Minnesota Vikings (3-2 SU, 4-1 ATS) vs. Detroit Lions (1-5 SU, 1-5 ATS)
NFL Week 7
Date/Time: Sunday, October 25, 2015, 1:00 pm EST
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Mich.
TV: FOX, DirecTV 705
by Badger, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MIN -3/DET +3
Over/Under Total: 44.5
Two teams trying desperately to stay alive in the NFC North title chase will clash at Ford Field in week seven NFL action, when the Minnesota Vikings travel to take on the Detroit Lions this Sunday in an early game on Fox.
With the Green Bay Packers sitting at 6-0 atop the NFC North standings going into their bye week this weekend, the Vikings have an opportunity to get a game closer to the top and at the same time separate themselves from the chase pack in the division when they travel to Michigan for a game against the rival Lions. The Vikings moved to 3-2 on the season with a, 16-10, victory over Kansas City last weekend, but its safe to say the win wasnt pretty by any means even against a Chiefs team that is totally lost on offense without star running back Jamaal Charles.
Detroit needed almost the entire 15 minute overtime against the Chicago Bears in last weeks contest at home inside Ford Field, but the Lions finally got their first win of the season when they prevailed in another divisional game, 37-34. A Matthew Stafford desperation bomb was answered when Calvin Johnson came down with the clutch catch, setting up a game-winning 27-yard field goal by Matt Prater to give the Lions their first mark in the win column for 2015.
But last weeks results dont mean much to oddsmakers in Las Vegas. Despite the fact the Vikings struggled against a punchless Chiefs team and the Lions outlasted the Bears, its actually the Vikings that opened as 1-point favorites on the road on Sunday. Then they short-memories on the betting public poured money in on the Vikings and the point spread has since shot up to as high as Minnesota minus -3 at some sportsbooks.
The over/under total opened at 44 and hasnt moved as much as the point spread, going up the hook to 44.5 at a most books after just a short period of time being up on the board.
Minnesota is still feeling the growing pains of playing with second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who has struggled protecting the ball like most young QBs in the league with more interceptions (4) than touchdowns through five games. His struggles have made the Vikings somewhat one-dimensional, relying on Adrian Peterson and the running game (126 ypg 6th in NFL) to carry the load without the ability to stretch the field with a passing game ranked 31st in a 32-team league at only 180 yards per game. Fortunately for the Vikings, the Lions defense has struggled just as much as Bridgewater giving up big yards (387 ypg 28th) and even bigger points allowing 28.7 per game (29th).
Part of the reason the Lions were winless prior to last week, other than getting screwed by the officials in Seattle, is the poor play up front along the offensive line. Stafford was sacked twice by the Bears last week, which ties the Lions for dead-last in the league by already giving up 22 sacks thus far in 2015. Stafford has been a crash-test dummy all season because the Lions still cant run the ball (67 ypg 32nd), and just when you think rookie Ameer Abdullah is going to be a threat he puts the ball on the carpet with fumbling issues. Minnesotas defense has made huge improvement in the past few years and the currently sit in the upper half of the league in most categories including yards allowed (352 ypg 13th), pass defense (240 ypg 14th) and points allowed (16.6 ppg 2nd).
Sundays game will complete the two-game series between the two divisional rivals, since the Vikings won at home at TCF Bank Stadium in week three, 26-16, in a game the Lions had three turnovers in and Peterson ran 29 times for 134 yards. The Vikings also covered as similar 2.5-point favorites, their second straight cover against the spread in the head-to-head matchup and sixth time theyve covered against the Lions in their last eight meetings. Detroit is pretty good at home in the series though, winning four of the last five meetings at Ford Field SU, with a 2-2-1 ATS record over that span too.
It should be noted that Detroit is 0-5 ATS in their last five games against an NFC North opponent. The under is probably the strongest betting trend play, going 4-0 in the last four and 6-2 in the last eight games played in the series at Ford Field.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I am a little surprised that Minnesota is such a big favorite, but the are that way because of all of the early money that came in on them late on Sunday and quickly Monday morning. Detroit has there issues in the running game and along the O-line, but they are not that bad and should be a two-win team if not for the bad call. Im not sure what exactly the Vikings have done to deserve being the favorite, but Im glad the number is moving in my direction. Im taking the barking dog at home, Im taking Detroit plus the 3-points.
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