Detroit Lions (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Minnesota Vikings (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS)
NFL Week 2
Date/Time: Sunday, September 20th, 2015, 1:00 pm EST
Where: TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minn.
TV: FOX, DirecTV 710
by Badger, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: DET +3/MIN -3
Over/Under Total: 44
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Two longtime NFC rivals now together in the North Division will both make an effort to get their first victory of the season in week two action on Sunday, when the Detroit Lions travel to TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Vikings in an early game on Fox.
Detroit let a 21-10 halftime lead in San Diego evaporate last weekend in their opener, giving up 23 second-half points in what turned into a disappointing, 33-28, loss to the Chargers. Holding onto leads has been a big problem for the Lions the past few seasons, and they will have little time to work out the issues before going on the road to take on the Vikings in Minnesota on Sunday.
A lot was expected out of Minnesota in their opener, with the return of Adrian Peterson at running back everyone was so hyped up about the Vikings that they were actually favorites on the road in San Francisco on Monday Night Football. However, the Vikings made numerous mistakes like a young team does, and A.P. was held to just 31 yards rushing on 10 carries in what was a, 20-3, shellacking by the 49ers on MNF.
With the Vikings opener on Monday night still less than 24 hours old, oddsmakers opened this NFC North tilt with Minnesota as the standard 3-point favorite that the home team usually gets in the NFL. With wagering on this game only a few hours old, the line has yet to move much, still holding at 3 points at most sportsbooks throught early betting. The over/under total opened at 44 and has dropped slightly to 43.5 at a few sportsbooks after the early steam.
Detroits offense wasnt too bad in their opener. Matthew Stafford did throw two touchdowns and a 24-yard touchdown run by rookie Ameer Abdullah provided the Lions fans with hope early, but two interceptions and a limited time of possession (only 46 plays, 21 minutes of possession to San Diegos 72 plays and 38 minutes of possession) ended up hurting the Lions chances at another late comeback. They will face a Vikings defense that played pretty good in their opener against a limited 49ers offense, except that they let running back Carlos Hyde and the 49ers run game go for 230 yards on 39 carries. The Lions three-headed running attack of Abdullah, Theo Reddick and Joique Bell should get plenty of carries come Sunday.
More was certainly expected out of the Vikings offense in the opener. A second year in Norv Turners offensive scheme was supposed to have QB Teddy Bridgewater prepared for 2015, and the return of A.P. was supposed to open up the play-action passing game, but with only 248 yards of total offense (71 rushing) that certainly was not the case for the Vikings so far. The return home in front of the hometown fans should give A.P. and the offense a lift, and a Detroit defense with issues in the secondary (gave up 388 yards in opener) could be just what Bridgewater and the Vikings need.
Historically, these two teams have played fairly even in recent years. Detroit did win both games last year, including a 17-3 win in Minneapolis (as 1-point dogs), but prior to that it has been 4-4 SU since the 2010 season. Another key betting trend that bodes well for Detroit is the fact that the underdog in this series is 6-1-1 ATS in the last eight meetings. However, that trend flies in the face of the fact the Lions are just 2-5-1 ATS in the last eight meetings and just 2-6-2 ATS in games played in Minnesota.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I was as surprised as anyone that the Vikings were the favorite in their opener, but I think they laid a dud will help their cause this week. I expect the number to drop as more money comes in on Detroit (currently a 76%-to-24% split in favor of the Lions), and I dont expect Peterson and the Vikings to struggle as much at home in Minneapolis either. If the number drops below minus -3, Im taking the Vikings.
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