2015 Week 13 Thursday Night ATS Pick
** As always, Thursday Night picks will be included as one of my five weekly picks. A full review of the previous week will be included when I pick the remaining four games this week**
Green Bay -3 (105) @ Detroit
Over the last week, this line experienced what is referred to as "reverse line movement." Reverse line movement occurs when a majority of bets come in on one team, but the line moves in favor of the other, indicating a split in perception between amateur and professional bettors. In this scenario, amateur bettors have been in favor of Green Bay, while professional bettors have been in favor of Detroit. Professional bets on Detroit brought this line from its Green Bay -5.5 open down to Green Bay -3 within just a few hours of being available. However, the line has stayed at -3 ever since, indicating that the current spread is perceived to be correct by the overall market. So why do I like Green Bay -3 if the market has this game priced where it believes it should be?
I believe the 'market' is wrong on both teams. Green Bay has struggled on offense. This is widely known and is the primary driver in the line movement down to -3. However, despite struggling on offense, Green Bay has actually been incredibly competitive in all three of its recent losses. Against Carolina, Green Bay lost by one score because they couldn't convert a first and goal red-zone opportunity. Against Chicago, Green Bay lost by less than a touch down because they couldn't convert a first and goal red-zone opportunity. Against Detroit, Green Bay lost because they couldn't convert a two-point conversion from the two yard line to send the game in to overtime. Despite playing their worst offense, the Packers were within 10 yards of winning or forcing overtime in all three of their losses. I don't expect Green Bay to turn things completely around on offense, but they don't need to. If Green Bay can play marginally better on offense, they should win pretty easily tonight in Detroit.
Detroit has played better in recent weeks, but it is important to put some context around their play. They dominated the Eagles, but only after the Eagles lost an even more lopsided game to the below .500 Buccaneers the week before. This Detroit team is only 3 weeks removed from a 1-7 record and a 35 point loss to the Chiefs.
While it may seem like picking the road favorite Packers along with a vast majority of amateur bettors is a 'consensus' play that goes against my general picking philosophy, I actually believe it fits perfectly with my desire to pick mis-priced games. A minority of professionals are pricing this game and it is just happenstance that they are undervaluing a team amateurs love to bet. I like the Packers to win a close game.