The last time the San Francisco 49ers hosted the Green Bay Packers, it was in the 2019 NFC Championship Game. The 49ers jumped out to a dominant 27-0 first-half lead, and while the Packers eventually showed signs of life, it was too little too late. A 37-20 win vaulted the 49ers to a spot in the Super Bowl while the Packers felt the sting of another disappointing playoff exit.
Fast forward nine months, and the circumstances are drastically different.
The 49ers are facing a mountain of adversity coming into the matchup, as they seem to lose at least one key player to injury each passing week. They are missing several starters on both sides of the ball, including quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
The Packers, meanwhile, are coming off an embarrassing loss to the Minnesota Vikings and have injury woes of their own. Regardless, they sit with a 5-2 record, and a win keeps them in the running for the #1 seed in the NFC. They opened as a 2.5-point favorite for the contest, but given all the 49ers injuries, the line has ballooned to 7.5-points.
Despite the issues for both teams, there are plenty of ways to attack this game from a betting perspective. In this piece, I’ll go over my best bets for the contest, and provide my reasonings behind the picks.
All odds provided in this piece are courtesy of William Hill, and as always, please play responsibly.
Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ETMoney line: Packers -350, 49ers +290
Spread: Packers -7.5
JaMycal Hasty Anytime Touchdown Scorer (+110)
The 49ers injury woes, specifically on offense, are well-documented. Their top running back Raheem Mostert remains on injured reserve, and his backup Tevin Coleman is also unavailable in Week 9. Despite the injuries, the 49ers are expected to use a run-heavy approach against an uninspiring Packers’ defensive front.
This is where Hasty should thrive. He found the end zone last week against the Seahawks, and out-carried Jerick McKinnon. Hasty is the preferred early-down back in this offense and also receives the majority of touches near the goal line.
Basically, this is a bet on the 49ers getting within 10 yards of the end zone, because once they do, the ball likely ends up in Hasty’s hands. Getting plus-money on this bet is great value.
Under 48.5 Total Points (-110)
My next best bet tackles the total, and I see specific value on the under. While the Packers have one of the league’s best offenses, they’ve been held under 23 points in two of their last three games. Most of the Packers’ offense also comes through the air, and that is where the 49ers’ defense thrives, as they sit fourth in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game (209).
On the other side of things, the 49ers offense is a shell itself. They are missing their starting quarterback, their top three wide receivers, their two best running backs, arguably the best tight end in football, and the starting left tackle. They also had to shut down their facilities on Wednesday due to a COVID-19 scare, meaning they lost an extra day of practice during an already shortened week.
Likewise, these two teams rank in the bottom four of the NFL in pace of play. Factor in a constant running clock with the 49ers’ run-heavy approach, and the under looks promising. The last three Thursday Night Football games have gone under the total points, and I see no reason for that trend to change.
Packers First-Half Spread -4 (-110)
I like the Packers full-game spread (-7.5) as a teaser piece, but with so many variables, I’m not comfortable laying over a touchdown with them. Instead, I look to the first-half spread to find value.
Early on, the lack of 49ers chemistry should be painfully clear. Quarterback Nick Mullens will try to make the best of the situation, but his top two receivers for the contest have caught a combined nine NFL passes since 2019. I am fully expecting an unassuming start from the entire offense with a couple of three-and-outs.
On the flip side, look for Rodgers to come out firing for the Packers. Not only is he trying to avenge his team’s defeat in last year’s NFC Championship, but also their laughable loss to the Vikings last week. The Packers firmly establish themselves in the upper class of the NFC with a win, and I think Rodgers will be ready to carry his team to the finish line.
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