Sunday sees a rematch of one of the most magnificent finishes to a playoff game that I have ever witnessed. The Minneapolis Miracle shocked the football world as the Minnesota Vikings stole a spot in the NFC championship game from the clutches of the New Orleans Saints. Both teams enter this game with reasons to be optimistic. The Saints went 13-3 this season, and while the Vikings managed just a 10-6 record, they are getting their stud running back Dalvin Cook back for this one. Let’s take a look at this NFC Wild Card clash with the PFN betting crew, and see which NFL picks have value in the Vikings vs. Saints contest Sunday afternoon.
Location: Superdome, New Orleans
Time: 1:05 pm EST
Spread: Saints -8
The money in this game has been coming in on the Saints, with nearly 75% of the money on the home team laying the points. The total in this game may be one of the most lopsided I have seen when it comes to where the money is going. Over 90% of the money has been on the over, with many expecting a high scoring exciting matchup.
Bet predictions from Ben Rolfe
I backed what looked like an easy over in New Orleans a few weeks ago when the Indianapolis Colts came to town, and it backfired on me in a big way. Therefore, I am hesitant to follow the crowd and back the over right now. My big fear is that the Vikings offense just gets smothered in a similar way to the Colts, and we see a game-ending up in the 28-17 region and the under hitting because of that. An excellent way to overcome that is to look at doing a combination tease on the spread and the total the way my colleagues have below.
Once again, I am going to go prop hunting, with the standout for me being Tre’Quan Smith, who has four touchdowns in his last six games and three in his previous four. He appears to have developed a good level of trust with Drew Brees and can make it count. With odds of over +300, I like the value here.
A great way to target the over without actually playing it is to look at the touchdown markets. In this case, I am looking specifically at Brees, with the line at 2.5 passing touchdowns. Brees has thrown for 15 touchdowns in his last four games and has only thrown two or less in one of his previous seven games.
0.5u – Tre’Quan Smith Anytime Touchdown | +350
1u – Drew Brees Over 2.5 Passing Touchdowns | +135
Bet predictions from Ryan Gosling
On Sunday, we get to witness two exciting NFC matchups. The Minnesota Vikings will be traveling to New Orleans to take on the surging Saints. New Orleans has been on an absolute tear these past few weeks, scoring at least 34 points in six of the last seven games. Meanwhile, the Vikings seem to be limping into the playoffs off of two disappointing showings.
This number is significant, with the Saints laying over a touchdown at home. But, is it really that big of a number considering whom they are playing? It’s Kirk Cousins on the road in a playoff game, and not just any road playoff game, but one in New Orleans. It’s simply hard to trust Kirk Cousins in this pressure-packed game against a defense that finds ways to harass quarterbacks. However, laying more than a touchdown in the playoffs is a dangerous mentality.
Minnesota will be getting healthy here, with Dalvin Cook likely to return to the lineup, and Adam Thielen ready to be more than just a decoy. Obviously, the Saints will be playing with a little bit more motivation in this one with the memory of the Minneapolis Miracle, probably still haunting them.
What I would expect in this one is a backdoor cover late in the game for Cousins. The Saints offense is too good right now. The Brees injury early in the year might have been the best thing that could have happened to them. He is now fresh and won’t have to be worried about having noodle arm syndrome during a playoff game. The Vikings can ride their second-ranked red zone defense to a closer game than people expect. Saints will win, but I am not confident enough to lay this many points! That is why the teaser was invented. Tease the Saints and take the over.
Another play I like in this game is the over receptions and yards for Michael Thomas. Thomas has been sensational at home this season, recording 87 receptions, 1,027 yards and six touchdowns at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Thomas’ catch rate so far this year is 80.5%. Vikings no.1 cornerback Xavier Rhodes is allowing a catch rate of 84.3%. Rhodes will be covering Thomas, and it will likely be his worse nightmare. Thomas should be able to go up and grab as many balls as Brees throws his way.
1u – Saints -0.5 and Over 42.5 Total Points | -120
1u – Michael Thomas Over 6.5 Receptions | -118
1u – Michael Thomas Over 105.5 Receiving Yards | -114
Bet predictions from Jason Sarney
Sunday belongs to the NFC, and what a combination of games we have. Starting off the day will be a rematch of the Minneapolis Miracle when Stefon Diggs shocked New Orleans with a walk-off winner. With that in mind, and hear me now and profit later, the Saints win in a romp. It is their year. They are a complete team, and Drew Brees is on a mission to Miami.
1u – New Orleans Saints -7.5 | -107
1u – Over 49.5 Total Points | -105
Bet predictions from Chris Smith
The Minnesota Vikings travel to New Orleans Sunday to take on the Saints in a rematch of the thrilling Minneapolis Miracle two seasons ago. This time around, the Saints are 8 point favorites after a 13-3 season in which they could have easily been a top-two seed in the NFC.
The Vikings get Dalvin Cook back after a two-game hiatus, which should be a massive help for Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota play-Action offense. I expect the Vikings to put up points on the fast conditions of the Superdome turf. These two teams have met three times since 2017, and each of those contests saw the total surpass the 48 point mark that the Over/Under currently sits at.
While I believe Drew Brees and the Saints put up close to 30 themselves against this mediocre Minnesota secondary, I wouldn’t be stunned to see the Vikings get within a touchdown late. To protect against that very scenario, I’ll tease the Saints to minus two and drop that Over to 42 to provide myself a slight cushion.
2u – Teaser: Saints -2 & Over 42 total points | -120
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