Houston Texans (3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS) vs. Minnesota Vikings (4-0 SU, 4-0 ATS)
NFL Week 5
Date/Time: Sunday, October 9, 2016, 1 pm EST
Where: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minn.
TV: CBS, DirecTV 707
by Badger, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: HOU +7/MIN -7
Over/Under Total: 40
The Minnesota Vikings will try and keep their roller coaster of a season going up when they put their undefeated record on the line against the Houston Texans inside brand new U.S. Bank Stadium this Sunday in week five NFL action on CBS.
The Vikings have not let the season-ending injuries to Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson derail their focus on playing winning football, keeping their record perfect with a, 24-10, victory over the New York Giants on Monday Night Football. Sam Bradford continues to play solid football despite being in the system for only a few weeks, and the Vikings defense continues to carry the load ranking second in the NFL for allowing a meager 13.3 points per game through four games.
But the Texans will bring a top-ranked defense into U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday too, as Houston secondary is currently ranked first in the NFL in pass defense allowing just 163 yards a game in the air. Houston moved to 3-1 this season with a tough, 27-20, win over Tennessee last Sunday.
The thought of Bradford having to throw against the NFL’s top pass defense hasn’t deterred oddsmakers from setting the Vikings as full touchdown 7-point favorites on Sunday. It hasn’t scared bettors from loading up on Minnesota at the betting window either, as nearly 70 percent of the “public” money on this game is on the side of the Vikings.
The over/under total opened at 40 and has stayed firm at that number, with the few exceptions of several sportsbooks moving off the total by the hook to make it 40.5 and take away the push as a possible result on Sunday.
As previously mentioned, most handicappers and bettors are looking at this game as a defensive battle feature two of the top units in the league. The best way to control a defense and dictate the pace of the game is through a solid running attack that controls the clock and moves the chains without too many third-and-longs. If that’s the case, it may favor the Texans and new running back Lamar Miller over the Vikings tag-team of Jerrick McKinnon and Matt Asiata, especially since Miller and the Texans have been averaging 113 ypg (11th in NFL) and the Vikings have struggled to run the ball this year with and without Peterson in the fold (51 ypg – 32nd).
What will also be worth watching is the health of the Vikings follow the short week after MNF. TE Kyle Rudolph (ribs/clavicle) and Stefon Diggs (groin) were both listed as questionable on the injury report this week, and even if either of them are playing at less than 100 percent it will play right into the hands of the Texans and their No. 1-ranked pass defense.
Historically, these two teams have met only three time before with Minnesota winning all three meetings and covering the point spread all three time as well. The last game in Minneapolis back in 2008 ended as a, 28-21, Vikings win as nearly identical 6.5-point favorites.
The rest of the potential betting trends are all over the map in this game, going in both directions depending on which side of the point spread and total you’re on. Minnesota is 22-8 ATS in their last 30 at home and both games in new U.S. Bank Stadium this year.
Badger's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Minnesota is the better team and is likely to win the NFC North this season despite their injury issues, but this is the week I think their luck finally runs out. They’ve ridden the home-crowd emotion twice already in beating the Packers and Giants at home, but the Texans defense is better than both of those teams. Both teams are going to struggle to move the ball and the Vikings could very well still win this game. But I don’t think they cover a touchdown. I’m taking Houston plus the 7-points in this game.
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