Vikings vs. Saints Spread Prediction
The Saints are the largest favorites this NFL Wildcard Weekend, laying a full eight points to the Vikings on Sunday afternoon in the Superdome. With kickoff set for 1:05 p.m. ET, is there value in the underdog Minnesota for bettors?
145 Minnesota Vikings (+8) at 146 New Orleans Saints (-8); O/U 50
1:05 p.m. ET, Sunday, January 5, 2020
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
According to our NFL Public Betting Chart page, the Saints are drawing 60% of the betting tickets ahead of Sunday’s game.
Minnesota Vikings Fantasy Spin
Speaking Friday on Good Morning Football, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero said the Vikings plan to cut Dalvin Cook (shoulder) "loose" in Sunday's Wild Card game against the Saints. Cook won't have any restrictions in his return from a two-game absence. Minnesota will also get back Alexander Mattison (ankle), who has been a full participant in each of the Vikings' two practices this week. A first-time Pro Bowler, Cook was excellent for the Vikings this year, though he limped to the finish line, averaging a lethargic 59.8 yards from scrimmage over his last four games.
New Orleans Saints Fantasy Spin
Saints S Vonn Bell (knee) wasn't listed on the team's final injury report. Bell will return for this Sunday's Wild Card matchup against the Vikings. The Saints defense will also welcome back S Marcus Williams (groin). Bell's return is low-key bad news for Dalvin Cook and company considering PFF has graded him as their No. 1 safety against the run this season
The Vikings are just 2-5 against the spread in their last seven playoff road games and are 2-6 against the number in their last eight games as an underdog.
The Saints have covered the spread in four of their last five games overall and have covered in 28 of their last 38 home games when facing an opponent with a winning road record.
NFL Wildcard Weekend Prediction
The Vikings have really struggled against the Saints, at least ATS, posting a 1-5 record against the number in their last six games versus New Orleans. That said, this number is too high. With Cook expected to play at full strength, he takes a lot of pressure off Kirk Cousins, who has received plenty of criticism for his poor play in “big games.” The bigger issue for the Vikings than Cousins is the men who are paid to protect him. In the Vikings’ Week 16 loss to the Packers, Cousins was sacked five times and was often running for his life on several other drop-backs. That’s not to say that he played well against Green Bay, but it’s hard to evaluate a quarterback when he’s constantly on his back. The Vikings’ offensive line must protect better and if they do, this team has more than enough weapons with Cook, Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen to keep pace with the Saints throughout. While I don’t expect Minnesota to win the game outright, again, I believe this Vikings team isn’t your prototypical six seed that snuck into the playoffs in the final weeks. One, they had an opportunity with a win over the Packers in Week 16 to possible win the NFC North and had they played in the NFC East this year, they would have been hosting a playoff game. Bottom line: Vikings are good enough to keep this game within a touchdown.
NFL WILDCARD WEEKEND PREDICTION: MINNESOTA VIKINGS +8