NFL Betting: Week 1 - Green Bay vs Minnesota

An early preview for Week 1 NFL action between the Packers and Vikings from betting expert Howard Schwartz.

Preview and pick for the Week 1 matchup between the Packers and Vikings

This week, we turn our eyes to Minneapolis, where Green Bay will play their first game of the season. The Packers are favored by two points on the road and this could come down to the wire. Aaron Rodgers, the new $50 Million Dollar Man, will have everyone back except for Davante Adams. NFL Week 1 free pickAR has Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb to throw the ball to as well as Green Bay's new 3rd round draft pick, Christian Watson. In the back field, Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon will do most of the running. In order to compensate for the loss of D. Adams, we feel Rodgers will be throwing additional passes to Jones and Dillon as they come running out from the back field. He does have plenty of weapons, but it's the defense that will shine in 2022.

Defensive draft upgrades

Green Bay Minnesota free pickGreen Bay used their first two draft picks to focus on improving their defense. They took linebacker Quay Walker and DT Devonte Wyatt with their first two picks, #22 and #28 overall. They were part of a draft class from Georgia that saw a record 15 total players taken, including five defensive starters in the first round. Last season, the Packers had a solid group on defense allowing 371 points during the regular season. By comparison, this past year's Super Bowl teams, the Rams and the Bengals, each gave up 372 and 376 points, respectively. The Packers are a good team, but they will miss 123 completed passes and 11 TDs with the loss of Davante Adams.

New coaches in Minnesota

Switching over to Minnesota, the Vikings used this off season to clean house after two rough seasons. In 2020 they finished at 7 – 9 and then staggered this past year to make it to 8 – 9. To be fair, the Vikings had some tough injuries, lost some key players to free agency, and were hit hard by Covid. The other key element here is the team simply got tired of HC Mike Zimmer, with his players giving up on him. In addition to firing their Head Coach, the Vikings sacked their GM, Defensive Coordinator, OL Coach, Assistant OL Coach, Assistant HC, Special Teams Coordinator, D Back Coach, Offensive Coordinator, Special Teams Coach, WR coach, etc., etc., etc. If you ever needed a prime example of cleaning the house, Minnesota provided it.

Packers Vikings odds previewWe love the move from a defensive HC to one who is offensive minded. This upcoming season is all about throwing the ball. New HC Kevin O'Connell was the QB coach for Washington in 2017, which coincidentally was to be the best year of football played by their QB Kirk Cousins. Now reunited in Minneapolis, this relationship is very solid and extremely positive going into the season. The Vikings have Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson on the outside for Cousins to throw to, as well as K.J. Osborn, who is sneaky, fast and knows how to get himself open. At TE, they have Irv Smith Jr. who was out last year with an injury. This group, backed up by Dalvin Cook in the back field and with good off season signings, should open the many eyes this coming year.

We should also note the following: 2022 is a contract year for Cousins, as well as their super star receiver Jefferson. Like Green Bay, Minnesota also went on the defense in the draft, picking up Lewis Cine at #32. He played at Georgia after being coached in HS by none other than Deion Sanders. Cine played so well in his first year that he decided to turn pro. At 6’2 and running a 4.3, the Viking have a unique safety. They then drafted Andrew Booth Jr. at #42, a CB from Clemson, who we believe should be starting.

In the early NFL Week 1 betting odds posted on this game by industry leader BookMaker, the Vikings are home dogs:

Green Bay Packers  (-2.5)
Minnesota Vikings  (+2.5)

Over 49 Points
Under 49 Points

As we mentioned above, Covid played a role in Minnesota's lackluster 2021 season. The Vikings were #1 in unvaccinated players last year and paid the price. Between recovery of some tough injuries and key signings in the off season, the Vikings are ready to roll.

Our closing thoughts on this game and the team are defined by the Vikings nine losses last year. They lost 8 of them by a one score. The 9th loss was Week 17 in Green Bay without Cousins, eliminated from the playoffs and the weather was 2 degrees. Because of the weather, Cook could only manage 13 yards on 9 carries. 

We like Minnesota at home, getting 2 points and +115 on the moneyline. 

Howard Schwartz has been providing betting insights for over a decade on Facebook. Check out his social media group for more betting tips and Super Bowl wagering advice. Next up will be the Week 1 matchup between the Broncos vs. the Seahawks. 

Sign-up for the OSGA Newsletter!

Every week get news and updates, exclusive offers and betting tips delivered right to you email inbox.