This week the SNF team gets a potential NFC Championship preview-type game with Green Bay in San Francisco to take on the 49ers. You’ve got QB Aaron Rodgers back in his home state of California, and two teams who could end up with home field advantage through the playoffs based on winning this game.
With the stakes surrounding this game, there will likely be no shortage of opinions (or action) as the week goes on for such a big game, as both teams are likely to use it as a nice measuring stick type game for them as we head to December. But the question really is, can Green Bay go into San Francisco and knock off this 49ers team that’s been spectacular at home.
San Fran owns a +77 point differential at home, largely in part to their 2nd ranked defense this year in both opponent yards allowed per game and opponent yards allowed per play. That’s what Aaron Rodgers and company have to contend with, and given that the last time Green Bay was in California – two weeks ago vs LA Chargers – it was an utter debacle offensively, will history repeat? I mean, SF has highly talented pass rushers too and that was what led the Chargers to such much success that day.
After opening up at 45.5 late on Sunday, this total has really seen nothing but ‘over’ support since then. As of this writing, it’s currently sitting at 47.5 juiced to the ‘over’, and given the profile of these two teams, it’s easy to want to trust both offenses. Both teams currently sit in the Top 10 in the league – SF (2nd) and GB (9th) – in points per game with 29.5 and 25 respectively, that the opening total here was probably a touch too low. But all the value from that number has long been extracted, and the number has held pretty steady at 47.5 since Wednesday morning.
At 47.5, the number does appear to be about where it should be. Yes, the combined average point totals for these two teams puts this game close to 55 total points scored, but I would expect both sides to be looking to be strong defensively from the get-go. The stakes of the game lend themselves to that notion, as even though both teams would likely say they are fine with getting in a 34-31 type game, they wouldn’t prefer it.
San Francisco’s 4-0 O/U run coming into this game would suggest that ‘over’ is the way to look, especially with the defense allowing 25+ in three straight games. But the Packers come in off of two straight ‘unders’ themselves where the total score didn’t eclipse 40 points can’t be dismissed either. Put the entire situation of this game together, and passing on this total now appears to be the best course of action.
San Francisco has been installed as the generic -3 home favorite for this game and that’s where the number has stayed all week. The price has fluctuated on the 49ers, but I wouldn’t expect this number to move much. That’s because at -2.5 you are likely to see plenty of SF money hit the board, while at +3.5 there would likely be Green Bay money flooding in. Just another example of how important it is to bet numbers and bet teams. Yet, to me, this is a line that’s much better to be approached from a spot betting perspective, and that spot does favor the Packers.
Actually, it’s more of a spot that’s against the 49ers in that fading a team after three straight division games is something that makes a lot of sense. Generally speaking, teams are going to naturally have a ‘let down’ after nearly a month of intense divisional action, but given that it is 8-2 SU Green Bay on the other side of the field, a complete flat effort from the 49ers isn’t likely. But even just a bit flat early could have San Francisco chasing this game the entire way, and if that’s the case, I’m not sure the 49ers will last.
This is essentially the fourth straight game where high stress/pressure are involved for the 49ers, and eventually every team needs a mental rest spot. There was the closer then expected game at Arizona on Halloween, followed by the OT loss to Seattle, and then last week’s wild comeback against that same Cardinals team, with road games at Baltimore and at New Orleans on tap for the 49ers, there is going to be one of those ‘dud’ games for them in one of those three in my opinion, and teams do tend to be more complacent about things when at home. Whether it’s physical or the mental prep side of things for the 49ers, that’s not good for a team that’s already spent the past three weeks struggling to hold on (or claim) outright victories.
At the same time, you know Rodgers would love to come ‘home’ to the Bay area and light up a 9-1 49ers team. San Francisco is part of the “new guard” in 2019 as it’s their first time winning games in a few years, whereas the Packers have been perennial contenders the entire Rodgers era. This win probably means a bit more to Rodgers and company who want to prove they are just as good as the best, and home field advantage at Lambeau Field in January is always a huge edge.
I would figure that the Packers learned from their mistakes going to L.A. a few weeks ago (late travel time, bad sleep schedules, personal schedules etc) and be much better from the opening kickoff here. Obviously a later start helps that play out, and if they can keep San Fran’s pass rushers in check with a serviceable running attack, it’s not like Rodgers isn’t capable of tearing apart this 49ers secondary.