NFL Divisional Round Betting Preview and Picks: Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers

Richard Sherman of the San Francisco 49ers (photo credit: USA TODAY Sports)

It’s time for the Divisional Round in the NFL Playoffs, and first up is an NFC clash between the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers. The winner will advance to the NFC Championship game. In this article, we’ll preview the game and give out a few picks for the point spread, over/under total, and a player prop.

We also enjoy you to check out the Divisional Round podcast from Gridiron Gamble football betting podcast for more on this weekend’s games.

Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers (-7)

Over/Under: 44.5

Saturday, January 11, 2020, at 4:35 p.m. ET
Santa Clara, CA
Levi’s Stadium

A wild opening weekend of the NFL Playoffs saw the potential end of the New England Patriots dynasty, an incredible Houston Texans comeback, and no doubt the biggest shock of the weekend, the Minnesota Vikings winning outright in New Orleans as 8-point underdogs to the Saints. Minnesota’s reward? A trip to the west coast to play a San Francisco 49ers team that has had two weeks to get to full strength again. This has to be the leading story coming into this opening Divisional Round playoff game.

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49ers Finally Fully Healthy

The 49ers defense hit a rough patch in the middle of the season, but the stars are starting to align for San Francisco, who desperately needed the bye week they earned by a matter of inches. Defensive end Dee Ford was limited in practice, while Jaquiski Tartt is said to be a full go.

After universally shutting down their opponents in the first half of the season, the 49ers ended the season by allowing 46, 29, 31, and 21 points. We expect this defense to regain their form from earlier in the season, especially against a suspect Vikings offensive line.

Cook and Thielen Prove To Be the Difference

Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielen reminded everyone on Sunday how powerful this Vikings offense can be when they have their full arsenal of weapons. Cook ran it at will against an elite Saints rushing defense, running for 94 yards and 2 touchdowns. Thielen looked full strength for the first time in months, and he burned the Saints secondary on a number of big plays, catching 7 balls for 129 yards.

Lastly, credit needs to be given to Kirk Cousins. He has very much earned his reputation of coming up small in big games, especially on the road. But simply put, he balled out against the Saints in a very tough road environment, fully earning his first massive road playoff victory. The question is, can he pull it off again?

Best Point Spread Pick: 49ers (-7)

This seems like the game where the 49ers remind everyone how good they can be when they are at full strength. They have arguably the best pass rush in the league, and while the Vikings offensive line is much improved over last year’s lineup, they will likely struggle in this brutal matchup. If Cook can get moving like he did at times against the Saints, then the Vikings might have a shot at pulling off another upset.

This 49ers team is slightly better than the Vikings at virtually every level, and that dominance should balance out to a cover of the touchdown point spread.

Best Over/Under Pick: Over 44.5

Both of these teams rank in the middle of the pack on the over/under standings, but even with the 49ers defense likely to reaffirm their dominance, we like the over in this spot. Both quarterbacks are very capable of throwing a back-breaking pick-six or two, Jimmy Garoppolo can have fumble issues, and both offenses are very balanced when cooking. This looks like it has sneaky shootout potential, so go for the over.

Best Player Prop: Adam Thielen Over 56.5 Receiving Yards

On paper, the Vikings’ game plan this week should be quite similar to last week’s. Both the Saints and 49ers have elite pass-rushing ability, and a secondary full of big playmakers. The way to counteract this is to ram the ball down their throats with Cook, in order to set up play-action plays over the top. Thielen should be in line for a few more long shots down the field, and with the number under 60 yards on his receiving prop, there’s a chance he could get this on just 1 or 2 receptions.

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