The San Francisco 49ers will not only battle the Green Bay Packers and legions of Cheese Heads at Lambeau Field but also the brutal Wisconsin winter, which is forecasted to throw temperatures as low as zero degrees at the Californian visitors Sunday night.
Those bone-chilling temperatures could have many bettors leaning toward the acclimated home team (Packers +2.5) and the Under (45.5) Sunday night. However, recent history has shown the exact opposite when handicapping cold weather contests.
Home teams in games played in 19 degrees or below are 17-16-1 SU but just 13-22-0 ATS since 2004 – covering only 37 percent of the time. Drop that temperature to single digits and hosts are 3-2 SU and 1-4 ATS in that span. Lambeau Field has been the venue for three of those five cold-weather contests, with the Packers going 1-2 and 0-3 ATS.
Green Bay lost to New York, 23-20, as a 7.5-point home favorite in the 2008 NFC Championship with temperatures dipping to -1 degree. It fell 24-21 to the Houston Texans as 7-point home chalk on Dec. 7, 2008 in 3 degree weather, and beat the Atlanta Falcons 22-21 but failed to cover the 3.5-point spread in 9 degree temperatures at Lambeau in Week 14 of this season.
As for betting the NFL totals in cold weather games, the chilly surroundings haven’t cooled down offenses. Games played in 19 degrees or below have produced a 23-11-1 Over/Under record (67 percent Over) since 2004, with single-digit temperature contests coming out with a 2-3 O/U mark.
Green Bay isn’t the only place feeling the cold this Wild Card Weekend. The Philadelphia Eagles play host to the New Orleans Saints with the forecast at Lincoln Financial Field calling for a low of 27 degrees. And the Cincinnati Bengals welcome the San Diego Chargers to Paul Brown Stadium, where the thermometer is expected to teeter on the freezing point with a 100 percent chance of snow.
In games played below freezing – 31 degrees or less – home teams are 85-55-1 SU and 69-71-1 ATS since 2004. The biggest eyebrow raiser is the Over/Under mark in these cold weather matchups, with those contests finishing with a 84-54-3 O/U count – 60.6 percent to the Over.
The total in Philadelphia is set at 53.5 points, the number in Cincinnati is posted at 45.5, and the Over/Under in Green Bay is sitting at 45.5.
The NFC Wild Card weather in Green Bay should rank among the coldest NFL games ever and could finish as the second-coldest NFL game behind the infamous 1967 “Ice Bowl” between Green Bay and Dallas in which temperatures fell 13 degrees below zero.