Christmas Day Football Preview & Player Props: Vikings at Saints

Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings
Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings (photo credit: Imagn/USA TODAY Sports)

Merry Christmas to all of our readers! Christmas Day will see a rematch from last year’s playoffs, as the Minnesota Vikings return to New Orleans to take on the Saints. In this Christmas Day football betting preview, we’ll break down the Vikings vs. Saints matchup from an NFL betting perspective and provide a few free picks for the game.

Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints (-6.5)

Friday, December 25, 2020, at 4:30 p.m. ET
Mercedes Benz Superdome
New Orleans, LA

Last season, the Vikings upset the Saints as eight point underdogs, yet we are looking at deja vu all over again, as the Saints have been touchdown favorites all week long this time around. Can Minnesota shock the Saints once again? Let’s break it down.

Saints Offense Still Coming Around

The Saints hung tough with the defending Super Bowl champions last week, at one point even taking a 15-14 lead in the third quarter. However, the Kansas City Chiefs came roaring back, and a last second touchdown made the difference in the spread, forcing a push for those who had Chiefs -3.

However, it wasn’t the offense that was keeping the Saints in the game. It took nearly two full quarters for Drew Brees to shake off the rust after missing a month of action with broken ribs and a collapsed lung. It was the front four of the Saints defense who were constantly getting pressure on Mahomes that kept the Saints alive when the offense was struggling. The defensive line will be key once again in this matchup, as the Vikings continue to struggle on the offensive line.

Vikings Offensive Line in Trouble

Kirk Cousins has always been a Quarterback who could carve any defense up if he had time, but he also often crumbles the second the pocket collapses. That has been a problem in Minnesota throughout his entirety there, and we saw it read it’s ugly head a few times in their loss last week against their division rivals Chicago. Well, as previously stated, the Saints defensive line did a number on a better Chiefs offensive line, so that does not bode well for Cousins on Christmas Day.

Normally, the Vikings would counteract this by pounding Dalvin Cook, but the Saints also have the top rushing defense in the league, so that might not help too much. Look for the Vikings to get Cousins out of the pocket on designed bootlegs to give him some extra time, and also give his talented receiving combo of Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson to get open down the field.

Point Spread Pick: Saints (-6.5)

This line had been sitting at a full touchdown the entire week, and was just recently bet down to -6.5. Well, we were prepared to take the full touchdown with the Saints, so we are happy to now be getting the reverse hook as it were. These two teams have a bitter recent history, as the Vikings have ended the season for the Saints twice in three years. The latest came last year, when the Vikings pulled off an unlikely upset of the 13-3 Saints. New Orleans has had Christmas Day circled on their calendar all season long, ready to get revenge on a Minnesota team that, after last week’s loss, has virtually nothing to play for. Take the Saints in this spot.

Alvin Kamara Player Prop: Over 47.5 receiving yards

While all of Saints nation was happy to see Drew Brees make his return to the field last week, no one was happier than Alvin Kamara, who had seen a big dip in his production with Taysom Hill under center. While Kamara didn’t have a fantastic game, he still logged 94 total yards and a receiving touchdown.

Kamara was hardly utilized in the passing game with Hill under center, but that is turning around with Brees, who loves to check down to his talented receiving back. Kamara logged 40 yards on just three catches last week, so if his catches go up, surely his yardage will too. Bank on the talent here, and take the over on Kamara.

Justin Jefferson Player Prop: Over 4.5 catches

It’s been quite a rookie campaign for this former LSU Tiger, who will be returning to the state where he played college ball today. The standout rookie has seen at least eight targets in six of his last seven games, and logged at least seven catches in all but one of those six games. Assuming that stud cornerback Marshon Lattimore is following Adam Thielen around the field today, it should open up a ton of space for the speedy rookie to operate. Cousins will be looking for the Louisiana kid early and often, so take the over on his catches here.

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