An NFC North showdown will be going down this weekend in Detroit, with the Lions hosting the Minnesota Vikings. We’ll preview the game and go over what the significant line movement could mean when trying to bet on this game.
Since week nine, it's been hard to find a more entertaining team than the Detroit Lions. Dan Campbell's team has scored 25 or more points in the last four weeks and gone 4-1 over their last five games. The Lions' offense behind Jared Goff and league-rushing touchdown leader Jamaal Williams has scored an average of 26.3 points per game this season which is sixth in the NFL.
This Detroit team's problem is their defense; the Lions allow the most points and yards per game in the NFL this season. In last weekend's win, the defense played one of their best games, holding the Jaguars to only 14 points.
If the defense has one primary strength, it’s creating turnovers. The Lions generate an average of 1.3 turnovers a game which is 12th in the league. It will be interesting to see if they can get this Vikings' offense, which has been one of the best in the league at protecting the ball, to make a mistake.
Minnesota enters this week on a two-game winning streak and has scored a combined 60 points between those two games. The Vikings rely heavily on Kirk Cousins and the passing game to carry the offense, as Minnesota throws the ball the third most in the league. Cousins has, in turn, been averaging 234.1 passing yards per game, with most of those yards belonging to Justin Jefferson.
Jefferson poses a massive problem for this Lions' pass defense that has allowed 19 passing touchdowns this season which is tied for fourth in the league. The Lions were able to hold Jefferson to only 14 yards in their first match-up this season, but in his previous three games against Detroit, he had gone for 100+ receiving yards.
The Detroit Lions opened as +3 point underdogs, but they are now -1.5 point favorites. Yes, you’re reading that correctly, the Lions have flipped from underdogs to favorites in this match-up, and they are my best bet. Sharp money has been all over the Lions this week, causing them to move from dog to favorite, and with the way they have been playing, I think they are the right team to back.
This same type of movement happened last weekend, with the Raiders opening as underdogs and closing as favorites against the Chargers. Las Vegas won the game outright and covered in that one, and I’m expecting a similar outcome in this game. Detroit is 8-4 ATS this season, and despite losing to Minnesota 28-24 very early in the season and having vastly different records, this Detroit team has the offensive ability to steal a win here.
If the Lions can limit Jefferson again and force the Vikings to rely more on their run game, they will have an advantage since Minnesota averages just 101.8 rushing yards a game and only 4.3 yards per carry. Slowing this Vikings' passing game will allow the Lions' offense to build a lead, and I think they can hold that lead for the win.
Detroit Lions (-1.5)