The 7-2 Minnesota Vikings are in the middle of the most impressive run in the entire NFL this season, and we've hardly heard a word about it. The sports media can keep on talking about the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers, but I'll take the ATS juggernaut Vikings any day. Minnesota has covered eight straight games since dropping its Week 1 matchup to the San Francisco 49ers as a 2.5-point favorite, and the team may just win the NFC North if the last half of the season is anything like the first.
The Vikings will have a chance to put a stranglehold on their division and show the NFL fans that they are in fact "for real" with next week's matchup against the free-falling Packers. Green Bay may not be as good as most pundits expected them to be, but a win over Aaron Rodgers and company is still an impressive feat nonetheless. Let's take a closer look at the Vikings and figure out where and why they are succeeding against the spread.
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Home ATS Record : 4-0
Covers : vs Detroit, San Diego, Kansas City, St. Louis
Average spread : -2.5 points
Margin of victory : +9.0
Minnesota, including this weekend's home matchup against the Packers, has been favored in all five of its games in US Bank Stadium this season, which is surprising for a team that has never been the darling of the sports betting word. The Vikings are winning home games by an average of nine points, and they are being carried by another stellar year from Adrian Peterson and second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The trouble for the team, however, is the four remaining home games on the schedule where Minnesota will host Green Bay, Seattle, the suddenly-impressive Chicago Bears, and the always-game New York Giants.
Road ATS Record : 4-1
Covers : at Denver, Detroit, Chicago, Oakland
Loss : San Francisco,
Average spread : +0.5
Margin of victory : +1.6
Outside of Minnesota's Week 1 road loss to San Francisco, the team has been spectacular on the road, and it continues to cover spreads with relative ease. The Vikings have been favored in three of their five road matchups this season and were installed as a large underdog only once, against Denver as a seven-point dog. The final three road games of the year, however, could be very different as Minnesota will head into Atlanta during Week 12, into Arizona during Week 14 and into Green Bay to close out the season. Expect Minnesota to be an underdog in at least two of those matchups.
Favorite: 5-1 ATS
Covers : Detroit, San Diego, Kansas City, Chicago, St. Louis
Loss : San Francisco
Average spread : -2.0
Margin of victory : +3.7
Minnesota has excelled as an underdog for the last few seasons, but few NFL experts believed the Vikings would be a powerhouse as a favorite. Peterson was supposed to be washed up, Bridgewater too young, and the defense was supposed to be missing any real talent. The oddsmakers, and the betting sharps, seem to be firmly on Minnesota's side as a favorite. When this week's line against the Packers opened as a pick'em at most sites, the sharps immediately bet it and moved the spread in Minnesota's direction. With seven games left in the year, the Vikings seem to have three or four spots left where they will be favored. And with Peterson on pace to improve on his MVP season from 2012, expecting them to cover might be the correct play.
Underdog 3-0 ATS
Covers : Denver, Detroit, Oakland
Average spread : +3.6
Margin of victory : +7.3
The Vikings have received a bit of respect from the oddsmakers thus far, and that trend will probably continue for the remained of the season. Expect Minnesota to be an underdog versus Arizona and Green Bay (during Week 17) and maybe even Seattle in Week 13. Outside of that, there will be few chances to grab the Vikings plus points. During the team's three games as a dog, it has averaged 26 points per matchup and stood within three points against a then-undefeated Denver squad. Minnesota is still being underrated in nearly every single category, so do not hesitate to throw down a bet on the team over the next few weeks.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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