8 points in the last 15 minutes of action.
Luckily for the Packers, the Lions stop unit hasn’t been all that stingy in the second half. Detroit is giving up 11.7 points per second half in their last games, including eight points in the fourth quarter.
The Lions know better than most that Aaron Rodgers thrives under that late-game pressure. But 2019 hasn’t been the same for the Green Bay gunslinger: he has a QBR of only 69.1 in the final quarter with no touchdowns and one interception in the last 15 minutes of the game.
The total for Monday is set at 47 points, with the Lions owning a 3-1 Over/Under record and the Packers going 3-2 O/U versus the betting totals this season.
These NFC North rivals have gone above the number in six of their last seven meetings, with the lone Under coming in a Week 17 season finale last year in which Detroit won 31-0 versus a non-playoff-bound Packers team without Rodgers for most of the game.