Minnesota Vikings (6-6 SU,7-5 ATS) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10 SU, 5-7 ATS)
NFL Football Week 14
Date/Time: Sunday, December 11 at 1pm ET
Where: EverBank Field
by Evergreen, Pro Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Minn -3.5/JAX +3.5
Over/Under Total: 39
No matter where your team sits record-wise, everyone wants to finish strong this time of year. Minnesota heads to Jacksonville this weekend for a contest that will play a big role in whether the Vikings will be home for the playoffs or safely in the postseason draw. The Jags are winding up another disappointing season but the motivation has stayed high for the players that are trying to keep their jobs. The weather will be much nicer in Jacksonville than in Minneapolis but the Jaguars will be looking to put the Minnesota playoff push on ice.
Despite a recent losing streak, Minnesota is getting the love from the online betting sites as the 3.5 point favorite. While Jacksonville has managed just two wins to this point, they have found their way to five wins against the spread so this one is no slam dunk although that appears to be the popular opinion with 80% of the public money bet on the Vikings to cover. The Sagarin Computers have Minnesota ranked 11th and Jacksonville 29th but it should be noted that the Jags have gone against much better competition. Their schedule has ranked as the 7th hardest through 13 weeks while Minnesota’s 6-6 record has come against the 20th ranked schedule. The Sagarin offense-defense method is predicting a 20-15 win for the Vikings.
It is hard to know what to make of Minnesota at this point. The major injuries during the early part of the season didn’t slow them on their way to a 5-0 start but the Vikes are just 1-6 since the bye week including three losses in the division. A 30-24 win against Arizona is the only W since that fast start and Minnesota finds itself tied with Green Bay at two games behind NFC North leading Detroit. They are probably thinking that they need to win out to make the postseason and they could start that winning trend against the struggling Jags. The Vikings defense remains the star of the show. That unit enters the week ranked 3rd in total yards allowed and 4th in points, giving up just 17.4 per game.
Jacksonville is a team likely heading for a variety of changes this offseason. Everyone had high expectations for this team but none of them ever materialized and there isn’t much left to do past playing out the string. There have been some positives even in the losses as the Jags have only really been blown out once. A 38-14 loss to San Diego was an unsightly blemish but losses by seven or less to Buffalo, Detroit and Kansas City suggest a competitive team that simply doesn’t know how to win yet. Minnesota represents another good team that Jacksonville stands a chance to stay close to but the appearance is that this will be another close loss. There was a lot of attention paid to the defense in the off-season and there have been some positive results on that side of the ball. The Jaguars defense has allowed the 4th fewest total yards thus far and the 2nd fewest passing yards but they do give up quite a bit on the ground and allow 26.1 points per game, good for just 26th in the league. Those stats are an improvement over 2015 but not enough to lead to consistent winning as the Jags offense and specifically Blake Bortles has regressed.
The top-end production has been absent for Bortles and he has thrown nearly as many interceptions as touchdowns with a 20-to-15 ratio thus far. He is completing just 58% of his passes overall and that has not been a good combination paired with the Jags 22nd ranked run offense. Neither T.J. Yeldon or Chris Ivory has been able to crack four yards per carry and Ivory may miss the game with a bad hamstring. The trio of Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Julius Thomas looks formidable on paper but none of the three have been able to find a rhythm with Bortles. Hurns and Thomas are also battling hamstring injuries which is not good news as the Jags go against the 4th ranked passing defense. Look for Xavier Rhodes to shadow Allen Robinson which will be a tough matchup for A-Rob to win with Rhodes already grabbing four interceptions.
Minnesota is not without its share of offensive issues. The Vikings enter the week ranked dead last in rush yards at 72 per game and the offensive line is really the culprit there. Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon are both dual threat backs but neither is over 3.3 yards per carry and that lack of production has put a lot of pressure on a pedestrian passing offense. Sam Bradford has done a good job of game management with a 71% completion rate and just three interceptions but the big plays have been missing and the Vikes wind up 26th in scoring at 19.4 points per game. Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and Kyle Rudolph are better receivers than most casual fans realize but the low-risk passing approach has all three averaging less than 12.6 yards per catch. The big plays seem to be baked into gadget plays and kick returns with Cordarrelle Patterson providing some flash but the meat and potatoes offense needs improvement if Minnesota is going to win in these last few weeks.
I have a feeling that this is going to be a much closer game than most people are predicting. Jacksonville is no push-over on defense and Minnesota does not appear to be able to land the big blows that other teams have used to dispatch the Jags. Neither team should be planning to run much come Sunday so this one really falls in the hands of the quarterbacks. Bradford has the edge in terms of ball security but the Vikings are not built to score fast and will have to grind it out on the road, something that they haven’t done well over the past month and a half. If Bortles can keep the turnover count at minus-one or better, then Jacksonville has a reasonable chance to cover the spread or even pull the outright upset. Check to make sure the Jags haven’t lost all their playmakers to injury but if most are present, I am taking the Jags and the points. It won’t be pretty for either team and that is plenty reason enough to take the home dog. Minnesota will win but 23-20 or 17-14 is more likely than anything else and that pays the Jaguars side of things.
Evergreen’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Jacksonville
Bet your pick at an online sportsbook that offers it's clients a GIANT 100% deposit bonus which allows you to deposit $100 to $500 where they will match you dollar for dollar with a 100% bonus! Example: Deposit $400 and get $400 additional added to your betting acount! This is not a free play either! This is a REAL-CASH-BONUS! Find this great offer as well as a free half point every time you bet your favorite college/pro team at GTBets!
Need some help with your handicapping? Our NFL betting tips will help the begineer to novice bettor improve their bottom line.
Editor's Picks - Each week our in house pro's tackle the week's card and make predictions on the week's games ATS! Best bets, top plays, premium selections, etc. FREE!
Expert NFL Picks - Free premium plays from the "real" expert football handicappers from around the web. Don't fall for second rate picks from ESPN, the NFL Network, Hank Goldberg or the screaming touts on TV.
Underdog of the Week Pick - We forecast the loudest barking dog of the week. Expect a 60% winning percentage with these plays.
Favorite of the Week Play - We examine "the chalk" and determine the safest bet in which who you should lay the points with. Forecasting winning favorites long term isn't easy, but we've had some pretty good luck with it over the years.
Line Movement Plays - We report all the major line moves from the gridiron and forecast whether it's public money or sharp action causing the move. Who will cover the spread this week? Our line move plays!
NFL Consensus Picks - See what the general public is betting on. We use this info to fade the public to the tune of big profits over the course of the season.
Bookies Picks - Each week, we'll post which side the bookies are on. Please note: These are not OUR picks. We're simply reporting the teams the bookies need to cover the spread in order for them to win. Games receiving equal action on both sides will not be factored into these records.
Office Pool Picks - You asked for it and you got it! Each week, we'll post our predictions to win each game straight up so that you can RULE your pick'em league!
NFL Trends - Don't ever let anybody tell you that the trend is your friend. These picks make great fades which is exactly what we do with them.
NFL Computer Picks - We enter the statistics into the database and the computer crunches the numbers and gives final score predictions. These should be used for entertainment only!
Monday Night Football Picks - The ultimate bailout play. Our MNF picks are golden and have hit 62% or better 3 out of the past 4 years. (Last season was a disaster!) Did we mention that their FREE?
2016 NFL Predictions - Badger breaks down each division and gives his picks on which teams he thinks will win the AFC and NFC Conferneces (plus Super Bowl winner prediction).
Super Bowl Picks - Everybody here in the Predictem office takes their best preseason shot at predicting the winner Superbowl 50. Pride is on the line here! Oh, and LOOT too!
5Dimes - Bet your NFL football picks at -105 odds every day of the week! 15 team parlays! 20 point teasers! Pleasers and huge point buying opportunities as well!
Bovada - Tired of deposit hassles? Bet on football using your credit card at a sportsbook where your Visa CAN and WILL work for deposits! Offers a 50% sign-up bonus up to $250 FREE!
MyBookie - Credit cards work GREAT here! Get a massive 50% bonus up to $1000 in free cash!
Bookmaker - Watch the game for a bit THEN make a wager! Yes! You can jump in after the action has started using their awesome live betting feature! Get a massive 50% bonus up to $300 in FREE bonus cash OR take advantage of their enormous 15% bonus up to $2500 in free cash! The best sportsbook for highrollers!
Super Bowl Betting - We explain all the different types of wagers you can making including point spread bets, totals, moneylines and prop bets. No need to go to Vegas! You can bet the big game online!
Weekly Fantasy Football - If you drafted a crappy team or the injury bug has bit you and wrecked your season, we've got something really cool to turn you on to that will change the way you play fantasy sports forever!
Famous Football Quotes - From the inspirational to the greatest touchdown calls of all time. We've got them!
Pro Football Hall of Fame - A full list of NFL players who have been inducted into the NFL HOF.
The Spread - Offers free NFL football predictions, matchups, stats including both offensive and defensive and more!
Fantasy Football Sites - Get recommendations on where to find weekly updated player news, depth charts and legit websites that offer the best stat and record tracking for your fantasy football league.