Courtesy of Realbookies
With two weeks left in the season, the 6-8 Minnesota Vikings are still alive for a playoff spot. Their chances are slim, but to stay alive, they first need to defeat the New Orleans Saints on Christmas.
The 10-4 Saints are in a battle with Green Bay and Seattle for the top seed in the NFC. A New Orleans win keeps that hope alive, while a loss puts a division title in jeopardy.
The Saints appeared to be in control of the NFC before a pair of three-point losses to the Eagles and the Chiefs. Starting quarterback Drew Brees missed four games with a rib injury, during which New Orleans went 3-1. Brees returned against Kansas City and almost rallied the Saints from a pair of 14-point deficits.
The Saints are 7.5-point favorites as they host the Vikings in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The over/under for the game is 51.5 points. On the moneyline, the Saints are at -330, with the Vikings getting odds of +280.
On the season, New Orleans is 7-7 against the spread, while Minnesota is slightly worse at 6-8. Against the over/under, both teams have a 9-5 record on exceeding the point total lines.
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Both teams enter the game on two-game losing streaks. Before losses to Tampa Bay and Chicago, the Vikings had won five of their previous six games. As impressive as that might sound, they’ve won only one game against a team with a winning record.
Minnesota’s defense has given up almost 28 points a game, and the Vikings have been outscored by 28 points on the season. On the upside, four of their losses have been by less than a touchdown, with two by one point.
Offensively, the Vikings are fifth in the league in yards gained, but 23 turnovers have kept points off the board. Their defense is 23rd, equally mediocre against the pass and the run. Only a 28-22 win over the Packers in Week 8 would indicate they can challenge the Saints.
The New Orleans offense hasn’t been overpowering, but its defense is ranked third in the NFL. The Saints defend both the pass and the run equally well, holding opponents to under 96 rushing yards a game. The Saints also have the sixth-best scoring defense in the league, limiting opponents to 21 points a game.
It took Brees over a quarter to return to form against the Chiefs, but he appears healthy. The Vikings defense isn’t good enough to shut down the Saints’ running game.
On the other side of the ball, most sports handicappers think that the Saints will be able to contain the run, forcing quarterback Kirk Cousins to make big plays.
Realbookies Game Pick
The Vikings haven’t shown the consistency to beat good teams except for the Packers win. With Brees back in the lineup, the Saints will be able to control the ball.
This isn’t a good matchup for Minnesota, so look for the Saints to win big. The Vikings have had trouble covering against good teams, and this won’t be any different.
Take the Saints, give the points, bet the over.
New Orleans 34, Minnesota 24.
Week 14 was a rough one for a lot of bettors. We lost our Packers at Lions free pick on the hook!