Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:56 PM
SNF - Packers at Chiefs
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NFL Week 8 Sunday Night Football Betting Preview
Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs (NBC, 8:20 p.m. ET)
SNF Betting Results
It turns out that maybe I wasn't the only one who questioned the authenticity of Carson Wentz being a legitimate #1 QB in this league last week, as after that brutal performance by the Eagles – from top to bottom – there was much more chatter and criticism directed Wentz's way.
What made me laugh though was HC Doug Pederson's post-game press conference comments about “the Eagles all needing to look in the mirror” to essentially get things fixed. That comment fits oh so well with my metaphor of Wentz being the “Dorian Gray” of the NFL, and being so vain that it's simply about 'looking' the part at all times with this team. We will see if the Eagles are able to turn things around or if the wheels are about to completely fall off of their 2019 season, and early action this week for their game in Buffalo has already come the Bills way.
But this piece is all about SNF games and this week we've got a non-conference showdown that lost much of it's bite with the QB Patrick Mahomes injury a week ago. I'm sure SNF producers were salivating at the potential of this matchup when the schedule came out, but it's only Aaron Rodgers coming to the party now and much of that excitement has probably waned. That doesn't mean this can't be a great game between two potential Super Bowl candidates, as Matt Moore isn't thrust into duty in a relatively unprepared manner this week, and Packers fans are hoping Aaron Rodgers and company continue to do their thing.
So let's get right into the game, and I assure you there won't be any literature metaphors bleeding into the analysis this week.
The total is actually the better betting option of the two (side or total) for this game in my view and it's where the bulk of my focus will be.
Yes, everyone knows that SNF games are still perfect to the 'under' this year after Philly and Dallas couldn't climb over their number in a ho-hum 2nd half after putting up 34 points in the first 30 minutes. That makes it a perfect 0-8 O/U on the season for Al Michaels, Chris Collinsworth and the SNF crew, a run that's rather absurd and phenomenal all at the same time.
It's that run that will get talked up plenty this week as we've got a backup QB in Moore going, and with the bigger chunk of that perception being more about Mahomes being gone, I'm sure you will hear plenty of support for going low on the total this week. After all, the 'over' has yet to cash on SNF, and backup QB's are backup QB's for a reason right. A number that was sitting as high as 49.5 at some places earlier in the week is already sitting at 47.5 at the time of this writing, and I'm sure we could see it trend even lower.
Now one thing I do believe supports the low side here is the theory that going low on a total with a team that scored 40+ points the week prior (Green Bay) is something to consider. But outside of that, and the completely random SNF 'under' record, that's about it. If you want to follow the herd all across the grid looking to go 'under' this total, then by all means do so. But give me a chance to at least provide some counter points.
To start, non-conference games like this are ones where I believe you generally want to lean 'over' in terms of a blind/initial reaction because there just isn't the hatred or ingrained knowledge of what opponents run as there is in conference/division games. The last three weeks alone we've seen AFC/NFC games post a 8-6 O/U record blind as it is.
Taking it a step further, non-conference games the past four weeks have averaged 49.2 points per game when you eliminate those contests that featured both sides having losing records (as of today). That eliminates the “thriller” between Washington and Miami for one – a game that finished with 33 points, as well as a 37-point effort by the Jets/Eagles, and a 34-point effort from Tennessee and Atlanta.
That's quite the number in regards to where this week's total currently sits at 47.5, and it includes games like the 19 total points New Orleans and Jacksonville had in Week 6, as well as the 34-point effort from the Cleveland/San Francisco MNF game a few weeks back.
Furthermore, when you narrow things down to just the past three weeks and only include AFC/NFC games between teams that are currently .500 or better in the standings, you get a 2-1 O/U record with an average point total of 52.33 points. Obviously that's not the biggest sample size, but this Green Bay team accounted for most of that production and considering they are involved in this game, it is worth consideration.
Moreover, If you were to look at all the AFC/NFC games the past four weeks that featured a team that currently has 5 or more wins like both the Packers and Chiefs do, you'd get an average point total of 47.25 points – right on this number right.
But eliminate that Saints/Jags game with 19 points featuring Teddy Checkdown – I mean Bridgewater – and all of a sudden that number bumps up to 51.28 points per game over the past four weeks; going 4-3 O/U in the process. The past two weeks alone – again omitting that Saints/Jags game – is 3-1 O/U with an average of 55.25 points scored. Oh, and the two games that had either the Chiefs or Packers involved finished with at least 64 points.
Finally, you can zero in on the two respective teams involved in this game and see plenty of reasons – even with Matt Moore under center – that can lead to points being put up.
Kansas City's defense is still among the bottom four teams in the entire NFL in terms of rushing yards allowed per game (148.9) with just Cleveland and the winless Dolphins and Bengals being worse. They give up five yards per rush as a part of that stat line, and Green Bay may not be the first team you think of when thinking of running teams, but the Packers can use their passing attack, or just the threat of their passing attack, to open up plenty of running lanes in general and have huge days on the ground.
For KC to give up the yardage they do and only allow 21.4 points per game is about as smoke and mirrors as it gets, and considering four of the five non-division opponents the Chiefs have faced this year has put up at least 26 points on the scoreboard, you've got to like Aaron Rodgers chances of having another big offensive day.
On the flip side of things, Moore will have a gameplan that's catered to what he does well with a full 10 days to get ready for this contest, and it's not like he's incapable of finding success at this levels with all the playmakers he's got around him. He had no problem hitting WR Tyreek Hill in stride for a long TD last Thursday, and while it was only a one-off, it does show you what the kind of potential is there.
Green Bay's defense ranks in the bottom 25% of the league in rushing yards allowed as well (128.9 per game), and at 381 yards allowed per game overall, they are the worst NFL team in that category that currently has a winning record – KC isn't much better with 377.4 yards allowed per game. So there is plenty of smoke and mirrors on Green Bay's defense as well, as they've allowed 22 or more points in four straight games themselves, and that run would be 24 or more points allowed in all four games had the Lions not settled for so many FG's and been burned by suspect calls in their MNF affair.
Had Mahomes been available for this game, this total would have been in the upper 50's at a bare minimum, and while he is the reigning MVP of the league and is a dynamic playmaker, this is far too much of an adjustment for a backup QB that has plenty of starting/playing NFL experience in his career already.
But thanks to it being a downgrade regardless, and the SNF 'under' narrative bleeding into every conversation about this game now, perception and reality don't really meet up in my eyes.
Green Bay is currently laying 4 points on the road, and to be honest, I'm not sure if that's where it should be as there is just no interest from me in backing either side here. I'm sure it will be the Packers who get plenty of support from the betting public as this game inches closer, and with the Packers likely being tied into so many teasers and parlays for the day, chances are the oddsmakers will be rooting hard for KC to keep this game competitive.
Given my thoughts on the total, I would suggest that's probably going to be the case, and depending how much support Green Bay ends up getting by kickoff – VegasInsider.com betting percentages currently show about 70% support here late on Wednesday afternoon – the contrarian in me would have to side with Kansas City ATS or nothing, but 'nothing' would be a -1000 favorite right now.
For handicappers that prefer the lazy route of riding streaks for no other sake then riding a streak, this is a game I'm sure you'll here plenty of 'under' recommendations for because of the SNF 'under' record this year. But those same bettors know that all streaks come to an end, and this game between these two teams, in this perceived spot (SNF 'unders' are “unbeatable” and now we got a backup QB to boot), does feel like the perfect storm in terms of seeing this 'under' run with Michaels and Collinsworth on the mic finally come to an end.
There has been too much of an over-adjustment because of one guy, both defenses are still very suspect that they resemble a mirage, both offenses have so much scoring talent outside of the one guy who just happens to be KC's QB this week, and the narrative of SNF 'unders' being easy cashes has hit a fever pitch.
That does nothing but scream 'over' to me, and that's by far the best play for this game in my view.
Best Bet: Over 47.5 points