Sunday Night Football Betting: Can the Home Packers Cover This Spread?

With a playoff spot on the line, who can come out on top in this NFC North tilt?

A massive playoff showdown graces us on Sunday Night Football, with the Green Bay Packers hosting the Detroit Lions with a likely spot in the playoffs on the line.

Per our power rankings, it could be a solid matchup, as the host Packers clock in 13th, while the Lions sit back a bit lower at 19th. The Packers are 4.5-point favorites and the over/under sits at 49.5 points.

These two teams met once already -- with the home Lions winning a tight 15-9 showdown. But, that was not contested in the frozen confines of Lambeau Field. Let's dig in and see what spicy angles we can possibly uncover.

Breaking Down the Matchup

Thirty-nine passers this season have dropped back to pass 150 or more times, and Jared Goff has been damn good under center this season. After getting discarded to the Lions for Matthew Stafford prior to the 2021 season, Goff has been, as the kids say, lit. In terms of Passing Net Expected Points (NEP), Goff ranks fifth among those signal-callers with a Passing NEP per pass mark of 0.24 this season. While Aaron Rodgers has been a mainstay among the league's elite quarterbacks, he has been far less efficient this season, coming in with a mark of only 0.05 Passing NEP per drop back.

As we peek at the ground game, both attacks like to share the ball amongst multiple rushers. On the host side, Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon have both been pretty good. Among the 40 running backs with 100 or more carries, Jones ranks fifth in rushing NEP per carry, and Dillon isn't too far back himself at 13th. These two backs have been the focal point of the attack, garnering 378 carries combined this season.

For Detroit, both Jamaal Williams and D'Andre Swift have been large parts of the backfield. Last week, Williams was the lead runner with 22 carries for 144 yards and a score, while Swift wasn't too shabby with 11 carries for 78 yards and a trip to paydirt. Swift certainly sees more work in the passing game, as he also caught four passes for 39 yards and a score. Swift has 41 catches to his 93 rushing attempts this season.

Offensively, while it may come as a bit of a surprise if you haven't been following the NFL too closely this season, the Lions rank fifth in the NFL in offense, and sport the second-best passing offense in the league. The Packers are a bit further back at 14th.

Defensively, the Packers get the nod -- they rank 15th overall, while the Lions are dead last.

The Betting Numbers

As I said at the jump, the Packers are 4.5-point home favorites, and the total has been set at 49.5 points. As we mentioned these are not two great defensive units, supporting a high over/under total despite frigid temps.

If we look at how bettors have performed backing these two teams against the spread (ATS), the Lions have been a delight. They are 11-5-0 this year, and the Packers are 8-8-0.

While the Lions have not been great in recent years, the Packers have utterly dominated this matchup. In their last 20 contests, they are 3-17 against the Packers at Green Bay. However, points have been bountiful with this offense -- in the Lions last 18 games, the OVER has hit 12 times.

Our algorithm concurs this should be a back and forth contest, predicting a 7.0-point win for the home Packers to keep them firmly in the playoff chase. We think the Packers cover the spread about 56% of the time, and we see the OVER hitting about 55% of the time. Neither one of those are super strong bets, in our opinion, ranking as one-star opportunities.

As we look at where the money is coming in over at FanDuel Sportsbook, the public is backing the home team. 62% of cash and 53% of bets support the Packers.

I can't help but get all verklempt here in supporting a Jared Goff's over on passing yards. If we believe the negative game script with the Lions playing catch up, the signal-caller should be dropping back to pass quite a bit. The line sits at 246.5 (-110) yards.

We project him right around that mark, but keep in mind that in three of Goff's last five games, all of ones he was losing in, he threw for 330-plus yards in the game. He was involved in a grinder with Green Bay last time, recording a mediocre 137 passing yards, but it certainly seems like playing catch up (And a pile of passing attempts) could be in Goff's future.