Vikings vs. Bills Preseason Prediction
Will the Vikings be able to go on the road and topple the Bills in their preseason opener?
The sports book Bovada.lv has the Vikings as a 1.5-point favorite in Thursday night’s game at the Bills, while the over-under is set at 37. Buffalo actually opened as a 1-point favorite until it was bet to Minnesota being a small favorite. The over-under opened at 36 before rising by a point.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS: Welcome to the post-Adrian Peterson era, Vikings fans. The new running backs in town are second round draft pick Dalvin Cook and free agent signee Latavius Murray, a duo that will likely share the load fairly evenly this season barring injury. Murray did not travel to Buffalo, so this could be an ample opportunity for Cook to show he can carry the load in a low-pressure setting. With Teddy Bridgewater still out of action indefinitely due to the devastating knee injury he suffered in training camp last year, Sam Bradford enters his second season as starting quarterback. Expect to see a lot of Case Keenum and Tyler Heinicke under center as well. When healthy, the Vikings sported one of the best defenses in the NFL in 2016 as they surrendered only 19.1 points per game this year. Xavier Rhodes emerged as one of the best cornerbacks in the league and was paid handsomely with a long-term deal last month.
BUFFALO BILLS: Despite some tension at the end of last season due to being benched by the Bills so they could avoid a lucrative incentive kicking in, Tyrod Taylor somehow remains the starting quarterback entering the 2018 season. It’s not that Taylor is a poor quarterback, far from it. But the personnel around Taylor, particularly at wide receiver, has been subpar and has kept him from achieving his full potential to this point. The most important player on the Buffalo offense is perhaps Sammy Watkins, who has suffered through a pair of injury-riddled seasons but has shown to be a big weapon in the pass game when healthy. Defensively, there is potential for the Bills to be a surprise after a couple of disappointing years in a row on that side of the ball. Pass rushers such as Shaq Lawson and Lorenzo Alexander will make life difficult for opposing offensive lines.
Our Prediction: These two defenses should be strong this season and there is enough depth on both sides to make this game a defensive affair throughout. Add into that a pair of offenses that generally play at a methodical pace and this has all the makings of going under the total.
THURSDAY NFL PREDICTION: VIKINGS/BILLS UNDER 37