Monday Service Plays
Re: Monday Service Plays
10 Dime - Vikings
I really wanted to take New Orleans tonight; tried to convince myself the Saints could win and cover this game. But everytime I was ready to pull the trigger, I kept thinking about their sieve-like defense (25 ppg yield) and numerous injuries.
Another factor: This game is important for both teams obviously, but it's really a do-or-die game for the 1-3 Vikings and their head coach Brad Childress. Win tonight and they're one game behind the division-leading 3-2 Bears, tied for second place with Green Bay. They could easily get back to .500 with a home game against Detroit next week before meeting the Bears in Chicago two weeks from now with first place at stake.
You know all about Minnesota's quarterback issues; no need to discuss them further. But this team's bigger problem has been Adrian Peterson's hamstring injury suffered in the season's second game against the Colts. In two games since against Carolina (home win) and Tennessee (road loss), the centerpiece of the Vikings offense has carried the ball a total of just 35 times. However, he now says he's back to 90-95% health and that's crucial for his team's success since Minnesota was 7-1 in games they had 30 rushing attempts last season and 1-7 when it didn't. In fact, the Vikings were 4-0 when running the ball at least 39 times in a game last year and 2-0 when they ran it at least 43 times.
A healthy Peterson combined with a dash of Chester Taylor is the key against a New Orleans defense allowing opposing backs to average 5.2 ypc through four games. And while the Saints defense suffered another blow with the loss of defensive tackle Sedric Ellis, their No. 1 pick, Minnesota starting left tackle Bryant McKinnie is returning from a league-imposed four-game suspension to share time at his position with Artis Hicks and that makes the Vikings offensive line even better.
Ellis's injury is just the latest in a long line for New Orleans this season as the offense is similarly crippled by the absence of receiver Marques Colston and tight end Jeremy Shocker. And although Deuce Mcallister had his best game since his return from last season's knee injury last week versus San Francisco, tonight he will be charging into a Minnesota defense that is bigger and better at stopping the run than the 49ers.
Neither one of these teams have been tremendous Monday night performers in the past, but as I said previously, this is a do-or-die game for the Vikings and expect them to return to the ball control style that resulted in their ground game being the league's most productive a year ago. And a strong rushing attack will eat time off the clock and keep Brees off the field longer.
New Orleans is 1-7 SU and 2-6 ATS in its last eight Monday night home outings and 5-11 versus the oddsmakers in its last 16 games when cast as a home favorite. This will be a close game, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the Vikings not only cover but win the game outright.
Taking a look at the line.... As I post this play on Sunday night, I see Minnesota at +3 almost everywhere in Vegas and offshore. No reason you shouldn't be getting at least a field goal. If by chance your book has 2 1/2, you should buy the extra 1/2 point back to +3 to insure you at least push should Minnesota lose by a field goal.
Now, do you buy up the 1/2 point from 3 to 3 1/2 to insure Minnesota wins you money even if it loses by a field goal on the field? Well, we're always trying to push the odds a little more in our favor. Thus buying the 1/2 point up to 3 1/2 is the wise investment move as well.
With that being said, don't for a minute think that I don't realize that I'm asking you to spend additional funds - over and above the purchase of this selection - to essentially buy insurance on this pick. Myself, to be honest, I feel that the breaks always even out over the course of the year and in such situations it's a 50-50 proposition. Obviously there are no guarantees in gambling, but again, when you have the chance to hedge the odds in your favor for a small cost, it's worth the investment when the number is sitting on or around 3.
One more thing.... As I noted on Saturday when releasing Denver early, don't ever discount the importance of price shopping by having numerous accounts and sources to play through. The same goes in Vegas where you're within walking distance or a short cab ride to from a 20+ sportsbooks waiting to take your action.
Fact of life is that some books always are priced higher for favorites. A pain when you're betting chalks, but great news if you're betting the dogs, right? Knowing where to play and when is often the difference between winning and losing. And in tonight's case, if you see the 3 1/2 out there - and there are a few - you take the extra hook for free if you know what I mean since we're on the dog tonight.