The Minnesota Vikings (1-0-1) will look to win their second game of the season on Sunday afternoon when they host the winless Buffalo Bills (0-2). Kickoff is set for 1:00 PM EST on Sunday, September 24th at U.S. Bank Stadium. The game will be televised on FOX.
Oddsmakers opened this game up with the Vikings as massive 16.5-point home favorites. That line has remained unchanged, as Minnesota is currently available at -16.5. The total for this matchup is 40.5 points. Click here for a full look at the Week 3 NFL odds and for more links to our individual game previews.
Vikings vs Bills Vegas Odds & Game Preview
Buffalo got beat at home by the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 2, losing 31-20 in rookie QB Josh Allen’s first career NFL start. Although Allen was certainly a huge upgrade over Nathan Peterman, he still struggled to get anything going offensively for the Bills outside of a garbage time touchdown to Kelvin Benjamin. Buffalo’s offensive line certainly didn’t play well for a second straight game, allowing five sacks on the afternoon. After giving up six in Week 1, the unit as a whole has now yielded eleven in just two weeks. The Bills also had something bizarre happen off the field during the game, as starting cornerback Vontae Davis unexpectedly decided to retire at halftime, leaving many of his teammates confused and indignant.
On the other side of the ball, Buffalo has looked below average in many defensive categories including passing yards allowed per game (20th overall) and points allowed per game (31st overall). The fact that this defense is currently allowing opponents to score an average of 39.0 points per game has to be extremely concerning for head coach Sean McDermott.
The Vikings should have improved to 2-0 on the season last weekend against Green Bay in what was certainly an important early season matchup between two NFC North rivals. However, rookie kicker Daniel Carlson missed two field goals in overtime, including what was seemingly a 35 yard chip shot to win the game on the final play. Minnesota has since cut Carlson and signed Dan Bailey, who is currently the second most accurate kicker in NFL history (88.2% career percentage). QB Kirk Cousins played incredibly well in the tie, throwing for 425 yards and four touchdowns. He capped off a last minute drive in the 4th quarter by throwing a 22 yard dart to WR Adam Thielen with just 31 seconds left on the clock. WR Stefon Diggs had another fantastic game, surpassing the 100 yard receiving mark and finding the end zone twice. RB Dalvin Cook was forced to leave the game with an apparent hamstring injury, and he has already been ruled out for Sunday. Latavius Murray is expected to draw the start at running back in his place against Buffalo.
Minnesota has been average defensively through two weeks, although facing Aaron Rodgers last week certainly didn’t help. This talented group should be able to get back on track against Buffalo, especially since they are starting a rookie QB and are ranked dead last in scoring offense. The Vikings head into this game ranked between 10th and 17th in passing, rushing, and scoring defense.
Free NFL Betting Prediction: Minnesota -16.5
In what is far the biggest point spread of the week, I think the most value lies on the Vikings side of things. Buffalo has looked brutal both home and away, but just gave up 47 points on the road to Baltimore in Week 1. They also lost by 11 points to the Chargers last weekend. I think Minnesota is vastly superior to both of those teams, and should have no problem covering the spread in this one. Although Allen certainly showed signs that he is capable of becoming a good quarterback in the NFL, he is still a long way off. There is no way that this Bills offense will find a lot of success in Minnesota this week, especially since it sounds like RB LeSean McCoy may be sidelined with a rib injury.
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Minnesota is an impressive 15-6 ATS over their last 21 games when favored at home, 4-1-1 ATS in their last six games as favorites of 10.5 points or greater, and 17-5 ATS in their last 22 home games against teams with a sub .500 road record. Buffalo is just 2-6 ATS in their last eight games as underdogs and 7-12-3 ATS over their last 22 road games.
I really don’t expect this game to be close after the first quarter, as the Bills have been outscored 54-6 in the opening two quarters so far this season. Minnesota should easily dominate on both sides of the ball, especially through the air where they are averaging 320 yards per game (6th overall). The Bills secondary just got torched by two non-playoff teams, which means Diggs and Thielen should both have huge games yet again this week. Latavius Murry must be extremely happy that he gets to start in place of Dalvin Cook, as Chargers RB Melvin Gordon found the end zone three times against Buffalo in Week 2. I’ll take the Vikings to win by at least three touchdowns at home this week.