New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings Pick
New Orleans Saints (5-1 SU, 4-2 ATS vs. Minnesota Vikings (4-2-1 SU, 4-2-1 ATS)
Date/Time: Sunday October 28, 7:20 PM EST
Where: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
By Keith Allen, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: NO PK (+100) / Min PK (-120)
Over/Under Total: 52½
Play the Saints
The Saints return to the site of the Minneapolis Miracle to try to avenge the loss that eliminated them from the 2017 playoffs. These teams came into 2018 as leading candidates to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, but the Saints are currently the better team. The play is to take the Road Team at Pick-Em on Sunday Night Football. Here are 3 reasons.
New Orleans Is Red Hot
After opening the season with a surprise loss to the Ryan Fitzpatrick led Bucs, and then getting lucky to get by the Browns, the Saints are now playing at a very high level. Over the last 4 weeks, Sean Payton’s squad is 4-0 both straight up and against the spread, including 3 road games and 2 as road underdogs. Winning tough road games in week 3 in Atlanta and last week in Baltimore should put to rest any concerns about the Saints being able to win outside of the Superdome. New Orleans has outscored their opponents by 41 points on the year, are averaging the second most points per game and are playing better every week.
The Vikings on the other hand have not been playing at the level they were expected to coming into the season. They have 4 wins - including 3 in a row - but their wins have come against teams with a combined 8 wins. The only games they have played against teams with winning records was a loss to the Rams and a tie against the Packers. Generally, a team that is 4-2-1 ATS is a team that the market is underrating, but the Vikings break this rule. They are beating up on bad teams (except for the egg they laid against the Bills) while struggling against winning teams. They have only outscored a weak slate of opponents by a total of only 12 points, and allow more yards per play than they gain. Even the win against the Eagles doesn’t look so impressive now that Philly sits at 3-4.
The records are pretty similar, but the teams are not playing at the same level. The Saints are firing on all cylinders while the Vikings are limping by. The Vikings wins against some weak opponents and their reputation coming into the season has kept the line with value on the Saints.
The Saints Offense is Unstoppable
Drew Brees shows no signs of slowing down this season, notching 13 touchdowns while not throwing an interception. The 13 touchdowns have been distributed to 8 different receivers, but the connection between Brees and Michael Thomas may be the best quarterback to wide receiver combo in the NFL. Thomas has hauled in 53 of the 58 targets sent his way. The Saints also boast one of the best ground games in the league that should show some improvement as Mark Ingram gets back into the flow Alvin Kamara is one of the best all around backs in the league and is averaging 4.6 yards per carry in addition to averaging 6 catches and 60 yards per game as a receiver. Ingram is working back into his role running between the tackles after missing the first 4 games of the season. New Orleans makes opponents defend the whole field. They went into Baltimore to face a Raven team that hadn’t allowed a second half touchdown in the first 5 games of the year and New Orleans reached the end zone twice in the 4th quarter with the game on the line. Baltimore registered 11 sacks the previous week but only got to Brees once, which was only the 9th sack allowed by the Saints this year– 2nd fewest in the league.
Minnesota’s defense has not lived up to expectation in 2018. They are 19th in points allowed, 17th in yards per play and are 27th in passing yards per attempt after finishing towards the top of the league in these categories last year. The only success the Vikings have had on defense is against the run where they are 4th in yards per attempt, but all this does is make their opponents drop back and throw. They have looked better the last 2 weeks but these starts came against rookie quarterbacks in New York and Arizona. They have played 4 solid NFL offenses – 49ers (with Garoppolo), Packers, Rams and Eagles – and the Vikings are allowing 400 yards in those games. The loss of Everson Griffen has been a big blow to the Vikings D and they are not the same imposing unit they were in 2017.
New Orleans is averaging 34 points per game and there is no reason to think they won’t get there on Sunday night. Payton and Brees will exploit the Viking defense as has become more pedestrian that elite.
Revenge Is In The Air
The Saints were one miracle play away from playing in last year’s NFC Championship game, with possibly bigger things to follow. Stefon Diggs made the play that ended New Orleans season and now puts the Saints in the ultimate revenge spot for this trip to the Twin Cities. Payton will have his team totally focused and ready for this contest against the Vikings. Both teams sit at the top of their respected divisions and will be dialed in for the game, but the intangibles in this game go to the visitors.
The Saints Are The Play
Get to the window – or online – and play the Saints. This line opened at Minnesota -2½ and has already moved to Pick. The opening line implied the teams are equal, but the current line better reflects where these teams are at. Still, the Saints only have to win the game to cash tickets. Play New Orleans. I also like the total over 52½.
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