NFL Christmas Day Odds And Picks: Packers Over Browns, Colts Take Care Of Cardinals

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Packers WR Allen Lazard (Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire)

The NFL will showcase a pair of games on Christmas Day with the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns kicking things off at 4:30 p.m. EST at Lambeau Field. The nightcap comes at 8:15 p.m. EST with the Indianapolis Colts traveling to the desert to face the Arizona Cardinals.

The Packers opened on oddsboards as a 7.5-point favorite over the Browns, and after some fluctuation across the industry, it’s settled back there at most books, including FanDuel and PointsBet. The forecast calls for less than a 10% chance of precipitation with the temperature hovering near freezing in Green Bay.

 

Cleveland Browns (7-7, 6-8 ATS) at Green Bay Packers (11-3, 11-3 ATS)

Time: 4:30 p.m. EST

DraftKings Line: Packers by 7.5 (45.5)

The skinny: Green Bay, the only team in the league to have clinched a playoff spot, enters the game looking to hold on to its one-game lead atop the NFC standings while the Browns are looking to hold on to their slim hopes of even making the playoffs.

Facts: Cleveland stands in last place in the AFC North, a game behind co-leaders Cincinnati and Baltimore, after its 16-14 home loss to Las Vegas on Monday. But had the Raiders not been successful on their last-second 48-yard FG try, the Browns would instead be in first via tiebreaker.

Green Bay, meanwhile, withstood a late charge by the Ravens and rookie backup QB Tyler Huntley to win in Baltimore 31-30, benefiting from a missed 2-point try in the final minute after the Ravens closed a late 31-17 deficit.

Of the 22 games played on Christmas Day in history, home teams have gone 11-11, but have won six of the past seven since 2010. Included was a 35-21 Packers win over the Bears at Lambeau in 2011 with QB Aaron Rodgers throwing five TD passes.

 

Bet TypeSpreads
Open

Analysis: It was reported early Thursday that Cleveland QB Baker Mayfield will be eligible to play because his 10-day COVID quarantine will have expired Friday. So, the Browns won’t be inserting third-stringer Nick Mullens like last week. Also back is head coach Kevin Stefanski after a week’s absence.

But still, the Browns will be operating on an extra-short week and traveling after their game scheduled for last Saturday was postponed to Monday because of their COVID issues.

These are a lot of points to give a desperate Browns team, but tipping the choice in Green Bay’s favor is that Cleveland DE Myles Garrett is quesitonable with a groin injury. He’s third in the league with 15 sacks, but hasn’t had that extra giddy-up recently and has no QB hits the past two weeks after getting 28 previously.

Browns at Packers Pick

Packers 31, Browns 20

The Cardinals opened as a 1-point pick over the Colts, but as of Thursday morning you could get the number at -0.5 in favor of Arizona at BetRivers.

Indianapolis Colts (8-6, 9-5 ATS) at Arizona Cardinals (10-4, 9-5 ATS)

Time: 8:15 p.m. EST

FanDuel Line: Cardinals -1.5 (48.5)

The skinny: Indianapolis will be looking to keep the heat on AFC South leader Tennessee with a victory over a Cardinals team that’s coming off a road loss to a Detroit team that had the league’s worst record entering Week 15.

Facts: All of a sudden the Cardinals are the worst-seeded NFC division leader after being the top projected seed much of the season.

Arizona was a 30-12 road loser to Detroit, which entered the game with a 1-11-1 mark. That Lions victory matched their most lopsided the past four seasons. In that meeting, Lions RB Craig Reynolds rushed for 112 yards in his first career start after being an undrafted free agent in 2019.

Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray had a passer rating of at least 104 in six of the team’s first seven games, but in losing three of the past four, he’s been below 73 three times. He’s also now without top receiver De’Andre Hopkins (IR, knee) for at least the rest of the regular season.

Indianapolis is coming off a rousing victory over New England last Saturday, 27-17, with RB Jonathan Taylor rushing for 170 yards. It was his eighth 100-yard game this year and all coming after the Colts’ 0-3 start to the season.

However, throwing cold water on the triumph was that the passing game wasn’t carrying its weight, with QB Carson Wentz only 5-for-12 passing, with a TD and interception. Leading receiver Michael Pittman caught only one of five targeted balls.

Analysis: Not only has the Cardinals’ offense stagnated, but the pass defense has been shredded the past two weeks by two guys who were traded for each other this offseason, the Rams’ Matthew Stafford and Detroit’s Jared Goff, who both had 139 ratings. For Goff, it was his best of the season.

Arizona won’t be facing a running back making his first career start and it will try to slow the league’s leading rusher in Taylor, who’s got 1,518 yards.

If the Patriots’ brain trust and solid defense didn’t have an answer for Taylor and that powerful Colts offensive line, the Cardinals probably won’t either.

Arizona will be operating on a short week. The Colts probably qualify as the team more desperate for a victory.

Colts at Cardinals Pick

Colts 28, Cardinals 16

Last week: 9-7 ATS, 10-6 SU
Season total: 106-115-3 (.480) ATS; 136-87-1 (.610) SU
About the Author
Bob Christ

Bob Christ

Writer
Bob Christ, based in New Mexico, is a sports betting writer at Gaming Today. He has been a gaming writer (primarily for the NFL) for more than four decades, with his work appearing in publications and websites across North America. Christ is a big fan of the Arkansas Razorbacks, Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies, and the NHL's Winnipeg Jets.

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