Minnesota Vikings (2-4 SU, 2-4 ATS) vs. Buffalo Bills (3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS)
NFL Week 7
Date and Time: Sunday, October 19, 2014, 1:00 pm EST
Where: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Buffalo, N.Y.
TV: Fox, DirecTV - 706
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Minn. +3.5/Buff. -3.5
Over/Under Total: 43
Two teams on the verge of slipping down the wrong side of the slippery slope toward irrelevance in the National Football League will meet in an early game on Sunday, when the Buffalo Bills host the Minnesota Vikings in Ralph Wilson Stadium in week seven action.
The Vikings enter the contest in the midst of a two-game losing streak, including last weeks struggling loss at home to the Detroit Lions, 17-3, but to make matters worse is the fact that both losses have come agsinst rivals from the NFC North. With rookie Teddy Bridgewater now two games into his professional career the stroking has calmed down a little, but this will be his first road game as an NFL quarterback so the book is still being written on Brdigewater and the Vikings for 2014.
Buffalo followed an inspiring come-from-behind victory on the road two weeks ago in Detroit with the exact opposite style of game in a disappointing loss at home to division rival New England last Sunday, 37-22. A few weeks ago the Bills shook things up by going with veteran Kyle Orton, and while it appears to have meant little on the field, the roller-coaster of a season continues on for the Bills with another chance at redemption against the Vikings come Sunday.
Oddsmakers opened the point spread for this game late on Sunday night with Buffalo as 4.5-point favorites at home, but after a full-day of action on Monday most sportsbooks have dropped the number a little to Buffalo minus -4 or -3.5 at a few books in Las Vegas.
The over/under total opened as high as 44.5 at a few sportsbooks, but you wont find the total that high anymore as the early steam has dropped the number to 43 at most books and even as low as 42.5 at a few offshore books.
The Vikings offense under Bridgewater struggled last week, gaining just barely over 200 total yards in the game including 143 yards passing and three costly interceptions by the rookie QB. The onus will once again be on Bridgewater to carry the Adrian Peterson-less Vikings offense in Buffalo this week too, especially since the Bills defense features a strong overall unit (11th in NFL) that is much better against the run (1st 67.5 ypg allowed) than they are against the pass (26th 269 ypg).
Buffalo and Orton will face a much-improved Vikings defense now, as the new coaching staff in Minnesota were brought in to shore up a super weak defense and after six weeks the Vikings are 8th overall in the NFL allowing 332 total yards a game. Orton was brought in to revamp the Bills passing game and make it more explosive, and while he has improved it slightly (19th in NFL 226 ypg) its the Bills running game and the two-headed monster at running back (Freddy Jackson and C.J. Spiller) who are underperforming and not doing enough on the ground to get defenses out of their nickel and dime packages.
Historically, the Bills have gotten the better of the two in this matchup in recent history, winning two of the last three games held in the 2000 decade. However, the last time these two played (the Tarvaris Jackson era in Minn.; the Ryan Fitzpatrick era in Buff.) it ended in a blowout won by the Vikings at home, 38-14.
Minnesota is 1-4 ATS in their last five games and havent been a very good wager in October (0-7-1 ATS in L8 in Oct.) when the air turns cooler. Another obscure betting trend worth mentioning is the fact that Buffalo is 0-8 ATS in their last eight game following a double-digit loss at home. Take that one for what its worth.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread:I expect the Bills to rebound back up, since this years roller-coaster-like ride hit another low point last week at home. But Im not sure the Bills are larger than 3-point favorites, maybe if the number drops below three. Im looking at a 24-21, or 24-20 type of game, so either way I think Im going to play opposite the line move and take the over of 43 (or 42.5 if you can get it).