NFL odds Week 17: Aaron Rodgers, 7-8 Packers favored over 12-3 Vikings


Three weeks after the 10-2 Minnesota Vikings were underdogs at the Detroit Lions, Minnesota finds itself in another polarizing spot in the NFL betting market: a Week 17 showdown with the Green Bay Packers.

American oddsmakers opened Green Bay as a 2.5-point favorite at Lambeau Field and respected money blasted the line through 3 up to -3.5 at most sportsbooks. FOX Bet is still dealing the Packers -3 (-120) with a total of 48.5.

Always be shopping.

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Green Bay has won and covered three straight games, and the Packers are only a half game behind Washington for the final NFC playoff spot. But wait, why is Green Bay favored when Minnesota is the No. 2 seed in its conference?

“Records only matter for playoff seeding,” one veteran Las Vegas bookmaker told FOX Sports. “Recent form and health are all that matter. That’s the North Star when you’re updating your power ratings.

“I’ve got Green Bay as the fourth-highest team in the NFC right now. They’re favored on a neutral site against Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Seattle, Detroit and Washington. And all five of those teams are higher in the standings.”

Legendary Vegas oddsmaker Kenny White agrees.

He has San Francisco rated as the best team in the NFC at 108, followed by Dallas and Philadelphia at 106 and Green Bay at 100. So White’s power ratings have the Niners favored by two points on a neutral site against the Cowboys and Eagles and by eight over the Cheeseheads.

White currently has Minnesota at 98.

“Add in home field and the Aaron Rodgers effect, and I’m at -5.”  

Green Bay looks like a completely different team over the last month, mostly due to the offensive line and playmaker room being as healthy as they’ve been all season long. As I say that, rookie wideout Christian Watson [hip] hasn’t practiced yet this week, but there’s still a chance he can go this Sunday.

Either way, Rodgers’ increasing health matters most and the stability of his offensive line ranks right up there as well. Don’t think for one second that a rookie receiver matters much to the point spread.

Meanwhile, the Vikings’ defense — or lack thereof — has been alarming over their last six games. They’ve been carved like a Christmas ham by the likes of Mac Jones [382 passing yards], Mike White [369], Jared Goff [330] and Daniel Jones [334] over that span. That’s not exactly a murderer’s row.

Rodgers is forever dangerous in spots like these and if those league-average quarterbacks I just mentioned were able to have a ton of success against Minnesota’s defense, imagine what 12 can do.

“You can never count Rodgers out,” the Vegas bookmaker quipped. “I don’t like the guy and can’t wait for him to retire. But he’s a bad dude.”

Ain’t that the truth?

PICK: Packers (-3 at FOX Bet) to win by more than 3 points

Sam Panayotovich is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and NESN. He previously worked for WGN Radio, NBC Sports and VSiN. He’ll probably pick against your favorite team. Follow him on Twitter @spshoot.

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