Minnesota Vikings(8-6SU,6-7-1ATS) vsHouston Texans(12-2SU,9-5ATS)
Where:Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX
byJeffHochman,Pro Handicapper, JHSportsline.com
Point Spread:MIN +9.5/HOU-9.5
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The surging Minnesota Vikings look to continue its winning ways, when they face the Houston Texans, who will be looking to lock up home field advantage until the Super Bowl. The Vikings won their second straight in defeating the Rams last week, 36-22 as 1-point road dogs. It wasn’t easy as the Rams out-gained Minnesota by 110 yards. The Vikings have been out-stattedin 5 straight games and are just 3-7 ITS (in the stats) in their last 10 games. The Texans bounced back from a rare loss by beating the Colts 29-17 as 10-point home chalk. Houston out-gained the Colts by 145 yards and are only 5-5 ITS in their last 10 games. This line (Hou-9.5) has been bet up as thisnumber opened at -7. The public loves the Texans in thismatch-up
Less than a year after suffering a tornACLandMCL, Adrian Peterson continues to amaze while leading the NFL with a career-best 1,812 rushing yards on 289 carries. He’s the only player averaging more than 100 yards per game (129.4) and ranks 3rd in the league at 6.3 yards per carry. Considering Christian Pounder is averaging just 5.95 yards per pass attempt, the best chance for the Vikings to win this game will be tofeed the rock to Adrian Peterson early and often. Minnesota can pound the ball effectively against just about any defense, but it would be wise to add somewrinklesto the running game. I would expect numerous counters off their base downhill power run, quick screens, and plenty of play-action passes. Look for offensivecoordinatorBillMusgraveto ride running back Adrian Peterson as usual, but the Texans have a formidable defensive front seven that allows 93 rushing yards per game.
MAKE MINNY A +29.5 UNDERDOG BY PLACING THEM INTO A 20
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This is a big game for both teams. The Vikings currently hold the final Wild Card spot in the NFC, although varioustie-breakingscenarios make their grip on thatpositiontenuousat best. The Texansclinched theirsecond straight AFC South Title and theycan securethe conferences top seed with one more win or one more loss by both Denver and New England. Houston has a stud running back of their own.ArianFoster increased his rushing total with 1,313 yards by posting a season-high 165 against the Colts this past Sunday. Houston also boasts one of the best receivers in all of football. Andre Johnson has 93 receptions for an AFC-leading 1,360 yards. He caught 12 balls for 170 yards and twotouchdownsthe last time Houston hosted Minnesota back in 2004. The Vikings won that gameMinnesota is 2-0SUand 2-0 ATS all time against the Texans. They werefavorites in both games and will now dress up as underdogs.
Both teams are ranked in the Top 15 at defending the pass. The Texans allow just 232 passing yards per game while the Vikings allow 244 through the air. Minnesota’s passing game is a work in progress. Despite seeing a lot of man-to-man coverages as teams look to slow Peterson, quarterback Christian Pounder has failed to take advantage. Pounder leads theNFL’sworst pass offense,averagingjust over 168 yards per game. The loss of top target PercyHarvinhas not helped Pounder improve this season. The Texans defense has been steady all year. Texans linebacker J.J.Whattneeds 3.5 sacks over the final two games of the season to break the single-season record of 22.5sacks heldby former Giants great MichaelStrahan.
The Houston Texans are 8-1-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. The Texans are 1-4 ATS in their five games in Week 16. The Under is 25-12 in the Texans last 37 games following an ATS win. The Vikings are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games in Week 16.
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Minnesota Vikings +9.5.
The Vikings will dress up as the biggest underdog they have been all season. They are getting disrespected and should bepumped upfor this game. Also,NFL Underdogs of 7 or more points that have the better running game are 15-5 ATS, if they have a winning record. Take the road dog!
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