Tony Salinas: Packers Overpriced?
When I was watching the Green Bay Packers barely survive the New York Giants last Sunday afternoon, it reminded me of a very similar situation a few years ago when the undefeated New England Patriots reached a point in their schedule where they started to struggle a bit.
Look at the parallels...
2011: Green Bay (11-0) won at the NY Giants 38-35
2007: New England (11-0) won at Baltimore 27-24
There's been talk about the parallels between this year's Packers team and that 16-0 Patriots team since the season started. Great quarterbacks. Potent offenses. A great run of pointspread results even though the lines were high. Now...both barely survive their 12th game of the season on the road against a playoff contending opponent.
Is this a sign that Green Bay is about to hit a wall in terms of covering spreads? We know that the 2007 Patriots team didn't lose a game straight up until the Super Bowl...and even that took a few miracle plays and an ankle injury to Tom Brady. But, it's easy to forget that the Patriots were horrible against the spread once the juggernaut started to slow down.
After that win at Baltimore (which missed the line by 16 points):
New England (-10) beat Pittsburgh 34-13 (cover)
New England (-20) beat the NY Jets 20-10
New England (-22) beat Miami 28-7
New England (-13) beat the NY Giants 38-35
New England (-13) beat Jacksonville 31-20
New England (-14) beat San Diego 21-12
New England (-12) lost to the NY Giants 17-14
That's 1-6 against the spread to finish the season AFTER the non-cover in the road nailbiter at Baltimore. Even though the Pats were still a great team, they weren't able to win by big enough margins to cover the high Vegas spreads. Green Bay isn't dealing with numbers quite that high...but you can see that New England had five victory margins at 11 points or less during their slow-down...and Green Bay WILL be favored by that much or more down the stretch and possibly in the first round of the playoffs.
Was last week's close game at New York a warning sign that Green Bay is being overpriced by the market? The first answer to that question will come in an early Sunday kickoff at home against Oakland. After that, Green Bay will face Kansas City (big road favorite), Chicago (big home favorite against Caleb Hanie), and Detroit (spread will be influenced by how important it is for both Packers and Lions).
In the first round of the playoffs, Green Bay would host the winner of a matchup between the NFC East winner and the best Wildcard team...which would probably have them favored in the 7-10 range but could be higher (the Packers would be about 12-13 point home favorites over NYG based on last week's spread, and about 10-12 point home favorites over Detroit based on the Thanksgiving Day spread).
I can't tell you here if I'm backing the Oakland Raiders as a double digit underdog. But, I can assure you that I'll be looking for value spots to fade Green Bay in down the stretch. And, if Rodgers suffers any sort of injury that might slow down his production...I'll be stepping in very aggressively against the Packers at high prices. The New England offense stopped clicking in the playoffs once Brady was hobbled.
All of my Sunday NFL plays will be available for purchase a few hours before kickoff. Clients only get the exact same plays I'm betting the BIGGEST myself. Maybe Oakland-Green Bay qualified for a big one...or maybe it just missed.
Call my handicapping office at 1-888-536-8880. I can't talk to you personally on weekends because I'm out at Vegas sportsbooks taking care of my personal action (which includes first half lines and other proposition bets that I attack out of my private bankroll). One of my representatives will be happy to help you get my best plays of the day. Be sure to ask about basketball when you call.
New England Patriots backers took the worst of it down the stretch in the 2007 season because they didn't know how to recognize when the Vegas line had gone too far. Be sure you're GETTING THE BEST OF IT in 2011 on the NFL board every weekend with HIGH ROLLER TONY SALINAS!
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