Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions Pick ATS 12/5/21
Minnesota Vikings (5-6 SU, 6-5 ATS) v. Detroit Lions (0-10-1 SU, 7-4 ATS)
NFL Week 13
When: Sunday, Dec. 5 at 1 pm ET
Where: Ford Field - Detroit, MI
Point Spread: MIN -7/DET +7 (BetNow)
Over/Under Total: 46.5
Watching NFL teams jockey for playoff position is fun, but have you tried watching Detroit find a way to lose each week? Most kidding aside, the 2021 Lions are surely better than their winless record suggests, and they enter the week as the fifth-best ATS team this season with a 7-4 mark. After looking great against Green Bay in Week 11, Minnesota couldn’t duplicate their winning ways last week and will now have to work their way back into the playoff picture without Dalvin Cook, who injured his shoulder. Minnesota has won the last eight contests in this series, but each of the last two contests have been decided by two points, with Detroit getting the ATS win in both.
Minnesota is looking to shake a trend that has seen them go just 1-8 against the spread in their last nine as the favorite, and they have zero ATS wins in the last six against an opponent with a losing record. The Vikings do have four ATS wins in their last five on the road, but it has been tough sledding against the NFC with a 4-9 ATS mark in the last thirteen conference games. Detroit has five ATS wins in their last seven against the NFC North but are just 4-10 in the last fourteen immediately following an ATS win. The favorite has won six of the last eight against the spread, and Minnesota has won five of the last seven ATS in Detroit. The UNDER is 11-5 in this series over the last eight seasons, and the UNDER has hit in eight of the last nine Detroit games overall. The OVER has paid in seven of the last eight when Minnesota is on the road and seven of nine inside the division. Minnesota is seeing about 65% of the public money as of Wednesday, and the over/under betting is essentially a 50-50 split.
There is no disputing that Minnesota has some of the best individual talents on offense, with Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, and Adam Thielen among league leaders in a variety of categories. Even Kirk Cousins is having one of his best statistical seasons, but the wins haven’t been there as the Minnesota defense is 2nd to last in yards allowed and 24th in scoring defense at 25.1 points per game. Strangely, Minnesota is 9th in third-down defense and leads the league in sacks, but those are about the only positive stats for a defense that is allowing 32.2 points over the last four games. With Cook out, Alexander Mattison will take over in the backfield. He rushed for 113 yards against Detroit during a 19-17 win in Week 5 and is in line for plenty of work on Sunday against the Lions 29th ranked run defense. Justin Jefferson has hit the 1,000-yard mark on the season, and Adam Thielen’s ten receiving touchdowns are tied for the league lead. There isn’t much playmaking behind that duo so look for Cousins to feature them as usual. Kicker Greg Joseph leads the league in FG makes from 50+ yards, and that was key in Week 5 as he made two from distance, including a 54-yarder with no time left. The defense has already been working without Danielle Hunter, and Everson Griffen could also be without Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr, who are both questionable.
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Detroit’s Week 10 tie assures that they won’t lose them all, but a zero-win season is looking more and more likely, with Bovada giving +250 odds that they will not win a game. The Lions are at +275 to win this week which represents their best chance of the remaining games, but with the 30th ranked offense and 27th ranked defense, it isn’t hard to see why they are favored to lose out. D’Andre Swift has been the lone bright spot for the offense with 984 scrimmage yards and six touchdowns, but he will miss this weekend with a bad shoulder. Jamaal Williams is a capable runner and pass-catcher but losing the best playmaker is a big problem for a team that didn’t have many, to begin with. TE T.J. Hockenson leads the team with 57 catches for 534 yards, but the 9.4 yards per catch average is indicative of how low-powered this offense is. Jared Goff is completing 67% of his passes but has managed a meager ten touchdowns on the season, with just five going to wide receivers. The defense is 31st in sacks and is allowing the 7th best passer rating to opposing QBs. Detroit has played hard and has really only been blown out on three occasions, but the team is generally missing the tools to win in any phase.
Vikings Win it with Offense
Since their Week 5 meeting against Detroit, Minnesota has averaged 28 points per game and has hit the 30-mark in three of those contests. If they push that pace on Sunday, I don’t see the Lions getting the ATS win as they have failed to hit the 20-point threshold at any point so far. Nineteen points against the Rams has been the best output for the Lions, and they have been held to 14 or fewer on five occasions. Cousins has the two best playmakers on the field in Jefferson and Thielen, and I think Minnesota can absorb the loss of Cook against this opponent. On top of the 113 rushing yards that Mattison notched in Week 5, he also caught seven balls with one receiving score. Seven penalties for 74 yards stalled several drives for Minnesota in that contest, but they did still win the time of possession battle and punted just three times. I think their efficiency improves this weekend, and they will walk out of Detroit with a 30-17 win.Ted Walker’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Minnesota
NFC WEST GAME OF THE YEAR! (1/30)
Ben Burns had some HUGE WINS from within the NFC West this season. Perhaps the biggest was his MNF TOTAL OF THE YEAR WINNER between the 49'ers and Rams on 11/15. Those NFC West rivals meet on an even bigger stage this weekend and Burns is GOING ALL IN. Don't wait!