Monday Night Football Predictions: Vikings at Giants Week 7 Odds
by Alan Matthews - 10/18/2013
I've started a petition at Change.org for Major League Baseball to begin the World Series on Monday night instead of Wednesday. Because otherwise I'm going to have to watch the 1-4 Minnesota Vikings play the 0-6 New York Giants in certainly the worst “Monday Night Football” matchup of the season -- it makes the recent Jets-Falcons matchup look like a Super Bowl preview. I guess there's always hockey. Both teams will want to enjoy the MNF spotlight because they probably won't be showcased next season -- the Giants have had at least one Monday game nine years in a row. Although simply being a New York team likely will be enough of a lure to get the Giants a game in 2014.
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There is one reason to tune in here, and it's because of Minnesota's new quarterback. Maybe a return to purple will work wonders on Josh Freeman, the former Kansas State star. He makes his first start as a Viking after being released a few weeks ago by Tampa Bay. It turns out that Freeman perhaps was smart to choose Minnesota over Oakland and Buffalo as I didn't think he'd get the call this quickly. It's fairly evident the Vikings have no faith in former first-round pick Christian Ponder, and it wouldn't surprise me if he asks for a trade. Matt Cassel started the past two games because Ponder was hurt, and Cassel wasn't good last week. So embattled coach Leslie Frazier is turning to Freeman in hopes of saving his own job. If Freeman shows something in the final 10 games, he could easily earn a long-term contract with the Vikings. If you are wondering, Minnesota does not play Tampa Bay this season. Too bad.
Vikings at Giants Betting Story Lines
Minnesota is betting $3 million that Freeman can return to 2010 form and not be the guy who was terrible at the end of last season and even worse to start this year: Freeman's rating of 59.3 is the second-worst in the league, and his completion percentage of 45.7 is the worst. I'm frankly not sure how Freeman will improve much. Yes, the Vikings have Adrian Peterson, but the Bucs had a good back in Doug Martin. Tampa Bay also had Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams at receiver, while Minnesota has a past-his-prime Greg Jennings and Jerome Simpson. For some reason, Minnesota used Peterson on only 10 carries in last week's 35-10 loss to Carolina despite the fact he was averaging 6.2 yards per carry. To be fair, the Panthers were up 21-3 early in the third quarter, so the Vikes did have to pass more.
Minnesota lost two defensive players in the game. Linebacker Desmond Bishop was hailed as a great signing this summer after the Packers let him go, but he tore his ACL and is done. He didn't crack the starting lineup, so it's not a huge loss. However, the loss of safety Harrison Smith does hurt. He has turf toe and is on IR/designated for return. Thus, he could return in Week 15, although I'm not sure what the point would be by then. Smith had two picks this season and was a rare bright spot on a pass defense that has allowed the fourth-most yards in the NFL. The Vikings have allowed at least 31 points in four of five games and gave up 27 in the other (their only win).
The Giants have allowed at least 31 points in five of their six games and gave up a season-low 27 in last Thursday's 27-21 loss in Chicago. The 34.8 per game is the worst in the NFL. The G-Men have only four picks and five sacks. Since the NFL began keeping sacks statistics in 1982, the lowest total New York has finished with is 25 -- two years ago it had 48.
As I mentioned in the preview for that Giants-Bears game, it's not all the defense's fault. New York is a turnover factory. Eli Manning had three more picks against the Bears to raise his league-leading total to 15, and he's on pace to break the NFL record of 35. Manning hasn't completed better than 54 percent of his passes in a game since Week 2. There was a bright spot in the Bears loss as Brandon Jacobs rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. Even with that total (26 percent of the Giants' season number), New York is 30th in rushing. Jacobs is dealing with a hamstring issue but should play Monday. The team is so thin at tailback that it signed former Madden cover boy Peyton Hills this week.
Vikings at Giants NFL Week 7 Monday Night Football Betting Odds and Trends
At Bookmaker, the Giants are 3.5-point favorites with a total of 46. Minnesota is 2-3 ATS (1-1 on road) and 5-0 “over/under” (2-0 on road). New York is 1-5 ATS (0-2 at home) and 4-2 over/under (2-0 at home). The Vikings are 4-1 ATS in their past five after an ATS loss. They are 0-5 ATS in their past five Monday games. New York is 4-1 ATS in its past five home games against teams with a losing record. It is 0-4 ATS in its past four after an ATS win. The over is 7-1 in Minnesota's past eight Monday night games. The under is 12-1 in the Giants' past 13 following an ATS win. The road team is 7-1 ATS in the past eight meetings. Bovada also has a prop on Freeman's totals in the game: 235.5 passing yards, 1.5 TD passes and .5 interceptions.
Monday Night Football Predictions: Vikings at Giants Monday Night Football Betting Picks
I totally remember the last time these teams met. It was supposed to be at the Metrodome on Dec. 12, 2010, but the roof caved in partially in, so the game was moved to Detroit on Monday night. It wasn't a memorable game other than the fact that Brett Favre's record consecutive starts streak came to an end.
I'd probably hold off and hope this line drops to three, but I'd take New York regardless to end its two-game MNF losing streak. Take the over because there probably will be at least one defensive touchdown off a pick. As for Freeman, I'd go over on all because he clearly will have time to throw against a terrible pass rush.
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