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December 22, 2014

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Will the Packers finish undefeated? The numbers say yes

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If you’re an NFL team, you don’t wanna go up against these guys.

In Las Vegas, football fans frequently view the action on the NFL field from a unique perspective. This was certainly the case Sunday, during Green Bay’s riveting final-possession drive against the New York Giants and the ensuing 38-35 victory that allowed the Packers to remain unbeaten.

It might have been the last best hope for bettors who had wagered against a perfect regular season for the Packers.

Heading into the game, the line stood at minus 180 (risk $1.80 to win $1) that the Packers would not finish undefeated, and plus 150 (risk $1 to net $1.50) that they would go 16-0. (Odds vary slightly by casino property.)

This week, the adjusted odds on the Packers hint that Green Bay could have a smooth path in their quest to run the table.

The Packers are now minus 180 in Las Vegas sports books to finish 16-0. It’s plus 150 that they’ll lose at least one regular-season game. In other words, this was the pivotal weekend in which the prospect of perfection went from a considerable underdog to a sizable favorite. But is it worth getting involved in the prop?

The Packers, with four games left, are favored by 11 points Sunday against Oakland. Next, they play at Kansas City before finishing at home against Chicago and Detroit. Green Bay figures to be favored by 11 to 14 points in each game.

Historically in the NFL, an 11-point favorite has about an 87 percent chance of winning outright. When the spread reaches 13 points, the chance of winning increases to about 90 percent. Crunch the numbers and you’ll find the Packers have about a 63 percent chance of finishing undefeated, which translates to a money line of minus 170. Not  surprisingly, that figure falls smack in the middle of the minus 180/plus 150 spread currently on the betting boards.

Because the notion of making a bet in which the house has the advantage is foreign to me, I wouldn’t get involved at the current price. If you’re sold on the Pack, consider the early line on the Super Bowl at the Hilton, which has the NFC team minus 4.5 points. Obviously, Green Bay’s success has heavily influenced that number.

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