While it may not be the most exciting matchup on paper, this Week 6 showdown between the Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers has the potential to be an exciting one. Both teams have playmakers all over the field, including two of the best running backs in football that could be making their returns from injury.
The 2-3 Vikings have won two of their last three but are still searching for their first road win of the year. The Panthers have lost back-to-back games after starting the season 3-0 and are coming off their lowest point total (18) of the season.
Without further ado, let’s dive into our Vikings vs Panthers predictions and best bets. Please note that all odds are current as of 5 PM EST on Friday, October 15.
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Vikings vs Panthers Prediction
After opening the season on fire, Kirk Cousins and this Vikings offense have cooled off with just 26 total points over their last two games. While he’s thrown an interception in each of his last two games, Cousins has already thrown for 10 touchdowns and 1,396 passing yards on the season, displaying strong connections with Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson.
Defensively, Minnesota has tightened up after surrendering 61 points over the first two games of the season. The Vikes have allowed 17 points or less in each of their last three games, which included tough matchups against the Seattle Seahawks and Cleveland Browns. They’ll look to take that momentum on the road with them in Week 6.
While Minnesota’s offense has cooled off over the past two weeks, the same can be said of Carolina’s defense. After yielding just 30 points over their first three games combined, the Panthers have been gashed for 57 points in their last two games. Their offensive woes in Week 5 didn’t help matters, as Carolina managed just 267 total yards of offense against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, Christian McCaffrey will miss his third consecutive game with a hamstring injury. While Carolina’s star running back is out, the Vikings will be getting Dalvin Cook back, which helps gives Minnesota more balance on offense. Still, will it be enough?
Prediction: Panthers 24, Vikings 20
Vikings vs Panthers Best Bets
Best Bet: Panthers +2.5 (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 0.5 Units
Cousins has struggled over his last couple of games and may continue to do so on the road against Carolina’s elite pass defense. The Panthers have allowed the NFL’s fourth-lowest completion percentage (58.9%) and are second in sack percentage (9.88%). If Cook is less than 100% or isn’t available, that’ll put added pressure on Cousins as well.
Meanwhile, Darnold should bounce back for Carolina. He’ll look to exploit Minnesota’s weak secondary, which will struggle to contain talented wideouts D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson.
The odds are overreacting to the injury updates for the running backs in this game, so take advantage of the home underdogs according to our NFL gameday odds.
Best Bet: Under 45.5 Total Points (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 0.5 Units
The Under has hit in four of Carolina’s five games this season largely because of their stellar defense. They’ve allowed an average of just 14 points per home game and 17.4 overall — third-fewest in the NFL.
We also have two teams that want to establish the run to set up the passing game. This is especially true in a game with two defenses that will bring lots of pressure. As a result, we could see multiple turnovers and drives that chew up a lot of clock, resulting in a lower total score for our NFL bet of the day.