New Orleans at Minnesota NFC Divisional Round Spread & Pick

Posted by Rogelio Aguas on January 11, 2018 in

The New Orleans Saints knocked off the Carolina Panthers, 31-26, in the wild card round of the playoffs to advance to the divisional game, and they head Sunday to face the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank stadium. Minnesota won the NFC North and put up a 13-3 record on the season to earn a bye through the first round. The two teams met back in the season opener, with Minnesota coming out ahead, 29-19. Back then, though, Sam Bradford was the quarterback of the Vikings — and now Case Keenum leads the offense. Can the Vikings hold serve at home and advance to the NFC Championship? Or will Drew Brees lead the Saints through the tough Viking defense and get one came closer to his second Super Bowl ring? Take a look at our NFC Divisional odds preview on this playoff tilt before you lock in your wager.

New Orleans at Minnesota NFC Divisional Round Spread & Pick

When: Sunday, January 14, 2018, 4:40pm ET
Where: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
Radio: Westwood One
Live Stream: NFL Live
NFC Divisional Odds: Minnesota (-4), O/U 45.5

Weather Forecast

  • Snow Showers: -11°C/13°F
  • Humidity: 65%
  • Precipitation: 72%
  • Cloud Cover: 99%
  • Wind: 10 mph S
  • Stadium Type: Indoor

Why should you bet on the Saints?

New Orleans put up three touchdowns in the first half of their home win over Carolina last week. Drew Brees looked brilliant on the day, throwing for 376 yards and a pair of scores, with no interceptions. Against Minnesota, Brees has done quite well, throwing 10 touchdowns and just a pair of interceptions. Look for Michael Thomas to have another big day, as he caught eight balls for 131 yards in the wild card win. In the opener, he caught five passes for 45 yards. An area of concern for the Saints’ offense is the running game, as they posted just 60 yards in Week One against Minnesota and only 41 yards against Carolina. Minnesota’s secondary is tougher than Carolina’s, so New Orleans will need to find ways to move the ball on the ground.

Carolina picked up 414 yards of total offense in the wild card game, but they only scored once on four trips into the red zone — so the Saints’ defense did a good bit of bending but did not break. However, the Vikings have a better running game than the Panthers do, and Keenum will beat opponents down the field with his arm as well. Vonn Bell needs to have another big game this week — against Carolina, he tallied nine tackles and a sack.

Why should you put your money on the Vikings?

Not many teams could lose their starting quarterback (Sam Bradford) and starting tailback (Dalvin Cook) to season-ending injuries and still get over the .500 mark. However, the emergence of Case Keenum and Latavius Murray — and the coaching acumen of Mike Zimmer — have the Vikings not just winning but contending for a trip to the Super Bowl. Keenum has thrown for 3,547 yards with 22 touchdowns against just seven picks. In the last six games of the regular season, Keenum had 10 touchdown passes. Murray picked up 842 yards on the season, with Jerick McKinnon adding 570 yards. Keenum’s favorite target has been Adam Thielen, who has caught 91 balls for 1,276 yards on the season. So the offense of the Vikings, long a sticking point, is firing on all cylinders now.

Minnesota has been known for their defense since Zimmer took the team over. In the regular season, they ranked #2 in passing and rushing defense — and in the last three games of the season, they permitted 17 points combined. They’ve had two weeks to rest and prepare for New Orleans and should have the scheme in place to keep New Orleans from torching their secondary.

Latest NFC Divisional Round Betting Trends

  • New Orleans is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games
  • New Orleans is 12-3 SU in its last 15 games
  • The total has gone OVER in 4 of New Orleans’s last 6 games
  • Minnesota is 9-2 ATS in its last 11 games
  • Minnesota is 11-1 SU in its last 12 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Minnesota’s last 5 games

Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction

New Orleans has covered the spread just once in their last five games. Minnesota has covered the spread 11 times in their last 12 games against teams with winning records on the road, and in five of their last six home playoff games. I see the Viking defense stopping the Saints again and Keenum getting just enough going down the field for Minnesota to advance. I predict a final score of Minnesota 27, New Orleans 23.