Betting the Green Bay Packers as underdogs in recent seasons has been about as rare as Dracula’s steak. However, NFL bettors get that chance when the Packers limp into the Lone Star State to take on the Houston Texans in Week 6.
The early odds for Sunday night’s showdown have the Cheeseheads set as high as 5.5-point pups, facing a Texans team that is undefeated heading into Monday night’s matchup with the New York Jets.
Peter Korner, founder of the Nevada-based odds service The Sports Club, says depending on Houston’s performance at MetLife Stadium, this spread could go as high as -6 by Monday night.
“This was one of the toughest lines to make in a long time,” Korner, who sent out a suggested spread of Houston -4, told Covers. “Our guys had it as high as -7 and as low as -3.5. Houston has the short week and we’ll see what happens Monday. But this is a must-win for Green Bay.”
The Packers are reeling from a 30-27 upset loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 5, failing to cover as 6.5-point favorites and dropping to 2-3 SU and 1-4 ATS on the season.
Green Bay was an underdog only once last season, set at +6.5 versus the Detroit Lions in the final game of the season – a throw-away game for the Packers, who still won 45-41. During the 2010 regular season, Green Bay was a 14-point pup at New England with Aaron Rodgers sidelined in Week 15, a 2.5-point underdog at Atlanta in Week 12, and got 6.5 points from books visiting the Jets in Week 8.
The Packers were tagged as 1-point underdogs in their first two playoff games that year, winning and covering in both en route to a Super Bowl title. Green Bay is a profitable 5-1 ATS in its last six games as the betting underdog.
Here are the opening odds for some of the biggest games on the Week 6 schedule:
Oakland Raiders at Atlanta Falcons (-9.5, 48.5)
The undefeated Falcons opened as low as 8.5-point home favorites versus the rested Raiders and have since been bet up a point.
Korner was shocked to see so many online markets open the spread that low and suggests his clients keep this number as high as they can.
“I think that line is absurd,” says Korner, who sent out a suggested spread of Atlanta -10.5. “We set it high and will be unyielding in our advice to keep this spread high. We expect money on the favorite to be around 10-1 or 15-1.”
New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers (-6, 45.5)
These teams know each other well after two run-ins last season, including a thrilling 20-17 overtime victory for the Giants in the NFC Championship Game.
There is a measure of revenge involved, as far as 49ers backers are concerned, but oddsmakers put more weight into the teams’ current forms when making the odds. The Niners, coming off a dominant win against the Buffalo Bills, are 6-point home chalk in this heated rematch.
Korner says Nevada books will likely have this game a little higher, especially in the northern part of the state, thanks to the proximity of California and the Bay Area. The Sports Club sent out a suggested line of San Francisco -7 with the total posted two points higher at 47.
“We recommend our clients going a little higher with this spread,” says Korner. “They’re going to be blitzed by San Francisco money on the (parlay cards).”
The Niners won 27-20 as 4-point home favorites versus the Giants in Week 10 last season, then fell in overtime as 2-point home faves in the NFC Championship.
Dallas Cowboys at Baltimore Ravens (-3.5, 43.5)
The Ravens escaped Arrowhead Stadium with a weird 9-6 win over the Chiefs in Week 5, settling for three field goals from kicker Justin Tucker.
Baltimore’s new-look offense has been impressive up to that point and oddsmakers aren’t putting too much weight into the dud in Kansas City when setting the spread for Sunday’s home date versus Dallas.
“Sometimes you just need to throw away a game and forget about it, says Korner. “That’s what we’re doing with Baltimore here.”
The Cowboys had a bye week to wash away the stink of their Monday night mess against Chicago. Dallas’ offense has been terrible – ranked 30th in points (16.2 per game) – and has pushed the opening total down from 44 to 43.5. However, the Cowboys have shown a tendency to tighten the screws during the week off and boast an NFL-best 16-7 SU and ATS mark coming off the bye since 1990.
“We don’t use those past results,” Korner says of Dallas' record off the bye week. “We let the bettors look at that and bet them all they want.”