In one of the more intriguing matchups of Week 1, the Minnesota Vikings will host the San Francisco 49ers. Kickoff is set for 1:00 EST at U.S. Bank Stadium and will be televised locally on FOX.
Taking a look at the Week 1 NFL odds, we see the Vikings are currently listed as a 6.5-point home favorite with the total set at 46 points.
Vegas Game Odds & Betting Preview: 49ers vs Vikings
San Franciso finished up the 2017 seasons at 6-10, but it wasn’t so much about the overall record as it was how they finished. The 49ers actually started the season 0-9, but their fortune would change for the better after a trade with the Patriots for backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. SF inserted Garoppolo into the starting lineup in Week 13 against the Bears and they would go on to win their final 5 games of the season, which included wins over 3 playoff teams in the Titans, Jaguars and Rams.
It’s made the 49ers one of the popular breakout candidates for 2018, but it won’t be easy for San Francisco in what appears to be a loaded NFC. Not to mention they are unlikely to win their own division, as the Rams look like one of the top teams in the league with all the talent they added in the offseason.
Minnesota tied the Patriots and Eagles for the best record in the league last year at 13-3, but unlike the other two were not able to turn their regular-season success into a trip to the Super Bowl. One of the things that gets overlooked with how good the Vikings were last year, was they won 13-games with a backup quarterback and lost one of their most explosive players in rookie running back Dalvin Cook after just 4 games.
With so much hype around the Eagles, Rams, Saints and Packers, it feels like a lot of people are sleeping on Minnesota. Which is a bit surprising given many feel they upgraded the quarterback position when they parted ways with Case Keenum and signed Kirk Cousins in free agency. The rest of the core is back for Minnesota and this is hands down a legit Super Bowl contender.
Free NFL Betting Pick & Predictions: Vikings -6.5
I would have to lean towards laying the points with Minnesota at home in this one. I think a lot of people will be hesitant to back the Vikings as almost a touchdown favorite against the 49ers. That’s because the public has really taken to this San Francisco team after last year’s strong finish. I’m not saying the 49ers aren’t a team to watch out for, I just don’t see them being able to keep this one close against one of the most talented teams in the league.
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The biggest thing for me, is I just don’t see Garoppolo and that San Francisco offense being able to get anything going here against this Vikings defense. Minnesota was the best defense team in the league last year. They ranked No. 1 in points allowed (15.8 ppg) and No. 1 in total defense (275.9 ypg). They have all their key pieces back from last year’s stop unit, plus they added in a difference maker up front in defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.
I just think there’s going to be too mush pressure on Garoppolo to carry the load offensively, especially after the 49ers lost one of their prized free agents in running back Jerick McKinnon, who they brought in to be their feature back.
Not only do I think San Francisco will have a tough time scoring, but I also think they will find it difficult to contain this Vikings offense. Say what you want about Cousins, the guy is a legit signal caller. The only reason the Redskins weren’t better with him, was they had no running game and a middle of the pack defense. The weapons are every bit as good in Minnesota as they were in Washington in the passing game, but with Cook coming out of the backfield there won’t be near the pressure on Cousins to do it all.
As for the 49ers defense, they are far from an elite unit. They also will have to play their first two games of the season without star linebacker Reuben Foster (suspended).
Lastly, you can’t overlook just how good the Vikings have been at home under Mike Zimmer. Minnesota went 8-1 at home last year, where they outscored teams by 11.4 points/game (25.2 to 13.8). The Vikings are 24-9 ATS at home since Zimmer took over as their head coach and have covered 7 of their last 8 games in the month of September.