Minnesota Vikings (7-6 SU, 5-7-1 ATS) vs. St. Louis Rams (6-6-1 SU, 9-4 ATS)
Week 14 NFL
Date and Time: Sunday, December 16, 2012 1:00pm EST
Where: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, Missouri
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MIN +3/STL-3
Over/Under Total: 38
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This Sunday at 1:00pm in Missouri, Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams will host Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings. While the Vikings at 7-6 are in a better position to get to the playoffs, the Rams could possibly sneak in by winning their remaining games and getting a little help along the way. The Rams have been up and down all season. They not only took the 49ers to an overtime time a few weeks ago, but then they pulled the overtime upset of the Niners. When the Rams come to play, they really come to play, but they have also been known to lay down to lesser opponents as well. The Vikings have a winning record and sit just a game out
The surprise of the season in all of the NFL to me is the resurgence of Vikings running back, Adrian Peterson. After suffering a terrible knee injury last season, many thought he wouldn’t be available to play until about the third or fourth week of this year, and some experts said he would never be back to his old self. Well, he is back to his old self, and not only that, but he is having the best season of his career and could very possibly set the NFL all time single season rushing record which has been held by Eric Dickerson since 1984.
The Vikings rank 20th in the NFL in scoring and their success has been primarily because of Peterson’s running. Christian Ponder has done a pretty good job managing games, but he hasn’t been able to put the team on his back and beat anyone through the air this season. Not yet anyway. The key to this game will again be the running game. If Peterson can carry the load like he has all season, the Vikings should be able to get the job done against a Rams team that has been a roller coaster all season.
The Rams come into this game with a small chance at making the playoffs. To quote the great comedy Dumb and Dumber, “Soooo you’re saying there’s a chance?” Well, yea, there is a chance, but a slim one at best. The Rams at times look like a team that can beat anyone in the league, then they go out and lose to the dysfunctional New York Jets by two touchdowns.
What stands out to me the most is that the Rams only average a little over 18 points a game, which is good enough for 29th in the entire league. They run the ball pretty well and they do put up over 320 yards a game on offense, they just seem to have issues scoring the ball. It sounds as if I am not giving the Rams a shot in this game, that’s not true. Actually, the Rams are actually the favorite in this game by 3 points. If the Rams can stop the run and slow down Peterson a little, this could be a tight one down to the very end.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Playoff implications are huge in this one. The Vikings are trying to keep up their winning ways and earn their way into the NFC playoffs while a loss by the Rams would all but end any sort of chance they had at playing in January. This one is a tough call, while Minnesota has had a good run this year, they have won only one time on the road all season. They sit at 1-5 when not playing in their hometown. However, field surface could have a lot to do with this. The Vikings are a dome team, and young, inexperienced indoor teams sometimes tend to have issues when playing outside. Luckily for the guys in purple, the Rams also play indoors so other than the crowd noise, it will not be much different than a home game.
The Vikings are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 indoor games. Crazy thing is, there are more numbers to back up the Rams covering this game than the Vikes. The Rams are 4-0 ATS coming off a win, 6-0 ATS when playing at home against a team over .500, and 5-1 ATS when playing an NFC opponent. As crazy as it sounds, and as much as I like this Vikings team, I am going with the numbers and the home squad. PICK: THE ST LOUIS RAMS -3!
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