Vikings vs. Panthers Prediction
Will a desperate Carolina Panthers team upset the red-hot Minnesota Vikings when the teams play a pivotal NFC matchup Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET?
Who Oddsmakers Like: Minnesota. According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the Vikings are 2.5-point road favorites versus the Panthers, who opened as 1-point underdogs earlier in the week. As for the total, the number hit the board at 42 but was bet down to 40 at most sports books.
Who the Public Likes: As of Sunday morning, 59% of tickets were on the Vikings to cover the spread, while 61% of the money was also on Minnesota.
Who the Trends Like: Minnesota and the under. The Vikings have covered the spread against the Panthers in five of the last seven meetings between these two teams. The under is also 5-2 in those seven meetings.
Who We Like: Minnesota, although I fully admit I'm conflicted. For starters, I love taking home dogs when they have something to play for. Granted, the Panthers aren't a huge home dog but they're desperate to keep racking up wins after getting swept by the Saints and watching that same New Orleans team lose Thursday night to division rival Atlanta. If Carolina wants to stay in the hunt, a win today is pivotal. Plus, this will be Minnesota's third-straight difficult road game after playing in Detroit on Thanksgiving Day and then traveling to Atlanta last week.
That said, the thing I keep coming back to as I handicap this matchup is: Who is the better team? And the answer is unquestionably the Vikings, who might be the best team in the NFC right now. They're the only team to rank in the top-five both offensively and defensively. They have elite playmakers at every level on defense and a quarterback that is playing the best ball of his career.
Let's dive further. When the Panthers were gaining all of that support for having a top defensive unit, who did they face? I'll tell you: The 49ers, Bills, Bears, Dolphins, Jets and the Buccaneers…with Ryan Fitzpatrick. What happened last week when they faced a top offense? They allowed 400 yards to the Saints.
Carolina is desperate and perhaps Minnesota is road-weary. That's not even for me to jump off a Vikings team who just held a potent Falcons offense to nine points and 275 yards (in Atlanta, no less). I'll lay the 2.5.
NFL WEEK 14 PREDICTIONS: MINNESOTA VIKINGS -2.5