Monday Night Football Predictions: New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings Odds
by Alan Matthews - 9/29/2016
Remember last year there was a long stretch of "Monday Night Football" games that had terrific endings? It seemed we saw something new and dramatic every week on the ESPN telecast.
This season through three weeks? A total dud so far. Every game has been decided by at least 13 points, which was the score of last Monday's 45-32 win in New Orleans, one of the lowest-rated MNF games ever because it was opposite the presidential candidates' debate. Unfortunately, I backed New Orleans as I thought the winless Saints would play desperate and with extra energy on the 10-year anniversary of the team's first game back Superdome re-opening after Hurricane Katrina. But they are simply pitiful on defense.
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The good news is this week's game between the Giants and Vikings in Minnesota's new stadium should be very competitive and could be a playoff preview. I believe at worst the Vikings (3-0) are a wild-card team, and right now they look like the class of the NFC even after losing QB Teddy Bridgewater, running back Adrian Peterson and left tackle Matt Kalil to season-ending injuries. The Vikes are still +120 second-favorites at BetOnline to win the NFC North behind Green Bay (-140).
I still think the Giants (2-1) will win the NFC East even though they are a game behind the surprising Eagles. New York should be unbeaten and could have all but ended defending division champion Washington's season last week. New York is +250 to win the East, behind Philly (+140).
Giants at Vikings Betting Story Lines
New York would have been in really good shape in the East with two division wins already if the Giants hadn't kicked away last week's 29-27 home loss to Washington. I thought that game was over when the G-Men led 21-9 late in the second quarter. But they didn't get to the end zone again. Eli Manning had a chance to drive his team to a game-winning field goal attempt when the Giants got the ball with about 1:45 left in the game, but he threw a terrible ball on the first play and was picked off. New York drove up and down the field all day with 28 first downs and 457 yards but was just 2-for-5 in the red zone, had three turnovers and 11 penalties.
The Giants lost running back Shane Vereen to a likely season-ending triceps injury in the game. He had rushed for 147 yards and a TD and caught eight passes this season. He started vs. Washington because Rashad Jennings was out with a thumb injury. Not clear if he will return Monday. Orleans Darkwa was no doubt a popular pickup in fantasy leagues this week as he could be the featured back if Jennings remains sidelined. New York also lost cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and 2016 first-round pick Eli Apple to injuries. Not looking good for them this week.
How are the Vikings not the betting favorites to win the NFC right now? They already have beaten top contenders Green Bay and Carolina yet are +550, behind Seattle (+450), which has looked really shaky thus far, and Arizona (+500), which has two losses. If there's a better NFC defense than Minnesota's I don't know where that is. The Vikings had three interceptions of Cam Newton and sacked him eight times -- with a safety -- in Sunday's 22-10 domination at Carolina. Minnesota leads the NFL with 15 sacks through three games and with a plus-eight turnover margin.
The Vikings aren't that pretty to watch offensively, but Coach Mike Zimmer simply wants that unit to not make mistakes and it didn't vs. the Panthers. Sam Bradford completed 18 of 28 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown and hasn't been picked off yet. Jerick McKinnon was the primary runner with Peterson out and had 16 carries for 45 yards.
These teams played outdoors at the University of Minnesota in Week 16 last year and the Vikings rolled 49-17 to clinch a playoff spot and set up a winner-take-all game for the NFC North in Week 17 in Green Bay, which the Vikings won. Keep in mind that the Giants had zero motivation to play as they were eliminated from the playoffs the night before. Plus, Odell Beckham Jr. was out suspended.
Giants at Vikings Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , Minnesota is a 5-point favorite (-110) with a total of 43.5. On the moneyline, the Vikings are -235 and the Giants +195. On the alternate lines, the Vikings are -5.5 (-105) and -4.5 (-115). New York is 1-2 against the spread (1-0 on road) and 1-2 "over/under" (0-1 on road). Minnesota is 3-0 ATS (1-0 at home) and 1-2 O/U (0-1 at home).
The Giants are 2-5 ATS in their past seven on Monday. The Vikings are 4-0 ATS in their past four vs. teams with a winning record. They are 7-0 ATS in their past seven vs. teams with a winning road record. Minnesota has failed to cover seven straight on Monday. The over is 5-2 in the Giants' past seven overall. The under is 11-1 in the Vikings' past 12 vs. teams with a winning record. The favorite has covered the past four in the series.
Giants at Vikings Betting Prediction
The Vikings have won six consecutive regular-season games for the first time since 2009, and I say they make it seven on Monday even though the Giants are clearly more explosive offensively. But Minnesota's pass-rush could have a field day vs. that New York offensive line. Plus Manning is 2-5 as a starter against the Vikings with only five TDs and 14 picks in those games. Give the points, go under the total.
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