The Minnesota Vikings (9-5) will host the New York Giants (6-8) on Sunday Night Football. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 EST at TCF Bank Stadium and will be televised nationally on NBC. Taking a look at the Week 16 NFL betting lines, oddsmakers currently have the Vikings listed as 5.5-point home favorites with the total set at 45.5 points.
After dropping 3 of 4, the Vikings responded with a 38-17 home win over the Bears last week, easily covering as a 4-point favorite. The win and cover improved Minnesota to an impressive 11-3 ATS on the season. The Vikings enter the final 2 weeks of the season needing 1 more win or Atlanta loss to clinch at worst a Wild Card spot. Minnesota could also move into a tie with Green Bay for 1st in the NFC North, as the Packers have to travel to Arizona this week. Either way, a win over the Giants, ensures them a shot at the division next week when they visit Green Bay.
The Giants playoff hopes took a big hit this past Sunday, as New York lost 35-38 at home to the Panthers. The Giants did cover as 5-point underdogs and surprisingly were able to tie the game at 35-35 after trailing 7-35 with less than 2 minutes to play in the 3rd quarter. New York is still alive in the playoff race, but only for the NFC East title and it’s not a pretty scenario. The Giants need to win their final two games and hope the Redskins lose their final two.
Early Lean on Vikings -5.5
This lean on the Vikings will become even stronger if the Redskins are able to upset the Eagles on Saturday, as that would eliminate the Giants from the playoffs and really take away any motivation they might have for this matchup. Given New York will not have the services of star wide out Odell Beckham Jr, who was handed a 1-game suspension for his antics against the Panthers last week, it might be a good idea to jump on Minnesota early. If Washington was to beat Philadelphia an knock the Giants out of the playoff race, I’m pretty confident we would see this line jump up closer to the Vikings -7.
The biggest thing here for me is the loss of Beckham and the impact it’s going to have on the Giants offense. Beckham leads all New York receivers with 91 receptions for 1,396 yards and 13 touchdowns. The next best in terms of receptions is Rueben Randle and Shane Vereen at 51 a piece. Beckham’s 1,396 yards are more than double the next best, with Randle coming in with 638. Randle also the next closest in touchdowns with 6. Keep in mind that losing a player like Beckham has a negative impact on the other receivers, as a lot of their production is a result of defenses having to pay so much attention to Beckham. On top of this, the Giants have just 4 rushing touchdowns all season, so scoring points could be a major problem.
Vikings are 14-4 ATS in their last 18 against bad defensive teams that are allowing 24 or more points/game and 8-0 ATS in their last 8 games against strong passing teams that are averaging 260 or more passing yards/game.
If it wasn’t going to be hard enough for the Giants offense, they will be facing a stingy Vikings defense that comes in ranked 13th, allowing just 342.4 ypg. Most importantly, Minnesota’s strength defensively is their secondary, as they are 7th in the NFL against the pass (229.5 ypg) compared to 20th against the run (112.9 ypg). New York’s offense will be playing right into their strength, as the Giants are 6th in passing (270.1 ypg) compared to 23rd in rushing (93.6 ypg).
All of this and we haven’t even talked about the advantage the Vikings offense has going up against the Giants defense. New York is dead-last in the NFL in yards allowed, giving up 423.0 ypg. They have allowed 299 yards on the ground in their last two games and now face the NFL’s leading rusher in Adrian Peterson. I am aware that Minnesota’s offense isn’t anything special, but you have to believe they will have plenty of success at home.
New York gave up 38 points last week to the Panthers and are a mere 2-10 ATS over the last 3 seasons after allowing 30 or more points in their previous game. Giants are also 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games against a team with a winning home record. Minnesota is 9-2 ATS in their last 11 home games against a team with a losing road record and 8-2 ATS in their last 10 off a SU win. Vikings are also 14-4 ATS in their last 18 against bad defensive teams that are allowing 24 or more points/game and 8-0 ATS in their last 8 games against strong passing teams that are averaging 260 or more passing yards/game.