NFL Wild Card Betting Preview and Picks: Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints
Kicking off the second day of Wild Card Weekend is an NFC feature between the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings. If you recall, these two teams have some recent history in the NFL Playoffs that we’re sure will be talked about plenty on the broadcast. Here’s a look at the odds, a betting preview of the matchup, and some of our best bets for when the Saints host the Vikings on Sunday, January 5, 2020.
Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints (-8)
Sunday, January 5, 2020, at 1:05 p.m. ET
New Orleans, LA
The NFC takes center stage on Sunday, and the first matchup is a rematch of the ‘Minneapolis Miracle’ from two seasons ago. In that game, the New Orleans Saints mounted an incredible second-half comeback, only to have it go to waste following an unlikely walk-off touchdown from Stefon Diggs. The rematch is taking place in the Bayou, where the Saints are the biggest favorite on the Wild Card Weekend slate. Let’s break down this enticing matchup.
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Saints Hitting Their Groove Once Again
It’s been about as rocky a season as it can be for a team that went 13-3 on the regular season. All hope was lost when Drew Brees went down early with a serious thumb injury, but Teddy Bridgewater came in and ran the table as the starter. However, New Orleans hit another bump in the path when they were dominated by the then 1-7 Atlanta Falcons at home, and they also lost a shootout against the San Francisco 49ers, where, amazingly, 46 points wasn’t enough to get the win. Now, the Saints are flying high going into the NFL Playoffs, reeling off dominating wins against the Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, and Carolina Panthers.
The Saints will need to be at their best against a Minnesota Vikings team that is getting healthy at the right time if you are a Minnesota fan.
Cook and Thielen Set To Return
While the Saints are coming into this game flying high, the same cannot be said for the Vikings. They fell flat on their face in a massive Monday Night Football showdown against the Green Bay Packers, and also lost to the Chicago Bears last week, though to be fair they were resting most of their starters. As the header reads, offensive standouts Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielen are set to return for this massive playoff game, and the timing couldn’t be better. Simply put, Cook is a game changer. With him in the backfield, the Vikings have one of the most balanced offenses in the entire league.
However, it cannot be denied that the Vikings will only go as far as Kirk Cousins will take them. When he is clicking, he is one of the best in the league, but far too often, Cousins comes up short in big games like this, especially on the road, and especially against a solid defense, which the Saints certainly have. Even with that said, this seems like too big of a number for the Saints to cover.
Best Point Spread Pick: Vikings (+8)
On paper, these two teams are surprisingly similar. They both have exceptionally balanced offenses when healthy, and both have stout defenses that can shutdown anyone in the league when they are firing on all cylinders. However, the home-field advantage in this situation will be too much for the Vikings to be able to pull off the outright upset.
Having said that, Minnesota should be able to keep it within this inflated number to keep the final score within a touchdown. Take the Vikings here, but don’t be surprised if the Saints blow doors in this spot, fueled by yet another Cousins dud of a performance.
If you’re looking for additional backing on the Vikings (+8), all four of the hosts on the Gridiron Gamble podcast, presented by SharpSide.com, picked the Vikings on the point spread.
Best Over/Under Pick: Under 49.5
This number opened at 46 points and quickly shot up to a gaudy 50 points. It has since gone under 50, but that number is still too high for us given how solid both defenses can be when at their best. Both offenses will have to be clicking to cover this number, and we don’t expect that to happen in this game, so take the under in this one.
Best Player Prop: Kirk Cousins Under 260.5 Passing Yards
We aren’t exactly sure why this number is so high for Cousins. He has gone under this number in five of his last seven starts, and if Mike Zimmer has his way in this game, they will keep the ball out of Cousins’ hands as much as possible. The return of Cook means that the Vikings will want to run the ball a ton, and if the Vikings have to pass to get back in the game, we don’t have faith that Cousins can get things going against this aggressive Saints pass rush and playmaking secondary. Take the under in this spot.