Minnesota Vikings vs. San Francisco 49ers – Divisional Playoffs NFL Betting Analysis
Minnesota Vikings (11-6 10-7 ATS) at San Francisco 49ers (12-4 10-5-1 ATS)
Last week the Vikings pulled off a shocker beating the Saints in the Big Easy and in this game are 7-point road underdogs against the top seed in the NFC in the San Francisco 49ers. The total for this NFC playoff game is 45.
As of Wednesday, the spread for this matchup has not changed since opening but the total has gone from 45.5 to 44.5.
Last week the Vikings beat the Saints 26-20 in OT where Kirk Cousins got the moniker of can’t win the big game off his back. He was more than solid, especially in OT, and Dalvin Cook came back after missing two games and rushed for nearly 100 yards.
The 49ers had a bye last week and then ended the season winning their last two games. Their last win was huge beating the Seattle Seahawks 26-21 on the road to win the NFC West and get the coveted #1 playoff seed.
The season the 49ers are 6-2 at home and the Vikings are 5-4 on the road.
These teams did not face each other this season. Hard to get a read on this game looking at the head-to-head betting trends, as the home team is 5-2 ATS in the last five games between them while the underdog is also 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings.
The Monkey Off the Back
Cousins got the big game struggles off his back in the win over New Orleans where he passed for 242 yards with one TD and no INT. The Vikings got the ball in overtime and Cousins connected with Adam Thielen, who had 129 receiving yards for the game, on a long bomb to the Saints 2-yard line and then hit the game-winner to Kyle Rudolph where many thought he should have been flagged for offensive pass interference.
Dalvin Cook struggled at the end of the season with a shoulder injury that kept him out of the last two games. He came back in the win over New Orleans with 94 rushing yards and while he only averaged 3.4 yards per carry he had two TD and kept the New Orleans defense honest.
San Francisco’s defense ranks 2nd in the league and while they rank first defending the pass they only rank 17th defending the run.
The Bye May Help the Run Game
The 49ers had a bye last week and that may really help the run game, as Matt Breida was hampered by an ankle injury at the end of the season. He only rushed for 16 yards in the season finale against Seattle and Raheem Mostert, who ended up leading the 49ers in rushing yards on the season, had 57 yards on the ground.
Jimmy Garoppolo passed for 285 yards in the Seattle game with no TD and no INT and Deebo Samuel and TE George Kittle, combined for 188 receiving yards. Kittle was a first-team All-Pro this season and led San Fran with 1,053 receiving yards this season.
While the 49ers are known by their defense they were the 2nd highest-scoring team in the league this season.
One key group in this game is the 49ers offensive line. They have to open up holes for the run game and deal with a Minnesota pass rush that had three sacks in the win over the Saints and were all over Drew Brees the whole game.
The Vikings rank in the middle of the pack this season in terms of pass defense (13th) and run defense (15th)
While the Vikings are 5-2 ATS in their last seven road games the 49ers are only 1-3-1 ATS in their last five home games.
The big question in this game is can Cousins come through again? I think he will, and he and Cook will both play well. The San Francisco offense will also be solid at home and they will have success running the ball. I see a close game in this one and that points to the Vikings covering the spread, which they will do getting seven points.
PICK: Vikings +7
Bettorsworld’s Pick – These two teams are very similar in that not only have they both beaten playoff teams, they were also both very competitive in their losses to playoff teams.
While the 49ers offense is legit, their defense has question marks. Using yards per point to rank, the 49ers defense was 23rd in the NFL with a below average number of 14.5. That number was even worse in home games (13.6).
That vulnerability defensively leaves the door open for the Vikings to be very competitive here on the road.
We generally don’t ever back underdogs of a TD or less unless we like them to win outright. This would be a rare case where we are going to do just that. We like this 49ers team and think they find a way to win and advance. But it may just be by a nose.