Minnesota (11-6) at San Francisco (13-3)
When: Saturday, January 11th, 2020
Where: Levi’s Stadium,
San Francisco, CA
Time: 4:35 ET | TV: NBC
Opening Odds: San Francisco -6.5/45.5
The first of two NFC Divisional Playoff games pits a couple of strong defenses against each other when the Minnesota Vikings visit the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday afternoon from Santa Clara, Cal. The Vikings finished the regular season 10-6, but were the No. 6 seed and biggest underdog in wild card weekend when they went to No. 3 New Orleans. Minnesota (+8) dug out of an early hole and won the game on the opening drive of overtime when Kirk Cousins threw a four-yard fade to tight end Kyle Rudolph for the winner. It appears oddsmakers are taking them more seriously, as they come into this contest against the No. 1 seed 49ers as only seven-point underdogs. San Fran edged out Seattle on the final NFL game of the regular season to win the NFC West and earn the top seed in the conference. The 49ers have won the Super Bowl five times and were the top seed in four of those seasons. It’s the first postseason meeting between the franchises since Jan. 3, 1998 when the 49ers won 38-22 at the old 3.com Park but would then lose in the NFC title game to Green Bay. San Francisco visited Minnesota to open the 2018 regular season and the Vikings won 24-16. Kirk Cousins threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns in his Vikings debut, while Jimmy Garoppolo was just 15-of-33 for 261 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. The home team is 5-2 against the spread (ATS) in the past seven meetings and the under has cashed in six of those. The winner play either Seattle or Green Bay in the NFC title game. The Vikings would visit either the Seahawks or Packers, while the 49ers would host it if they win.
It appeared as if Rudolph committed offensive pass interference by pushing off the defender last week in New Orleans, but it wasn’t called and there was no way it was going to be changed by video review. It’s the second straight postseason the Saints have been on the wrong end of a controversial call. Cousins, who has a history of not showing up in big games, was on point Sunday, throwing for 242 yards with no turnovers. Dalvin Cook had missed the previous two games due to injury but returned and rushed for 94 yards and two scores. The Minnesota defense, which allows 18.9 points a game, shut down Brees and the Saints in the second half. The Vikings are 1-5 ATS in their past six after a win.
This will be the first postseason start for Garoppolo and is coming off an excellent season in which he threw for 3,978 yards with 27 touchdowns and a 102.0 rating. San Fran has the No. 2 rushing attack in the NFL – behind only Baltimore – averaging 144.1 yards a game led by Raheem Mostert’s 772 yards and eight touchdowns. They also have the league’s best tight end in George Kittle, who caught 85 passes for 1,053 yards. The defense has faded a bit down the stretch, allowing 31.7 points in their final four contests. The Niners have covered only six of their previous 26 games as favorites.
If Minnesota can win at New Orleans, then why not San Francisco? The Vikings are very good at stopping the run and getting to the quarterback and this is Garoppolo’s first playoff start. Cousins quieted the doubters last week and could have another big game against a struggling 49ers defense. I’ll take the points.
Pick: Vikings +7 (NFL Playoff Staff Free Picks)
Vikings are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
Vikings are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 Saturday games.
Vikings are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 road games.
Vikings are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 vs. NFC.
Vikings are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games as a road underdog.
Vikings are 5-14 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Vikings are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games on grass.
Vikings are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up win.
49ers are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game.
49ers are 4-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
49ers are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 Saturday games.
49ers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games in January.
49ers are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 home games.
49ers are 6-19-1 ATS in their last 26 games as a favorite.
49ers are 6-19-1 ATS in their last 26 games as a home favorite.
49ers are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games on grass.
Under is 6-1 in Vikings last 7 playoff games as an underdog.
Over is 5-1 in Vikings last 6 road games.
Over is 4-1 in Vikings last 5 games following a straight up win.
Under is 8-3-1 in Vikings last 12 playoff games.
Under is 5-2 in Vikings last 7 playoff road games.
Under is 12-5 in Vikings last 17 vs. NFC.
Under is 16-7 in Vikings last 23 games as an underdog.
Under is 13-6-1 in Vikings last 20 games in January.
Under is 17-8-1 in Vikings last 26 games as a road underdog.
Over is 3-0-1 in 49ers last 4 games overall.
Over is 5-0 in 49ers last 5 Saturday games.
Over is 3-0-1 in 49ers last 4 vs. NFC.
Over is 6-1-1 in 49ers last 8 games as a favorite.
Over is 6-1 in 49ers last 7 games on grass.
Over is 5-1 in 49ers last 6 games as a home favorite.
Over is 5-1 in 49ers last 6 home games.
Over is 4-1-1 in 49ers last 6 games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game.
Under is 4-1 in 49ers last 5 games in January.
Over is 4-1 in 49ers last 5 playoff home games.
Under is 5-2 in 49ers last 7 games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
Over is 11-5-1 in 49ers last 17 vs. a team with a winning record.
Under is 13-6 in 49ers last 19 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
Underdog is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 meetings.
Home team is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 meetings.
Under is 6-1 in the last 7 meetings.