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2* Vikings +3 over Eagles - This years Wildcard games are unique in that all 4 home teams are underdogs. As rare as that is, what would be even more rare would be for all for road favs to win and cover. You just know that at least one home team, maybe more, is going to treat the home crowd to a playoff win. The only home team that would shock us if they won outright is the Dolphins. The Chargers, Cards and Vikings all have good sots at winning. Heck, you play all year for the right to host a home playoff game. It has to mean something to be home for these teams.
Considering we have a small play on the Colts, and an opinion on the Falcons, and considering we have our biggest play on the Ravens, if we're going to back a home team at this point, it's going to have to be the Vikings. Before digging into this game we anticpated that we'd be siding with the Eagles. I suppose the blowout of the Cowboys left a lasting impression, which is always one of the traps in betting football. Most bettors have short memories and only recall the most recent events. There was a little more to our impression than that. The win over the Giants also stuck with us.
But as we dug a little deeper into this game we saw that perhaps the Vikings were a good candidate to be the home dog that stepped up to the plate this weekend. When we broke down the 2nd half of the season for these two teams we were a little surprised at the numbers. The Eagles yards per point numbers over their final 8 games were 13.5 on offense and 14.7 on defense. The Vikes were a 12.9 offensively and a 15.4 defensively. Both teams numbers offensively were fine, but both were below average defensively and very un-playoff like. Again, this is using the ypp numbers over the 2nd half of the season. Both teams were top 10 in defensive categories that you see thrown around on stat sheets and such, but those numbers don't always tell the whole story.
The Vikings have been consistent all year long. They have one loss of their 6 losses that was by more than a touchdown and that was a 30-17 setback to the Titans. With the Eagles, you're not sure what you're going to get. Are you going to get the team that blew out the Cowboys or dominated the Giants a few weeks ag or are you going to get the team that lost toe the Redskins and tied the Bengals?
The Eagles are certainly capable of beating any team in the NFL on any given day and before digging into this game our feeling was that if the Vikings had trouble with an NFC East team just playing out their season last week, then they'd certainly struggle against an NFC East team in a playoff game. But sometimes you have to play it by the numbers. The numbers say this one has the potential to be very close game. The outcome figures to be in doubt as we head down the stretch in the 4th quarter, in which case we'll gladly take +3 with the home team. 2* Vikings +3 over Eagles.
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