The Minnesota Vikings (7-6-1) travel to Michigan in Week 16 for an NFC North showdown with the Detroit Lions (5-9). Kickoff is set for 1:00 PM EST on December 23rd at Ford Field and the game will be broadcast on FOX.
Oddsmakers opened this game up with the Vikings listed as 4.5-point road favorites. That line shifted by a full point after early betting, as Minnesota is currently available at -5.5. The total for this matchup is 43.5 points. Click here for a full look at the Week 16 NFL odds and for more links to our individual game previews.
Lions vs Vikings Vegas Odds & Game Preview
Minnesota got back above .500 last weekend after an impressive 41-17 home victory over Miami. The Vikings had lost three out of their last four games heading into Week 15, so the win against the Dolphins was certainly a huge relief after starting to slip out of playoff contention. QB Kirk Cousins played well, throwing for 215 yards and two touchdowns. RB Dalvin Cook was electric on the ground, rushing for 136 yards and two touchdowns on just 19 carries. However, Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen continued to struggle, combining for just 68 yards. As a whole, Minnesota is currently averaging 23.1 points per game (17th overall) on 358.9 yards of total offense.
The Vikings have been excellent on the other side of the ball through their first fourteen games, limiting opponents to an average of only 22.0 points per game (12th overall) on 314.3 yards of total offense. They have been especially tough against the pass, surrendering an average of just 202.9 yards per game through the air (4th overall).
Detroit has now lost three out of four games after a tough 14-13 loss on the road against Buffalo last weekend. The Lions had a 13-7 lead at halftime but couldn’t find a way to close the Bill out over the final two quarters, getting as they were outscored 7-0 in the second half. QB Matthew Stafford played fairly well, going 22 of 29 for 208 yards and a touchdown. WR Kenny Golladay had a big day through the air, catching 7 passes for 146 yards. RB Zach Zenner led the way on the ground, rushing for 45 yards and a touchdown on ten carries. Overall, Detroit is currently averaging 20.3 points per game (25th overall) on 329.4 yards of total offense.
The Lions have not looked good defensively for most of the regular season, as they are currently giving up 23.8 points per game (18th overall) on 346.1 total yards of offense. However, they have done a pretty good job against the pass, giving up just 230.7 passing yards per game (11th overall).
Free NFL Betting Prediction: Minnesota -5.5
I know divisional games are always pretty tightly contested, but I’m all over the Vikings in this particular matchup. Despite having to play on the road, I think they offer a ton of value at anything less than a full touchdown. They are right in the thick of things in the hunt for a Wildcard spot in the NFC, as they almost certainly need to win out to have any shot of reaching the playoffs. The Lions are just playing for pride at this point and have not looked good as of late, with their only win in December coming against the dreadful Arizona Cardinals.
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Minnesota is a rock solid 13-5-1 ATS over their last 19 games against teams with a losing record. They are also 5-1 ATS in their last six road games against opponents with a losing home record. The Lions are only 2-5 ATS in their last seven games against NFC teams. They are also just 1-4 ATS over their last five games played on turf.
The Vikings have also dominated Detroit when these two division rivals have met at Ford Field over the past several seasons, going 5-2 ATS in their last seven games. I fully expect that trend to continue here in Week 16, so I’m more than happy to lay the 5.5 points and take the road favorites – give me Minnesota to cover with ease.