Cleveland Browns at Green Bay Packers
As a present, the NFL has gifted its new “cancel culture” bad boy, Aaron Rodgers, for the prestigious Christmas Day slate.
Say what you will about his actions off the field, but from a gambling perspective, his actions on the field should have any bettor salivating over his potential outlook.
Rodgers is currently the MVP frontrunner for numerous reasons, and his play as of late has been the spark plug vaulting the Packers to the league’s best record and only clinched division title thus far. Across his last four games, the future hall-of-famer crafted a 13-0 TD/INT ratio while collectively notching a 127.7 passer rating.
Even aiming for those marks in Madden might be a stretch. Rodgers is showcasing this greatness in real life and before our eyes.
In the process, all four contests sailed well beyond the over/under — this after Green Bay had played to six straight under calls.
I’m expecting the overs streak to continue, especially with the banged-up defense Rodgers and Co. welcome next. After being ravaged by COVID, the Browns are still going to be down a bunch of starters, and even their biggest monster Myles Garrett (groin) is at less than 100 percent.
At full health, Cleveland possesses an above-average defensive unit. When you’re at far less than full health, though, how are you going to stop a group that is perennially among the NFL’s most potent?
Notably, this will be a home game for Rodgers, and when that’s the case, a crooked number on the scoreboard typically follows. To the naive, contrasting home-and-road numbers can be a strong indicator for success — or failure — and rarely does one have as illuminating splits as Rodgers has logged through his career.
As we’ve touched on before, No. 12 owns a lifetime passer rating that is considerably higher at Lambeau (108.8) than on the road (100.1). Rodgers’ consistency when taking the field in front of the local cheeseheads is just glaring.
In fact, across his 108 career starts in Green Bay (including postseason), the Pack are averaging more than 29 points per game. That’s a lot! And the product of quite a significant sample size. Yet here, the linesmakers have attached a low total.
This means that if the Packers simply clock in with around their average — which could be viewed as their floor given how hot Rodgers is right now — then so long as the Browns aren’t completely contained on the offensive side of the ball, there’s no reason this bout can’t go over.
Of course, there’s always that threat from the “frozen tundra of Lambeau Field” when hosting games in December but the conditions (around 30-degree temperatures) won’t be horrible. Besides, when the weather dips below 40 degrees, the returning Baker Mayfield has thrived.
The 2018 No. 1 overall pick has already played in 11 affairs (including playoffs) that featured temperatures of 40 degrees or less. Mayfield’s performance in those games was generally excellent, registering a nifty 105.9 rating. He also threw 20 TDs compared to only two picks.
Given Cleveland’s sense of urgency, needing a win for their playoff lives, I believe they can at least be game and somewhat hang around. All that’s probably needed is a couple of touchdowns, with the Pack doing the rest.
Thankfully, the Browns will have some other key weapons back on offense as well in Jarvis Landry and Austin Hooper. Nick Chubb is always a difference maker.
Though this total has begun to shoot up at most places, I still recommend vying for that key number of 45. I bought a half to be protected from a 28-17/31-14 outcome. Pick: OVER 45 (-120)