The road to the Super Bowl gets cold and icy as it stretches through Lambeau Field this Saturday. The NFC’s top seed, the Green Bay Packers, play host to the Los Angeles Rams in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs.
Green Bay opened around a touchdown NFL betting favorite, with some books posting Packers -7 and others -7.5. However, early-week action has walked this spread through the key number to -6.5 at some sportsbooks as of Wednesday morning while plenty of other shops cling to the touchdown.
These are our NFL free picks and predictions for Rams vs. Packers on January 16.
Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers Betting Preview
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Rams: Nsimba Webster WR (Probable), Terrell Lewis LB (Out), Aaron Donald DT (Probable), Cooper Kupp WR (Questionable), Jared Goff QB (Probable), John Wolford QB (Out), Andrew Whitworth T (Questionable), David Edwards T (Questionable), Leonard Floyd LB (Questionable), Darrell Henderson Jr. RB (Out).
Packers: Kingsley Keke DL (Doubtful), Jared Veldheer T (Questionable), Simon Stepaniak G (Out), Rick Wagner T (Questionable), Equanimeous St. Brown WR (Questionable), Za'Darius Smith LB (Questionable), Marcedes Lewis TE (Probable), Allen Lazard WR (Questionable), Kevin King CB (Questionable), David Bakhiari T (Out).
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Betting Trend to Know
The Packers are 10-4 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. Find more NFL betting trends for Rams vs. Packers.
Against the Spread (ATS) Pick
The Rams bullied their way through the Wild Card Round, with the pass rush plaguing Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks in their third meeting of the season. Los Angeles was able to leverage familiarity and a shaky Seahawks O-line to advance but faces a different beast in the Packers Saturday.
Green Bay has allowed QB Aaron Rodgers to get sacked just 20 times this season, with Rodgers facing pressure on only 14 percent of his dropbacks. The Packers offensive line is tops of the league in terms of pass block win rate (74 percent, according to ESPN) and Rodgers picked apart opponents anytime they brought extra pass rushers, boosting Green Bay to fourth in EPA (Expected Points Added) when foes blitzed.
The Cheeseheads offensive numbers did benefit from a soft home stretch to the schedule, but they still rank No. 1 in offensive DVOA at Football Outsiders, a metric that accounts for strength of opponent. The Packers will test all the bright spots for this L.A. defense, excelling at pass protection and picking apart the blitz but also third-down conversions, moving the chains at a league-best 49.44 percent of third-down snaps.
When the Packers do crack the Rams mighty defense, L.A.’s offense just isn’t explosive enough to play catch-up. Jared Goff wasn’t healthy enough coming off thumb surgery to get the start in the Wild Card Round but was forced into action after John Wolford was injured in the first quarter.
Goff looked limited in his ability to accurately strike downfield and L.A. leaned heavily on the run game, handing off on more than 60 percent of their snaps last Saturday. The Rams can control possession and tempo with that ground game but may have to abandon that side of the playbook if Rodgers and the Packers get on a run.
No. 1 seeds haven’t been the strongest bet in the Divisional Round in recent years but with this spread sliding under a touchdown, those grabbing Green Bay should do it now.
PREDICTION: Green Bay -6.5 (-110)
As great as the Rams defense is, Sean McVay knows he’s going to need help from the offense to shut down – or at least slow down – Rodgers. Los Angeles was already a run-heavy playbook before Goff’s thumb injury and will try to set the tone with a plodding rushing attack in the opening half.
The Green Bay run defense has been taken down before by a ground-centric opponent, losing to San Francisco in the Divisional Round last season—a game in which the Niners totaled a measly 69 yards passing but rumbled for 285 gains on the ground.
This year’s run-stop unit isn’t anything to write home about, but with Rams stud WR Cooper Kupp nursing a bum knee and Goff’s limitation in the down-field passing game, the Pack can stack the box and engage their safeties in the run defense without too much fear of being burned by play action. Green Bay really wants to put this game on Goff’s inconsistent arm and tender thumb and should the Packers get up early and force L.A. to pass, it will be a long day in the cold Wisconsin winter for the Rams QB.
PREDICTION: Under 45.5 (-110)
Player Prop Pick
The battle between the Packers’ top offense and the Rams’ elite defense boils down to one matchup: Davante Adams vs. Jalen Ramsey. But perhaps the most important receiver for the Cheeseheads heading into this Divisional Round game isn’t a receiver at all.
Running back Aaron Jones will be the release valve for Rodgers when the pressure is mounting. Ramsey and Adams will go tit-for-tat and L.A. owns the best defensive DVOA versus No. 2 receivers, which means Rodgers could be looking to get rid of the ball to his check-downs early and often.
Jones saw his targets tick down in the second half of the schedule but still finished with 355 yards on 65 receptions and closed out the regular season with four catches on five targets for 43 receiving yards in the Week 17 win over Chicago.
Los Angeles does a great job bottling up running backs on the ground but did allow a collective 585 yards receiving to the position on the season (7.2 yards per reception from rival RBs). Jones has been huge for the Packers' attack on second and third downs and thrives as a pass option when Rodgers goes with four-WRs looks.
PREDICTION: Aaron Jones Over 25.5 receiving yards (-120)
Rams vs Packers Betting Card
- Green Bay -6.5 (-110)
- Under 45.5 (-110)
- Aaron Jones Over 25.5 receiving yards (-120)
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