This Sunday the Carolina Panthers (8-4) will host the Minnesota Vikings (10-20 in a key NFC matchup between two teams fighting for playoff position. Kickoff is set for 1:00 EST at Bank of America Stadium and will be televised locally on FOX.

Oddsmakers currently have Minnesota listed as a 2.5-point road favorite with the total set at 41 points. Check out our Week 14 NFL odds page for a full betting schedule and for more links to our game previews.

Vikings vs Panthers Vegas Game Odds & Betting Preview

Minnesota comes in off an impressive 14-9 win on the road over the Falcons as a 3-point underdog. The Vikings extended their winning streak to 8, while at the same time snapping Atlanta’s 3-game winning streak. Minnesota has also now covered the spread in 7 straight games, improving their overall record to 9-3 ATS for the season.

Carolina enters off a 21-31 road loss to the Saints as a 6-point underdog. The Panthers had won and covered in each of their 4 previous games. While not quite as good as the Vikings, Carolina is a solid 7-4-1 ATS so far. The loss moved the Panthers a 1-game back of the Saints for the top spot in the NFC South, though they are more like two-games back, as they would lose the tiebreaker having now lost both meetings to New Orleans this season. The Panthers would make it as a Wild Card right now, but are just 1-game up on the Falcons, who are on the outside looking in.

These two teams played early last season in Carolina with the Vikings winning 22-10 as a 5.5-point road underdog. Minnesota won the game despite totaling just 13 first downs and a mere 213 yards of total offense.

NFL Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Panthers +2.5

I went against the Vikings last week with Atlanta. A game in which the difference was the Falcons had to settle for 3 field goals, while both of Minnesota’s score were touchdowns. I’m going to go against the Vikings again here, as I just don’t think this Carolina team should be a dog against anyone on their home field.

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The Panthers 10-point loss at New Orleans doesn’t concern me, as the Saints are going to be as tough as anyone to beat on their home field down the stretch run. I’ll take my chances here with Carolina rebounding at home against the Vikings, as we should see a desperate Panthers team that may need to win out just to make the playoffs.

Another big key here is this is not a great spot for Minnesota. The Vikings will be playing their 3rd straight on the road and each of the previous two have been huge games. The first was that Thanksgiving Day game at Detroit, which at the time the Lions were still in the hunt for the NFC North lead. Then they had last week’s huge game at the Falcons. I just think it’s asking a lot of this team to go into Carolina and get a win against this team.

While the Panthers don’t have the offensive fire-power of the Falcons, this team has been playing much better on that side of the ball here of late. They have scored at least 20 in 4 straight and are averaging 33.7 ppg over their last 3. Given the situation for the Vikings, I think we see Cam Newton and the Panthers offense be able to move the ball and unlike Atlanta, finish off drives with touchdowns and not field goals.

I also think Minnesota is going to have a really tough time moving the ball here against this Carolina defense. The Panthers are only giving up 19.8 ppg (10th) and are 6th in the NFL in total defense (297.6 ypg). They are also a balanced defense, ranking inside the top 10 against both the run (4th, 88.6 ypg) and the pass (7th, 209 ypg).

It’s also worth noting that the Panthers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 following a loss and are 11-3 ATS in their last 14 after playing a division game last time out. Carolina is also 9-3 ATS in their last 12 when listed as an underdog and 4-0 ATS over the last 3 seasons at home with a total set of 35.5 to 42 points. Give me the Panthers +2.5.