As the NFL's preseason schedule gets underway this weekend, we get a meeting between NFC contenders with the Green Bay Packers visiting the San Francisco 49ers on Friday night.
Those hoping to see two-time reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers take the field will be disappointed, as he won't put on the pads until Week 3 of the preseason at the earliest. That said, the Trey Lance era gets underway, as the former No. 3 overall pick is expected to be under center at the start of this one.
Does that make the Niners an easy play here? Find out in our free NFL picks and predictions for Packers vs. 49ers.
Packers vs 49ers odds
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This game was a pick’em on the weekend but news that Rodgers would sit this one out and Lance would at the very least start the game has moved the line to 49ers -2.5. The total hasn’t seen as much action. It opened around 33 and most sportsbooks are still there or at 33.5 as of Wednesday afternoon.
Packers vs 49ers predictions
Predictions made on 8/10/2022 at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Packers vs 49ers game info
• Location: Levi's Stadium, San Francisco, CA
• Date: Friday, August 12, 2022
• Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET
• TV: NFL Network
Packers at 49ers betting preview
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Betting trend to know
The Packers are 2-5 ATS in the NFL preseason since Matt LaFleur has been the head coach. Find more NFL betting trends for Packers vs. 49ers.
Packers vs 49ers picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
When Aaron Rodgers came out this week and said, "I don't see any benefit to it,” regarding playing in the preseason, it came as no surprise that he wouldn’t be suiting up for this Friday’s game against the 49ers.
Rodgers won’t be the only Packer M.I.A for this matchup. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins is out with an undisclosed injury, while second-round draft pick Christian Watson is considered day-to-day following knee surgery. With those guys sidelined, it would be a shock if running backs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon suited up in this one.
The second-year North Dakota State product has gotten mixed reviews out of training camp so far. Reports suggest that some days he has looked off, and others he has straight cooked the Niners' defense. Obviously, the ceiling for Lance is immense, and look for him to use his arm and his legs early.
Quarterback play is so important when wagering these preseason lines and with the 49ers using their starter, they already have the edge — hence the -2.5 line. And, it looks like the Niners have the edge at that position all the way down.
That’s because the Packers are starting Jordan Love. And, despite the reviews out of camp saying he “has more rhythm” this year, we have all seen him in action to this point. That limited action has been highlighted by inaccuracy and poor decision-making. In limited action last year, he completed 58.1 % of his passes for a minuscule 6.6 yards per attempt (that’s Jared Goff territory) with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
The only other QB on the roster behind Love is journeyman practice-squad member Danny Etling. The 28-year-old was drafted in the 7th round in 2018 and has yet to catch on anywhere, let alone attempt an NFL pass. He was even cut by the BC Lions of the CFL a few years ago.
The Niners, meanwhile, backup Lance with Nate Sudfeld, who is in his second year with Shanahan and was the backup in Philadelphia for three seasons prior to joining the 49ers. Behind Sudfeld is rookie Brock Purdy, who was a stud at Iowa State, breaking basically every school record for passing.
The 49ers appear to have a big edge when it comes to quarterback play, so we're siding with the home team at just under a field goal.
Prediction: 49ers -2.5 (-110 at Caesars)
It is put up or shut up time for Jordan Love. The former first-round pick needs to show there has been some improvement, so he still has some value to the Packers, whether as a trade chip or as their backup.
It’s just hard to bank on the idea that Love's turnaround could be so drastic, considering what we have on film. Love also started two preseason games last season, and the Packers scored a total of seven points in those matchups.
Meanwhile, the word out of the 49ers camp is that this defense is not only talented but deep as well. So, even if the starters don’t play for long, there are some high-level players waiting in the wings to prove themselves.
The 49ers could do a decent amount of scoring in this one, but it would be a surprise if the first team got more than a couple of series in this one. With some 33s out there, grabbing the Under at 33.5 looks like the way to for this one.
Prediction: Under 33.5 (-110 at FanDuel)
The level of quarterback play beyond Lance is what makes the 49ers on the spread a solid play from the outset, but there is one other thing to like them just a little bit more in this matchup, and that’s the kicking game.
Veteran kicker Robbie Gould is the only kicker on the Niners' active roster. And why wouldn't he be? Gould has been one of the most reliable kickers in the NFL for the better part of two decades. He also knows how to handle the windy conditions at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, which could be blowing at 13-15 miles per hour towards the southeastern corner of the stadium.
The Packers, however, will be without their veteran kicker Mason Crosby, who had a minor procedure on his leg, and will instead have rookie Gabe Brkic out of Oklahoma taking their kicks.
With points at a premium in preseason games, a missed field goal or too not only helps our Under but gives the 49ers a big leg up here when it comes to covering the spread.
Pick: 49ers -2.5 (-110 at Caesars)