Minnesota Vikings (6-8) at New Orleans Saints (10-4)
Vikings Saints Bet Tips
Odds & Betting Lines for Vikings-Saints Picks
- Against The Spread: Saints -7 (-105)/Vikings +7 (-115)
- Moneyline: Saints (-310)/Vikings (+240)
- Total: 52 — Over 52 (-115)/Under 52 (-105)
- Implied Team Totals: Saints 29.5, Vikings 22.5
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Vikings-Saints Key Injuries
VikingsVikings TE Kyle Rudolph is still dealing with a lingering foot injury that has sidelined him for each of the past two games. Currently considered day-to-day, there are no guarantees that Rudolph plays on Friday at the Saints. While it is never good being down a reliable veteran like Rudolph, the tandem of Irv Smith Jr. and Tyler Conklin have both performed well in his absence. Our Vikings-Saints Picks are just part of our NFL analysis. Catch our full Week 16 NFL wagering coverage. In Week 14, Smith caught all four of his targets for 63 yards and a touchdown, while Conklin went for a 5/40/0 line on five targets. In Week 15, Smith caught 3-of-4 targets for 37 yards while Conklin was the one who had the better game with his 57 yards and a score on 3-of-4 targets. Collectively, both Smith and Conklin have held down the fort with Rudolph sidelined, a trend that should continue on Friday facing a Saints defense that has allowed 65 receptions for 626 yards and seven touchdowns to enemy tight ends in 2020.
SaintsOnce again, the Saints are in the face of adversity on offense. While Drew Brees just returned from his ribs injury in last week’s loss to Kansas City, they also placed Michael Thomas on the injured reserve with his ankle injury ahead of the defeat. On top of being down Thomas at wide receiver, Tre’Quan Smith is also banged up. Smith injured his ankle in the Week 15 loss after logging a 25-yard catch on two targets. We know Thomas is out, but if Smith is unable to play on Christmas, Emmanuel Sanders will be the only Saints wideout of notability in the game. Receivers that include Lil’Jordan Humphrey, who scored against the Chiefs, Tommylee Lewis, and the MacGyver-like Taysom Hill will help weather the storm at pass-catcher along with the usual suspects at tight end and running back.
Vikings-Saints Players to Watch
Vikings RB Dalvin Cook must play a key role for the Minnesota offense for them to pull out a victory over the Saints. While the Saints have lost two straight outings, they are still a better team than the Vikings, who have not played well in their own right. They also lost two in a row. Despite Minnesota’s slide, Cook is still operating as one of the NFL’s top backs. In seven of his past eight games since Week 8, Cook has totaled 110+ yards with eight total touchdowns in four of those outings. Cook has also gone for 110+ yards in each of his past three games as well. Cook’s run goes all the way back to Week 3 as he’s gone over 110 yards in nine of his past 11 games. Cook is matchup-proof and will have to be facing a Saints defense allowing the fourth-fewest rushing yards per game (95.6). While the Saints have played outstanding defense against the run this season, they have been gashed in the past two games since Week 14. In Week 14, the Saints let both Miles Sanders and Jalen Hurts run for 100+ yards apiece on them while in last week’s loss to the Chiefs, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Le’Veon Bell combined for 141 yards on the ground. Saints QB Drew Brees is set to start his second game back from a ribs injury that sidelined him for four games since sustaining the ailment in Week 10. While the Saints lost in Week 15 to the Chiefs, Brees did all he could to not only bring his club back but nearly pick up the victory. Although Brees only passed for 234 yards, he did throw for three touchdowns to a skeleton crew at wide receiver sans Michael Thomas and Tre’Quan Smith, who injured his ankle early and would not return. Brees has thrown for 3+ scores in two of the past three games he has played in and three total times this season. Since the Saints are ailing at wide receiver, they need running back Alvin Kamara and Jared Cook, their normally unreliable veteran tight end, to step up. It may not be easy for Cook, however. In his past seven games since Week 8, Cook has logged fewer than five targets, three receptions, and 37 yards with only two total touchdowns in that period. Normally touchdown-dependent to make an impact, Cook will get a Vikings defense that has only given up five touchdowns to tight ends in 2020, the fifth-fewest in the NFL.
Vikings-Saints Weather Report
The weather at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome will not impact the outcome of the game as it is a dome.
Vikings-Saints Picks & Best Bet
BEST BET: Saints -7 (-105)While the Saints have lost each of their past two games following their nine-game winning streak, I believe they are the superior team in this matchup. The Vikings have also lost two in a row and three of their past five overall. We know the Saints play better at home. Despite dropping last week’s home game to Kansas City, they are 5-2 on there at the dome. If the Saints’ defense can get back on track and manage to contain Dalvin Cook, it would make life much easier to hold Minnesota’s high-octane passing attack led by Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, and Adam Thielen in check. Still, even if Cook gets into a groove, the New Orleans pass-rush should be enough to disrupt Cousins, your prototypical pocket passer who thrives off the play-action pass and the designed roll-out. The Saints are eighth in sacks (40) while the Vikings are 12th in sacks allowed (34), which could be the difference in the outcome of the game. Cousins has fumbled the ball in five straight games, losing one in four straight leading up to last week’s loss in which he put the ball on the ground but it was recovered by his offense. The Vikings are 0-5 against the spread in each of their past five games. The Saints are 5-2 ATS in their past seven games, failing to cover in each of their past two outings, both straight up losses. The favorite is 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings between the Vikings and Saints. In this game, the Saints are the favorites to win. The Saints are 5-4 ATS in their last nine meetings against the Vikings, failing to cover in their last meeting which was in the 2020-2021 postseason back in January.
CONSIDER: Over 52 (-115)I expect big points in this matchup between the Vikings and Saints. While the last meeting between these two clubs went Under the 50-point total in last January’s postseason matchup — the Vikings beat the Saints 26-20 — Minnesota’s defense looks much different now. Minnesota’s defense last season resembled their usual top-end unit we’ve seen in the Mike Zimmer era. However, with all of their personnel turnover this offseason, the Vikings are fielding one of the worst units in the NFL in 2020. The Vikings are allowing the seventh-most points per game (27.7) in 2020. And although the Saints are yielding the sixth-fewest PPG (21.2), they have given up 24 points in back-to-back games, including 32 to the Chiefs in last week’s loss. The Saints have surrendered fewer than 16 points in the previous five games leading up to Week 14’s loss to Philly in which they gave up 24. The Over is 6-4 in the Vikings’ past 10 games and 3-2 in their past five, hitting last week. The Over is 2-5 in the Saints’ past five games, hitting in each of their past two, snapping a five-game slide of Unders. The over is 2-2 in the past four meetings between the Saints and Vikings, hitting the under in each of their past two matchups.
CONSIDER: Vikings (+240)This is one of those games in which it would not shock me if the underdog won outright. After all, it is a Christmas game and anything can happen, right? Seriously though. The Saints have lost two in a row as has the Vikings, but Minnesota has the formula to knock off New Orleans. They can control the tempo of the game with Dalvin Cook and leave Drew Brees on the sideline. They also have the speed on the outside to beat Saints corners. It would have to be a perfect, turnover-free game by Kirk Cousins to pull it off, but it is not impossible. The Vikings knocked the Saints out of the playoffs at this very dome last January. They have also beaten the Saints in three of their past four meetings. I still like the Saints to win, but I would not blame anyone for wagering Minnesota in their Vikings-Saints Picks. Anthony Cervino is 55-44-1 on his NFL Best Bets in 2020.
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