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NFL Picks: Vikings vs. Eagles Betting Odds and Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 12/23/2010

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Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen

At the beginning of the year this Sunday night contest looked like one of the more interesting ones on the NFL schedule. Now it’s like some horrible Christmas nightmare - Scrooge’s gift to the world.

To say the Vikings are a disaster would be a massive understatement. Adrian Peterson is banged up. Brett Favre is hurt. Tarvaris Jackson is on the IR. They have an interim coach that is not making a good argument for having the interim tag removed. Favre hasn’t officially been ruled out of this game, and his massive ego could easily lead him to play. However, what we have learned in recent weeks is that even if he does start he’s not at all likely to finish.

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That means that Joe Webb is likely to see significant playing time. Webb is a rookie sixth round pick out of UAB. His is a Disney-esque story - he was drafted as a wide receiver, but after impressing coaches while tossing a ball at an early mini-camp he was moved to quarterback. Nice story, but his play last week showed that he is a long way from being ready for prime time.

Needless to say, the Vikings have a serious disadvantage at the QB position. Neither a banged up Favre nor an inexperienced Webb can hold a candle to Michael Vick the way he is playing right now. Vick has been named Player of the Week three times this season, and he is coming off an almost impossible comeback last week in which he was the clear star. He’s player with incredible confidence, and his swagger is leading this team.

The Eagles have essentially scored points at will the last two months, and given what we saw from the Vikings against Chicago last week there is no real reason to believe that the Eagles will struggle to score this week. If the Eagles win then the Vikings obviously need to score more to get the win. I just don’t see how that can happen.

One clear storyline that sticks out is the turnover battle. Actually, it’s not that much of a battle. Minnesota turned the ball over five times on Monday night. On the season they are dead last in the league in terms of turnover margin - they are at minus-14 with 35 turnovers. The Eagles, on the other extreme, are second best in the league at plus-14. Philadelphia has more interceptions than any team in the league, and the Vikings have thrown more interceptions than any squad. If you are a strong believer in the link between winning the turnover battle and winning games then your pick here won’t be too tough.

Motivation is a big factor in the last couple of weeks here, and again that tilts heavily towards the Eagles. Phillly needs to win to tie up the NFC East, and they will want to keep winning to give themselves a shot at a first round bye in the playoffs. It’s hard to believe that Minnesota players are interested in anything other than having this nightmare of a season end.

Vikings vs. Eagles Betting Odds and Line Movement

It took a long time for books to set a line for this game because of the uncertainty at quarterback for the Vikings. It opened widely at 14, according to the NFL lines, with a total of 44. Early indications are that the line will rise from there.

Vikings vs. Eagles Betting Trends

Minnesota is just 2-7 ATS in their last nine games overall, and 1-5 ATS in their last six road games. They have not covered in their last eight games as underdogs.

Philadelphia is 5-2 ATS in their last seven against the NFC, and 4-1 ATS in their last five games as favorites of more than 10 points.

Minnesota has gone ‘over’ in 12 of their last 16 games as road underdogs. They have gone ‘under’ in four of their last five games against the NFC.

Philadelphia has gone ‘over’ in their last four games, and in seven of their last eight games played on grass.

Vikings vs. Eagles NFL Picks and Predictions

Obviously I think that the Eagles are going to win. It would be hard not to think that. This is a huge line, though, so you have to decide how much they are going to win by. My guess is that they will win by a lot. I think that the Eagles can play better than the Bears can right now, and the Vikings were absolutely no match for Chicago last week - and that was in a pseudo home game. Now they have to go on the road in a very hostile environment. I’ll take the Eagles because I just don’t see a single reason to take the Vikings and have faith in their effort. I’ll make the bet as soon as I can to get the best spread possible.

Allen Eastman is about to destroy the bookies once again this weekend with his college football bowl picks and his NFL picks. His football betting system for NFL handicapping (dubbed the 99 System) has hit nearly 70% the last three years and Eastman has four of five big winning weeks under his belt.

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