Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints – Wild Card NFL Betting Analysis
Minnesota Vikings (10-6 9-7 ATS) at New Orleans Saints (13-3 11-5 ATS)
The Saints ended the season well and they are an 8-point home favorite over the Vikings, who did not end the season well. The total for this NFC Wild Card game is at 50.
The spread for this game has not changed since opening while the total has gone from 46.5 to 50 as of Thursday.
The Vikings lost their last two games of the season only totaling 29 points. Their last game did not mean anything, which is why the team rested some players including Kirk Cousins.
The Saints won their last three games and only suffered one loss in their last seven games. They averaged 38 ppg in their last three games and won two in blowouts. New Orleans ranks 4th in the league in ppg and Drew Brees is in top form, which is not good for Minnesota.
The Saints are 5-1 ATS in their last six games against the Vikings.
The Vikings were only a .500 team on the road this season (4-4) while the Saints were a solid 6-2 in the Big Easy.
Two Huge Question Marks
The Vikings have two big questions in this game in can Kirk Cousins get it done in the clutch and how will Dalvin Cook play?
Cousins has a long history of failing to come through when it really matters and that showed in his last game. He did not play in the last game, which was a 21-19 loss to the Chicago Bears. However, in the previous game, which decided the winner of the NFC North he passed for only 122 yards with a TD and an INT in a 23-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Cousins did have a very solid season, but he needs to get the “can’t win the big game” monkey off his back and can do that leading the Vikes to a win in this game.
Dalvin Cook sat out the last two games with a shoulder injury and that injury hurt his production later in the season. In the last four games, he did play he rushed for over 29 yards only once.
In the first half, he was, arguably, the best RB in the league and he needs to come back strong in this game. However, he faces a New Orleans run defense, which ranks 4th in the league.
Cook was listed as questionable for this game until Wednesday and he will get the start
The Saints pass defense ranks 20th in the league but that unit played better down the stretch.
Keep it Rolling
The Saints finished the season strong and they have a ton of momentum entering the playoffs. Brees has been lights out down the stretch with 15 TD and no INT in his last four games. He has Michael Thomas (1,725 yards), who led the league in receiving yards, and Jared Cook (705 yards) and these players combined for 18 TD.
Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray combined for 100 yards in the 42-10 season finale blowout win over the Carolina Panthers. Kamara did not see a lot of action in the game and while not having the big numbers like last season he rushed for nearly 800 yards and caught 81 passes for 533 yards.
Can the Minnesota defense slow Brees down? Big question, and on the season the Vikings rank 15th in the league in pass defense and 13th in run defense.
In a couple of interesting trends, the Saints are 0-4 ATS in their last four home playoff games and 1-4 ATS in their last five playoff games overall.
The Vikings have failed to cover in 10 of their last 14 games facing a team with a winning record and are 2-5 ATS in their last seven playoff road games.
This is Cousins’ first trip the playoffs with the Vikings and it will not be a good debut. He will make some mistakes in the big pressure game and not get much help from Cook. On the other side of the coin, the Saints will get a big game from Brees as well as the run game. New Orleans will easily win and cover in this game sending Minnesota home for the season.
PICK: Saints -8
Bettorsworld’s Pick – We’re going to agree with Jason on this one as well. The Vikings were a 4-4 team on the road this year and stumbled down the stretch. They weren’t able to get it done in week 16 at home against the Packers. Now they have to go on the road and face a hot Saints team that looks to be firing on all cylinders.
As good as the Saints offense has been, the defense left a lot to be desired. Considering that defense, we are a bit concerned backing the Saints laying over a TD as that potential back door cover looms large.
Our model would agree, predicting a Saints win, but by a margin that’s right around the posted line.
We’re going to make a small play on the Saints but we’re also going to use them in a teaser.
Teasers can be worthwhile when you pick up key numbers in the process of adjusting the spread. Such is the case this week with the Sunday games as we can pick up the key numbers of 3 and 7 with BOTH home teams Sunday, the Saints and Eagles.
1* Key Release – Saints -7 (buy 1/2 lay up to -130)
1* Key Release Teaser Saints -1.5 and Eagles +8.5