Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers NFL First Touchdown: Expert Picks & Predictions (1/20/24)

Get Packers vs. 49ers NFL first touchdown odds & picks for their (1/20/24) matchup.

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Packers vs 49ers First Touchdown Picks

With a total set over 50 at most sportsbooks, this edition of the classic San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers rivalry is set to feature plenty of scoring. If this turns into an old-school shootout in friendly California weather, scoring first and getting out in front to set the tone could be a tremendous advantage.

Let’s dig into some NFL Wild Card first touchdown picks for this 49ers vs. Packers matchup, where we’ll look at star running backs like Christian McCaffrey and Aaron Jones, along with a few long-shot bets.

Christian McCaffrey First Touchdown (+285)

There’s a reason McCaffrey has by far the shortest odds for all touchdown-scoring props in this one. He’s the most lethal offensive weapon in the NFL, and the Niners have done a great job maximizing him this season.

Despite taking week 18 off, he finished as the season leader as the NFL leader in scrimmage yardage and touchdowns. He led the league in rushing yards for the first time in his career, setting a career high with 21 total scores.

The Niners have the league’s top red zone offense, scoring touchdowns on 67.16% of their trips inside the opponent’s 20 yard line. McCaffrey is a huge reason why, as his dynamic skill set helps the team stay as unpredictable around the goal line as they are in the wide open spaces closer to midfield.

Against Green Bay’s average red zone defense — and their 28th-ranked defense by DVOA — McCaffrey should hit pay dirt if given the chance. Knowing this year’s Niners, he’s pretty likely to get that chance, so his extremely short odds are genuinely warranted.

Aaron Jones First Touchdown (+800)

Last week, we discussed how Jones’s volume was trending upwards, making him a solid pick for this prop. Not only did he score first and cash the bet, but he scored two more times, matching his entire regular season total in just one postseason game. Once again, he has the shortest odds of any Packer, but just the fourth-shortest odds overall, signaling that the sportsbooks clearly expect the Niners to strike first.

That seems like an inefficient method of setting odds. Yes, the 49ers should eventually pull away in this one, but the Packers could simply win the coin toss, march down the field, and score before the Niners even have a chance to strike. Jones surely isn’t as likely as McCaffrey to be the first scorer, but the other three 49ers deemed more likely than he is are much more debatable.

It’s true that the Packers’ recent offensive explosion has been largely air-based, but against the 49ers, they may need to adapt. San Francisco finished the regular season 4th in the league in DVOA against the pass, but just 15th against the rush.

Even though the Packers generally prefer to throw the ball, Jones should be the recipient of some goal line touches, which could be met with plenty of success. The Niners surprisingly rank just 15th in the league in defensive red zone efficiency, allowing touchdowns on 54.55% of opponent trips inside the 20. If the Packers are able to drive down to near the goal line, there’s a pretty good chance Jones finds the end zone.

Jayden Reed First Touchdown (+1500)

This is very likely the best buy-low opportunity we’ll have in this game. Reed is far from a lock, but like Jones, he’s definitely not priced appropriately. He was a tremendous part of Jordan Love’s strong play to end the regular season, as he’s developed quite a rapport with the Packers’ young passer.

Then, against the Cowboys, he was a ghost. He was targeted three times, and didn’t haul in a single reception. That goose-egg performance came right on the heels of Reed setting career-highs for receiving yardage in consecutive weeks to wrap up the regular season.

The Niners allowed 22 passing touchdowns this year, compared to just 10 on the ground. It’s an interesting trend given the overall grades for their passing and rushing defenses, but things can be very different around the goal line.

Moreover, the Packers are definitely an air-first team. They finished the regular season ranked fourth in the league in passing offense DVOA, but a very average 15th in rushing. They could adapt to the Niners’ relative strengths and weaknesses, but if they try to continue to just play their usual game, Reed could be a big beneficiary.

Ronnie Bell First Touchdown (+4000)

Every touchdown scorer article needs a good long shot, and Bell certainly fits the bill with 40-to-1 odds. Currently, he’s priced behind guys like Ray Ray McCloud, who has not scored this year, as he’s mostly been used as a returner, and only owns two career touchdowns.

Bell is playing pretty well of late, especially in terms of finding the end zone. As a rookie seventh-round draft pick, he hasn’t had all that many opportunities given San Francisco’s loaded roster, but he’s scored two of his three touchdowns in the past two weeks.

It’s also worth noting that Bell has hit this prop before, with long odds in that instance as well. Back in September, when the 49ers hosted the Giants, Bell was the first player to find the end zone, so it has happened before; he doesn’t necessarily need the game to be a blowout for him to score.

If the Niners want to pull a fast one on the Packers and give a very different look, they could give Bell a shot. He has big-play potential, and could be a good dark horse candidate to be the first scorer in this playoff clash.

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From starting my own blog in Middle School, to working on a friend’s in college, and finally joining the Lineups team this year, I’ve been writing about sports for over a decade and betting on them as long as I’ve been legally able. I graduated from the University of Michigan last year, where I took sports journalism classes alongside my business major. Having played and watched sports for almost my whole life, I aim to provide insight and entertainment, as well as profitable picks, in my writing about professional and collegiate leagues.

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