Minnesota Vikings (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) vs. Denver Broncos (3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS)
NFL Week 4
Date/Time: October 4th, 4:25 PM E
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High
by Jeff Hochman, Professional Handicapper, jhsportsline.com
Point Spread: Minn +6.5/ DEN -6.5
Over/Under Total: 42.5
The Minnesota Vikings have won back-to-back games after opening the season with a Monday Night loss at San Francisco. Last Sunday, the Vikings defeated the Chargers 31-14 as 2.5-point home favorites. Minnesota was not sharp as they were outgained by 115 yards. The Vikings are just 1-2 ITS (in the stats) this season. They will now travel to Mile High looking for an upset victory against the undefeated Broncos.
Denver had very little trouble playing their second straight road game after opening the season at home. The Broncos defeated the Lions 24-12 as 3-point road chalk. Denver outgained the Lions by 64 yards and sit at 2-1 ITS this season. Make no mistake about it, Denver is winning with their defense. They rank in the top third in yards and points against. The front seven is nearly impossible to run against. Adrian Peterson could be in for a long day as the Broncos are ranked 6th (81.6 yards per game) against the run. The Vikings like to run early which sets up play-action later in the game. That could be a problem for the Vikings in this matchup. The Broncos have been very tough at home when playing without a loss. They are 10-1 SU and 8-3 ATS in this role of late.
The Vikings are ranked 24th against the run allowing 119 yards per game, but it not might matter. The Broncos enter this game ranked second to last in rushing yards per game with just 57. The Vikings run defense has allowed big chunks of yardage, so I would expect a heavy dose of C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman early and often. If that doesn’t work, the Broncos will rely on a passing attack that is ranked 17th. On the flip side, the Vikings are ranked dead last in passing at 149.7 yards per game. The Vikings love to run, but the Broncos have been stout against the run so far this season. Minnesota is not the type of team that can spread teams out and throw the ball at will. They rather slow the game down and take advantage of their red-zone opportunities.
Both offenses are averaging less than 300 yards per game. The big difference between these two teams is on defense, where the Vikings are allowing 372 yards per game, while the host Broncos are allowing only 267 yards per contest. The Broncos are ranked No. 2 in special teams, while the Vikings are ranked No. 13. Not a major difference, although the Broncos are much better at special teams tackling. I don’t know how you can bet against the Broncos at home right now. They own a sizable home filed advantage with the high altitude and everything that goes with it. Based on my power rankings this line seems about right. The eye test tells me the Broncos are playing better and should be able to cover this 6.5-point spread.
The Vikings are 1-6 SU and 2-5 ATS in October games over the last three seasons. The Broncos are 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS as home chalk of 3.5 to 7 points over the last three seasons. This line is heading up, so if you agree with me take the Broncos ASAP.
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Denver -6.5
I have been on the Vikings the past two weeks and have been rewarded with two winners. This seems like the worst opponent for the road team to play right now. The Vikings don’t gain many passing yards and are nicked up at wide receiver. The Broncos have a big advantage in red-zone scoring and overall defense. Take the home team!
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