- Mar 6, 2018
Best bets for Monday Night Football: Detroit Lions at Green Bay PackersESPN PLUS ($ MATERIAL)
The Green Bay Packers will host the Detroit Lions to wrap up Week 2 on Monday Night Football (8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN).
ESPN betting analysts Joe Fortenbaugh, Doug Kezirian and Anita Marks, ESPN Analytics' Seth Walder, and Aaron Schatz from Football Outsiders have teamed up to offer up their best bets.
Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill as of Sunday, unless otherwise noted.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-11.5, 48.5)
Walder: FPI puts the median outcome here at just six points -- a massive difference from the spread. Our preseason ratings, based largely off season win totals, made the difference between these two teams 8.5 points. In order to get to 11.5, we'd have to have not adjusted at all after Week 1, giving the Packers a full three points for home-field advantage.
But we should adjust off Week 1, and home field is not worth that much -- especially over a short distance traveled. Even if FPI did overreact to Week 1, I think we can feel confident directionally in Detroit against the spread. It should also be no surprise that FPI also projects Detroit's team total as over. But the real kicker is that even if we forced FPI's game prediction to be 11.5, it still likes Detroit for over 17.5 points.
I'm also going back to the well on one of my most frequent bets from last year: the T.J. Hockenson longest reception under. Hockenson is a good player, but his routes and targets aren't particularly deep. He ranks 10th and 17th, respectively, in depth at three seconds and air yards per target among the 24 tight ends with at least 300 routes since the start of last season. Plus, this is a fairly high line for a tight end.
One final thing to note. A strength of both Aaron Rodgers and Jared Goff is sack avoidance, and I'm leaning on that here. The Lions have one of the worst pass rushes in the league, ranking 31st in pass rush win rate entering tonight, while the Packers will be without Za'Darius Smith.
Picks: Lions +11.5, Lions total points over 17.5, Hockenson longest reception under 19.5 (-120), Total sacks under 4.5 (-125, DK)
Kezirian: Detroit might have the league's worst defense. In Week 1, San Francisco tore through it for 400-plus yards, building to a 31-10 halftime lead, and never looked back. The 49ers could have gone for 600, easily. It must be pointed out that the Lions also showed some fight, rallying for the backdoor cover. Dan Campbell is intense and will insist his team battles to the end, even if the game is a blowout. Still, the point spread suggests we will have a lopsided game here. Rodgers should have a field day, but the Lions should also score their fair share of garbage-time points.
Picks: Over 48.5 points, Packers over 30.5 points
Daily WagerSchatz: Last year, Marquez Valdes-Scantling had 64 and 85 yards in Green Bay's two games against the Detroit Lions. Overall, the Lions ranked 28th in DVOA against No. 2 receivers. They were supposed to be better this year, but then they lost Jeff Okudah for the season with a torn Achilles. As a deep threat, MVS could beat this prop with just one or two catches.
Pick: Valdes-Scantling over 37.5 receiving yards
Fortenbaugh: After 17 seasons, three MVP awards and a Vince Lombardi trophy, I'm willing to give Rodgers the benefit of the doubt when it comes to a dreadful Week 1 performance that saw the Packers muster just three points in a 38-3 loss to the Saints. I expect Green Bay to break from the gates in a hurry against a suspect Detroit defense that surrendered 41 points and a head-scratching 8.0 yards per play to the 49ers last Sunday.
Pick: Green Bay, first half -7
Marks: The Lions are awful and will be playing from behind all game, which means Goff will be tossing the rock an awful lot. Tyrell Williams is out, therefore Hockenson should get a hefty share of targets again, as should D'Andre Swift. Last season in two games against the Lions, Rodgers threw for a combined 530 yards and five touchdowns. I expect more of the same Monday night.
Picks: Rodgers over 2.5 TD passes (+110), Hockenson touchdown (+185), Swift over 26.5 receiving yards (-125)