NFL Playoff Betting – 13-4 Vikings enter playoffs with some doubts
BetOnline customers may be looking at the Minnesota Vikings and still can’t figure out how they could be 13-4 on the season. This team had one of the worst defenses in the league, giving up more yards than every other team but one. They have been extremely fortunate to win as many games as they have.
But now we are in a whole different season. The Vikes were the champions of the NFL North, and that gave them the opportunity to host a playoff game. In this case, the opponent is the New York Giants, who make a quick return trip to U.S. Bank Stadium after having gone there on Christmas Eve, only to come away with a heartbreaking loss.
They are scheduled to kick off at approximately 4:50 PM ET on FOX. Whether they are as good as their record or not, this has still been a success story, and perhaps one of the very surprising variety, for the Vikings and their first-year coach, Kevin O’Connell. A former quarterback at San Diego State, O’Connell has played under Bill Belichick and coached under Sean McVay. In fact, he was the offensive coordinator for the Super Bowl-winning Rams last season.
McVay has sent some former assistants into success in the NFL. And now that includes O’Connell, who might win coach of the year honors.
His “competition” in that category may be the guy who’ll be on the opposite sideline – Brian Daboll of the Giants, who brought his team home with a record of 9-7-1.
There are certainly some virtues to point to as far as the Vikings are concerned. But there are some danger signs as well.
In the NFL betting odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetOnline, the Vikings are the favorites at home:
Minnesota Vikings -3 (+100)
New York Giants +3 (-120)
Over 48 Points -110
Under 48 Points -110
Kirk Cousins has always been a guy who can put up numbers, and this season was no exception. The Michigan State product threw for 4547 yards and 29 touchdowns and earned an invite to the Pro Bowl. He also threw 14 interceptions, which is a concern.
This guy has weapons. One of them is considered by many to be the best wide receiver in the National Football League. Justin Jefferson should be an MVP candidate with the production level he put forward, catching 128 passes for 1809 yards. He is complemented well by possession receiver Adam Thielen, who had 70 receptions. A key trade brought tight end TJ Hockenson from Detroit, and he went on to have 60 catches. Dalvin Cook had 1173 yards on the ground, and there is no doubt that he is one of the league’s best backs.
The problem with the Vikings is that they don’t defend all that well. In point of fact, they are the 31st in the league in Total Defense and the 30th in points allowed (25.1 ppg). And you will not find many 13-4 teams with those kinds of “credentials.” This team was outscored and outgained on the season. Seven of their victories were by five points or less. There is another way to look at it; you could say they know how to win the close ones. And their 11-0 record in one-score games is something to admire.
These teams played on December 24, and the Vikings were fortunate to come out of it with a 27-24 win. They succeeded through the air, as Jefferson had 133 yards in catches and Hockenson had 109. But New York’s Daniel Jones erupted with 334 yards passing. The Giants outgained Minnesota by a 443-353 margin. And the Vikings needed a 61-yard field goal at the gun to win.
Will all these nail-biters catch up to them sooner or later? Will it happen on Sunday? We’ll see. The Giants have faults, but they are capable enough.
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