Vikings vs. Eagles Prediction
Will the Eagles pull off another playoff upset this evening when they host the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game? Or will the Vikes punch their ticket to the Super Bowl?
WHO ODDSMAKERS LIKE: Minnesota. According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the Vikings are a 3-point road favorite to beat the Eagles, who opened as a 3.5-point home underdog. The spread has stayed at 3 for most of the week as oddsmakers refuse to move off the key number of a field goal.
WHO PUBLIC BETTORS LIKE: Minnesota. As of Sunday morning, 55% of the betting tickets wagered online are on the Vikings while 58% of the money is also on Minnesota.
As for the total, the number hit the board at 38 but was bet up to 39 a few days ago. That's where it currently sits as of this writing. The betting tickets on the over/under are split down the middle, with 50% of the tickets on the over and 50% of the tickets on the under. That said, 62% of the money is currently on the over.
WHO THE TRENDS LIKE: The under and Philadelphia. The under is a perfect 4-0 in the last four meetings between these two teams when the game is played in Philadelphia and is 5-2 in the last seven meetings overall. The Vikings, meanwhile, are 2-6 against the spread in their last eight games against the Eagles and just 1-4 against the number in their last five trips to Philly.
WHO WE LIKE: Minnesota. Nick Foles received a ton of praise for his performance last week against the Falcons but he wasn't asked to do much. His 8.2 yards-per-attempt average was a mirage, as his air yards (as in, the distance the ball traveled in the air on average) was just over 5.0. The Eagles relied on screens to running backs and on short, quick throws that took advantage of an Atlanta defense that is extremely fast, but also got out of position a lot. It's not as if that game plan shredded the Falcons: Atlanta only gave up 15 points.
The problem for the Falcons was their offense. Steve Sarkisian put together an abysmal game plan, deciding to beat the Eagles in a phone booth instead of attacking their edge defenders and cornerbacks. Predictably, Fletcher Cox dominated inside and the Falcons had no interior running game. Sarkisian crapped down his leg on the final four plays too, handing the Eagles a victory with his horrendous play-calling (especially on the final play, where he cut the field in half and gave Matt Ryan one option - Julio Jones, who slipped coming out of his break).
All of this is to say that if the Vikings are smarter offensively and capitalize when they get inside the red zone, then they should win. I believe this will be a defensive struggle throughout and Minnesota advances to the Super Bowl.
NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PREDICTION: MINNESOTA VIKINGS -3