We kick off Week 9 in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers on the road seeking answers to their critical holes on the defensive side of the ball, most notably their ineptitude of stopping an opponent’s rushing attempts. The Packers are welcomed to Santa Clara by the San Francisco 49ers, whose entire team is riddled with holes of their own dismay, caused predominantly by a slew of injuries and now dealing with a COVID outbreak at their facility among remaining active players. As we navigate OddsShopper for our NFL Betting picks, we’ll seek out some lapses in the betting lines that provide us potential best bets for Thursday Night Football between the Packers and 49ers.
With Jimmy Garoppolo and star tight end George Kittle among the inactives due to injuries sustained in Week 8, the 49ers are essentially an assembly of the walking wounded, making player props hard to come by on the OddsShopper tool in seeking our best bets available. The Packers and Aaron Rodgers are also dealing with their own share of substantial injuries, as running back Aaron Jones remains a question mark while facing a potential third game in a row as an inactive.
Will the Packers salvage a road rebound from losing two of their past three games? Or can the battle-tested 49ers find resolution among their remaining active teammates to unify and rally for an inspiring win while Garoppolo and Kittle are out? We’ll find out on Thursday Night Football tonight as we aim to cash our proposition wagers we discover via OddsShopper.
* NFL Odds as of writing. Click HERE for up to date odds using the OddsShopper tool.
Ben Rasa's Bet of the DayAwesemo's sports betting expert Ben Rasa pours over the day's betting lines and breaks down the best bet of the day for you to build your sports betting card around.
NFL Betting Picks + Odds Shopping: Thursday Night Football Best Bets | Packers vs. 49ers
NFL Betting Pick: QB Aaron Rodgers, UNDER 26.5 Completions (-112, SugarHouse & DraftKings Sportsbook)
The Packers have looked rather suspect as of late, allowing running backs to thrash them on a majority of opponents’ attempts, much as we saw by textbook example provided by Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook just last Sunday for four touchdowns and excess of 200 yards from scrimmage. When forced to play from behind, Rodgers’ options in the receiving corps beyond Davante Adams remain mediocre outlets to vest confidence in a comeback victory. Even when seeking a comeback isn’t the only circumstance we’re looking at, the completions for Rodgers via Packers receivers simply have not been convincing enough to warrant the over on a marked-up completions proposition wager.
Among NFL quarterbacks who have registered at least one game started, Rodgers ranks 24th in completion percentage at 65.9%, even behind the dreary season Cam Newton is having (66% completion). This is hardly meant to be shaking a finger at the shortcomings of Rodgers nearly as much as it’s intended to provide a glimpse into the unreliable arsenal which he’s forced to contend with on-field. Of his seven starts this season, Rodgers has thrown for 27 or more completions on three occasions. Two of these three occasions came against one of the three worst secondaries in the league in their NFC North arch-rival Vikings. The other time it happened was against one of the other two poorest secondaries alluded to, the Falcons. Finally, of these three instances exceeding 26 completions, two of them were exactly 27.
One could lend narrative to Rodgers coming into a double-revenge situation, facing not only the 49ers team that knocked him out from another trip to the Super Bowl a postseason ago but from his loss fresh from the Vikings a few days ago. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to throw to receivers who aren’t showing up either. With the entire world knowing who he’s going to throw to on most passing downs (Adams), Rodgers faces a predicament against a 49ers secondary allowing an average of 20.63 completions per game in their eight games this season. And of the countless injury designations the 49ers are currently ailing, thankfully for their sake the secondary remains intact outside of Richard Sherman on Injured Reserve. They just surrendered exactly 27 completions to Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, although it could be argued Wilson’s receiving corps is considerably more talented than Rodgers’ weapons available in the passing game.
While Rodgers will be without running backs Jamaal Williams and A.J. Dillon due to their own COVID-19 designations, Aaron Jones remains questionable for Thursday Night Football with limited participation in practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. Even if Jones plays, his workload likely will not be the same, which would provide reason to believe Rodgers will be throwing the ball more. If Jones sits out one more week, the backfield will be comprised of Tyler Ervin and Dexter Williams, neither of whom has ever logged a touchdown in the NFL to this point. On the other hand at some point the Packers will have to establish the run to keep the 49ers defense on the honest side, while Adams will be likely drawing staunch coverage for the length of the evening in the receiving game.
It’s certainly believable that Rodgers will have increased reasons to throw the ball without a reliable backfield to hand-off to, but Rodgers’ receiving corps outside of Adams has been every bit as questionable. With two of Rodgers’ remaining primary receivers each having a drop rate over 20% in Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown, it makes sense how Rodgers’ completion rate has been as low as it has this season. The 49ers defense is going to be what they’re forced to hinge on for success tonight with so many pieces missing on offense, and there’s not enough to trust on the Packers offense to get Rodgers over 27 completions with house juice involved.
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NFL Betting Pick: WR Davante Adams, OVER 79.5 Receiving Yards (-115, PointsBet)
On the other side of the coin, it’s remarkably difficult to believe Adams will be anything shy of Rodgers’ leading target. Adams is due to see stark coverage from Jason Verrett, (whom he has a three-inch height advantage over) as well as some safety help coverage depending on the situation.
While Adams has twice exceeded 100 receiving yards in his five games played this season (one was four yards shy of 200), he exited a three-reception, 36-yard game against Detroit with a hamstring injury while getting blown out against the Buccaneers. Last weekend against the Vikings, who he torched in Week 1, he was held to 56 receiving yards on 11 receptions.
With Rodgers and Adams coming into this as essentially the only constants available, I would expect to see at least one big play to Adams, which may be hard to come by with San Francisco knowing the bailout blueprint for the Packers well ahead of time. D.K. Metcalf just torched the 49ers on 12 receptions for 161 receiving yards, with his biggest gain coming on a 46-yard touchdown pass from Wilson.
Adams has been involved in 82.2% of Packers offensive snaps, with that not being a higher number (89.7%) due to the injury during the bout with Detroit. Rodgers’ favorite toy also accounts for a whopping 32% of Packers team targets all season with a 0% drop-rate on all catchable targets, making the dependability in him this evening all the more evident. Going over the 79-yard mark for Adams, despite the stiff 49ers defense, seems likely if the Packers are to manage to get the win on Thursday Night Football.
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