Early Game of the Year Candidate on Thursday Night
Schedule makers have done right for NFL Week 8, kicking off the slate with the 6-1 Green Bay Packers visiting the 7-0 Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night. The Packers did just enough in a 24-10 win over Washington last week while Arizona breezed to a 31-5 victory over the Texans.
The quality of competition amps up for both teams and with the short turnaround on Thursday night. This is a tough matchup to set betting odds for, but BetOnline and Bovada both have the Cardinals as -3.5 favorites. The hook looms large in that number and expect a lot of public betting to go Green Bay’s way.
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NFC Championship Preview?
With all due respect to the Rams, Cowboys, and Buccaneers – Arizona and Green Bay have just as good a chance as anybody to represent the NFC in this year’s Super Bowl. Futures betting has the Cardinals as 8.5/1 odds to win Super Bowl 56 while there’s great value in the Packers at 11/1 in what looks like the Aaron Rodgers swan song – in Green Bay at least.
The Packers got it done last Sunday, beating Washington by two TDs while covering the -8.5 betting line. Rodgers completed 77% of his passes against a good WFT defense while throwing for 3 TDs.
Green Bay has now won six straight after a season-opening loss to New Orleans, even while being held to 27 points or less in four straight games. That success is a testament to an ever-improving Packers defense who does face arguably its biggest test of the season against Kyler Murray and the Arizona offense.
Totals betting for this matchup has the O/U at 53.5. That’s a huge number, but the public will love the ‘over’ in this nationally televised contest. Sure the Packers defense faces some issues against Arizona, but defending Rodgers and Davante Adams isn’t exactly easy either for the Cardinals.
Arizona Out To Prove Legitimacy
The Cardinals are undefeated, and despite big wins over the Browns and the Rams this month, there are some who still don’t consider Arizona a viable threat in the postseason. That theory will change if the Cardinals can beat Green Bay and even cover the -3.5 betting line.
Arizona was in a ‘look ahead’ spot last week but maintained their focus in a 31-5 win over the Texans while covering the -20.5 betting line. Houston got out to a strange 5-0 lead, but the Cardinals decided to stop messing around in rattling off 31 straight points. Kyler Murray completed 70+ percent of his passes for the fifth time in the last six games and now has 7TD to 1 INT over his last two.
The Cardinals are averaging 32.1 ppg, which is 4th in the NFL. While the Arizona offense that features Murray and Deandre Hopkins is highly publicized, their defense is also #1 in the league in giving up just 16.3 ppg. Green Bay’s defense also gets overshadowed by their offense, and they rank #7 in the NFL in allowing 331.4 ypg.
Packers at Cardinals Pick
Taking the points in this Thursday’s NFL match seems like the way to go on paper, as Green Bay could easily win this game on moneyline betting. That being said, it is a short week in the Thursday night game, and Arizona playing their second consecutive road game has to be an advantage.
The Cardinals have answered the bell in every challenge they’ve faced this season, but the -3.5 is just too much against Rodgers. This feels like a game decided by a last-minute field goal.
Pick: Green Bay +3.5