Against all odds, the Thursday Night Football matchup between the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers is scheduled to kick off at its regular time tonight.
Somehow, despite positive Covid tests and the 49ers facility being shut down just two days ago, the NFL is moving forward and forcing this game to happen tonight.
I’m sure fans and fantasy owners alike were very much hoping this contest would be moved to Sunday, or even Monday, but sadly there is no such luck.
What will this game look like without most of its biggest stars? And more importantly, how should we go about betting it?
Though I don’t have any advice here for those of you trying to piece together a starting fantasy line up, I have some thoughts on how you can take advantage of this situation and make yourself some money.
Playing Without Offensive Stars
Both the Packers and 49ers rosters are quite depleted – especially on offense.
The list of names who will be out tonight, and amount of points they are all responsible for is mind blowing.
The 49ers have the worst of it, as they will be without each of the following;
- Jimmy Garoppolo
- Raheem Mostert
- Tevin Coleman
- George Kittle
- Deebo Samuel
- Brandon Aiyuk
- Kendrick Bourne
- Trent Williams
- Jordan Reed
- Jeff Wilson Jr.
And a slew of important defensive players
The list of names for the Packers is not quite as long, but there is no doubt they have it rough as well.
Green Bay will take the field without the following;
- Aaron Jones
- AJ Dillon
- Jamaal Williams
- Allen Lazard
- David Bakhtiari
And a number of defensive players of their own
Admittedly, when you compare the two lists, Green Bay is in much better shape.
Aaron Jones has not officially been ruled out yet, as he is working his way back from a calf injury, but most expect that he will be. Even if he does manage to suit up, he will see a very limited work load.
This leaves just Tyler Ervin and Dexter Williams healthy in the GB back field. Williams has yet to touch the ball this season, and Ervin has rushed the ball just four times.
Packers Massive Advantage
Ultimately, the Packers have a huge advantage in this game, and the reason why is simple.
While the 49ers have almost no redeeming qualities or names on the field tonight, Green Bay still has a healthy combo of Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams.
In fact, Green Bay’s entire receiving core comes into the contest healthy tonight, outside of Lazard who has been gone since early in the season, of course.
The Packers passing attack will be the difference maker in this game, and it is what you need to be focusing all your bets on this evening.
Rodgers has thrown 7 TD passes in the last two weeks, and only one of them was to a RB.
Adams has racked up 5 TD receptions in the last two weeks.
Those trends should continue tonight.
Can San Francisco Expose Packers Weaknesses
The current line for this game has the Packers favored by 6.5 or 7, depending on your book.
Though I do not believe the 49ers can win this game, I think they will be able to find a way to rush the ball.
Sure, most of their top backs are out, but the Packers are ranked dead last in the NFL in tackling. Their run defense is simply horrible.
On top of that, the Packers actually have decent cover men, led by Jaire Alexander.
If you are Kyle Shanahan and you are trying to decide between Nick Mullens throwing the ball into good coverage, or trying to run against the league’s worst run defense, the choice seems very clear.
I am not comfortable betting on any certain 49ers RB, but I would bet on them as a whole. If you’re looking to bet on the side of San Francisco simply take “SF to have rushing touchdown” or over 1.5 rushing TD.
You may also want to consider betting the under on Nick Mullens passing yards (210.5) given the fact he will be without his three best pass catchers and then some.
Your Money is Better Suited on the Side of GB
While I struggled to find bets I liked on the San Fran side, there are a few I love on the Green Bay side.
As stated earlier, the Packers are about to play a game with two running backs who have carried the ball a combined four times, so you can expect a heavy passing attack.
Nick Mullens is a serviceable QB, but in a match up with Aaron Rodgers, I am fading him and putting all my faith in the two-time MVP.
One of my favorite bets of the night is Adams to score the first TD (+550).
The Packers have scored a TD on all seven of their game opening drives this season. Adams scored the first TD against the Vikings last week, and the first TD against the Texans the week before that. Add in the lack of running ability the Packers will have tonight, it is likely they look to him once again in the redzone.
+550 is an incredible pay out giving the likelihood and the situation.
I’d also consider throwing at least half a unit of Adams to have 2+ TD catches (+200)
I am betting Aaron Rodgers any way possible in this game.
The over in passing yards is very easy for me here. The line is 280.5 and you are getting plus money (+112). He has gone over that total five times in his seven games this season, and he had very good running backs while doing so.
I also like throwing half a unit on Rodgers total TD passes o2.5 (+130). Much like his total passing yards, he has thrown for three or more TDs in five of seven games this season.
If you are looking through your book and see any other Rodgers props you like – take them without hesitation. Rodgers is going to have a big night in his home state of California.
Best Bet of the Night
Player props are always fun, and often provide very nice payouts, but I’m sure many of you are wondering what to do with the spread and the total.
Lucky for you, my best bet of the night (outside of Adams as first TD scorer) involves both of them!
The Packers are in a great position to win this game. I will be very shocked if they don’t.
With that being said though, I am not comfortable laying seven with all the craziness surrounding this game, and the fact that I do not trust the Packers defense one bit.
The play I am most confident in here is a same game 6 point teaser. (I have no problem with you making it a 6.5 or 7 if that makes you more comfortable. You will just be getting slightly less favorable odds)
The 6 point teaser essentially makes this a pick em game, with the small chance of a push, and allows a nice cushion with the total. I just do not see both teams being able to score very easily tonight, so 54.5 should be plenty of points.
6 PT Teaser: GB -1 – u54.5 (-108)
6.5 PT Teaser: GB -1/2 – u55 (-117)
7 PT Teaser: GB pk – u55.5 (-128)
I am quite confident in all of these, and as I am typing this I locked in the first of the three teasers for five units.
The choice is yours, but my best bet of the night is the six point teaser.
TNF typically provides us with some unusual football anyhow, but these are extra strange circumstances.
Enjoy the game tonight, it should be fun.
Good luck on your bets!
BONUS BET* – I am also taking the o3.5 (Even) total FG prop tonight. Crosby has been nursing an injury for the Packers, but I think both teams may struggle a bit with punching it into the end zone tonight. All we need is one FG out of Crosby, and I think SF will provide the others.
Follow @SennholzOnSport for further info and live bets!