SNF Spread Pick: Vikings vs. Seahawks
Minnesota Vikings (1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS) vs. Seattle Seahawks (4-0 SU, 4-0 ATS)
NFL Week 5
When: Sunday, October 11 at 8:20 pm ET
Where: CenturyLink Field - Seattle, Washington
Point Spread: MINN +7/SEA -7 (BetNow - 100% Bonus up to $500 in FREE BETS!)
Over/Under Total: 57.5
With COVID providing a lot of uncertainty in the NFL these days, the teams that started fast are in an even better position than they would be in a normal season. Wins in the bank look awfully good now with the potential of play stoppages or practice limitations, and the Seattle Seahawks have proven to be one of the best teams in the NFC after starting 4-0. The Minnesota Vikings are on the outside looking in at 1-3 but did get the W last week and now face the league’s worst defense as they look to make it two-in-a-row. Russell Wilson is an early-season MVP candidate after leading the Hawks to at least 31 points in each of the first four games but will that porous defense eventually put Seattle in a hole that Wilson cannot climb out of? The Vikings also get a break in terms of lack of crowd noise at CenturyLink. Perhaps enough stars are aligning for an upset.
Minnesota is riding a few strong ATS trends into this week, primarily their 3-7 mark against the spread in their last ten games as the underdog and a 6-15 ATS record against teams with winning records. The Vikings have an 0-4 ATS record in the last four games against the Seahawks in Seattle. The Seahawks have six ATS wins in their last eight games as a favorite but are just 2-7 against the spread in their previous nine at home. The home team has gone 6-1 ATS in the last seven between these teams. The over has hit in five of the last seven road games for Minnesota and four of the previous five home games for Seattle. The 57.5 point total is relatively high, but 55% of the public money is coming in on the over, considering both defenses bottom-3 in yards allowed. The public is also betting on Seattle at -7, with roughly 55% of bets landing on Seattle as of mid-week.
The Vikes opened the season with playoff aspirations, but there has been a distinct lack of playmaking on both sides of the ball. Kirk Cousins is hitting on just 62% of his passes as the Minnesota passing game has fallen to 28th in the league. Justin Jefferson is averaging 21.8 yards per reception, and Adam Thielen (20-284-4) returning to form gives Cousins two quality options on the outside, but no other Viking receiver has more than 80 yards. Dalvin Cook is averaging 5.7 yards per carry and leads the team with six touchdowns, but he has just 84 rushing yards total in the last two games against Seattle. The Seahawks are allowing 476 total yards per game, but Minnesota is not bringing a diverse or deep offense to this game. If Seattle can limit one wide receiver and keep Cook mostly in check, will there be enough offense for the Vikings to keep up? The chances are that they will have to keep up considering the Minnesota defense is bottom-five in passing yards allowed and points per game allowed while generating just two takeaways.
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The Wilson Way
There has been a lot of good QB play in the NFL this season, and Russell Wilson has perhaps been the best. Wilson has a 136.7 QB rating through four contests, hitting on 75% of his passes for 16 touchdowns. Eight different Seattle receivers have a touchdown reception, with Tyler Lockett’s four leading the way. DK Metcalf (16-403-3) leads the team in receiving yards and is averaging an obscene 25.2 yards per catch. Chris Carson is pacing the backfield at 4.5 yards per carry but is alive in the passing game as well, with 15 receptions so far and five total touchdowns. David Moore and Greg Olsen are both north of 120 receiving yards to give Wilson a very deep list of options on each play. Seattle enters the week 3rd in passing yards and 2nd in scoring at 35.5 points per game. All that passing has not hurt their efficiency either as Seattle has turned the ball over just three times so far. The Seahawks defense is historically bad, especially from a raw statistical standpoint. They would blow away several pass defense records if they continue to allow 401 passing yards per game, but they have produced the 2nd most takeaways thus far, and that has been just enough to cover up their yards allowed deficiencies.
Strength on Strength
Playing ball control with Dalvin Cook and the 5th ranked rushing offense may be Plan-A for Minnesota, but that may also play into Seattle’s hand as they are 3rd in rushing defense, allowing just under 76 yards per game. Some of that rush defense success has come as a result of opponents going away from the run game entirely as Seattle raced out to a big lead, but that could happen again in this one if Minnesota starts slow. Cook is the best player on the Vikings offense, and they likely do not stand a chance if they can’t do something meaningful on the ground. Through four games, Minnesota is 29th in time of possession and 25th in third-down conversions, both stats will have to improve if they are covering this week. Seattle is 30th in third-down defense so give Minnesota at least a puncher’s chance to stay on the field and score some points.
Take the Home Team to Cover
The bubble will eventually burst in Seattle, and that defense will cost them at least an ATS win soon, but I don’t think it is going to be this week. I don’t think there is enough in the playmaking tank for Minnesota, and their defense has not proven they can keep them in games. The Vikings have allowed QBs to average a 105 rating against them, and that is too easy of pickings for a streaking Russell Wilson. The 12th Man won’t be a factor, but Seattle won’t need it as they have the advantage in the volume of skill players, and they have proven they know how to win these modern NFL shootouts that often resemble games we see at the college level. Look for a close cover with Seattle getting a 32-23 win.
Ted Walker’s Pick to Cover the Spread:
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