Vikings vs. Saints Picks with Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
Did you know that just one Wild-Card team this decade has reached the Super Bowl? That was the Green Bay Packers in 2010 season and they would win their only visit under Aaron Rodgers, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers.
I frankly only give one Wild-Card team a shot to get there this year, and no offense to Buffalo and Tennessee in the AFC and Seattle in the NFC , but that's the NFC No. 6 Minnesota Vikings. They have a Super Bowl-caliber defense. And while I'm not all that confident in Kirk Cousins winning three road games, a return to health of star running back Dalvin Cook can only help matters. Do I think the Vikings even win on Sunday in the early game at No. 3 New Orleans? I don't, but just from a talent standpoint this is the best roster among Wild-Card teams.
As for the Saints, wow, is any team unluckier than they are? Following the 2017 season, it looked as if they had an upset win in the Divisional Round at Minnesota sewn up, only to lose on the "Minneapolis Miracle" as time expired. After last regular season, the Saints would have won the NFC title game over the visiting Los Angeles Rams if the referees hadn't missed the most blatant defensive pass interference in league history. The Rams were the beneficiaries of that call - now teams can challenge PI or the lack of a penalty because the NFL was so embarrassed - and won in overtime.
Then this year, the Saints tied for the NFC's best record at 13-3 yet don't even get a first-round bye. New Orleans has now finished as the No. 3 seed twice in the past nine years despite a 13-3 record. That has only happened to one other team since the NFL expanded to its current 12-team playoff format.
The window is definitely closing on a second Super Bowl title for the greatest regular-season QB in league history, Drew Brees. He'll be 41 on Jan. 15 and this could be his last season. Brees seems the type who would like to walk away on top like John Elway did. The Saints would never force Brees out as he's the most popular athlete in New Orleans history but might want to turn the franchise over to Teddy Bridgewater, who is set for free agency again and is only 27.
The Saints are +250 to win the NFC title and +600 to win the Super Bowl, with Minnesota +1400 in the NFC and +3300 to win the franchise's first Super Bowl.
Vikings at Saints Betting Story Lines
Very different motivations for these clubs in Week 17. Minnesota was locked into the sixth seed regardless of what happened at home against Chicago, so Coach Mike Zimmer rested nearly everyone of note and the Bears won 21-19 on a last-second field goal. Sean Mannion showed why he is a career backup in throwing for just 126 yards and two picks. Mike Boone had a career day with 148 yards and a score.
Cousins had a fine season and justified that big contract in completing 69.1 percent of his passes for 3,603 yards, 26 touchdowns and just six picks in his 15 games. His passer rating of 107.4 was a career high and ranked fourth in the NFL. This will be Cousins' second career playoff start. With the Redskins, he lost following the 2015 season to the Packers.
Cook has missed the past two games with a shoulder injury but says he's ready to go. He was the NFL's best running back the first half of the season before tailing off a bit partly due to injuries. Cook still finished with 1,135 yards and 13 touchdowns in 14 games. Cook and rookie Alexander Mattison helped the Vikings finish the season ranked sixth in the league with 133.3 rushing yards per game.
The Saints still had a shot at a first-round bye entering Week 17 so they played all their healthy guys at Carolina and trashed the Panthers 42-10 to win for the sixth time in seven games. Brees threw for 253 yards and three scores and led the NFL with a completion percentage of 74.3, just shy of the league record he set in 2018. Alvin Kamara had a disappointing fantasy season but scored twice in that game and has been better of late. Michael Thomas was quiet with four catches for 37 yards but set the NFL single-season record with 149 receptions while also leading the NFL in receiving yards (1,725).
New Orleans is without two of its key defenders the rest of the season in linemen Sheldon Rankins and Marcus Davenport, both former first-round picks who are on injured reserve. They are also banged up in the secondary. The offense is going to have to be really good to reach the Super Bowl.
Vikings at Saints Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes, New Orleans is a 9-point favorite (+100) with a total of 48.5. On the moneyline, the Saints are -390 and Vikings +320. On the alternate lines, New Orleans is -8.5 (-105), -8 (-110) and -7.5 (-115). The Vikings are 4-4 against the spread on the road and 5-3 "over/under." The Saints are 4-4 ATS at home and 4-4 O/U.
Minnesota is 2-5 ATS in its past seven playoff road games. It is 4-14 ATS in its past 18 vs. teams with a winning record. New Orleans is 8-3 ATS in its past 11 after a win. The Saints are 0-4 ATS in their past four as playoff favorites. The over is 6-2 in the Vikings' previous eight overall. It's 6-2 in the Saints past eight home playoff games. The favorite is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings. The over is 8-3 in the previous 11.
Vikings at Saints Betting Prediction
The teams have played since the "Minneapolis Miracle" with the Saints winning 30-20 at Minnesota in Week 8 of the 2018 regular season. Brees threw for just 120 yards with a TD and a pick. Kamara scored twice and the Vikings had two key turnovers, one of them a pick returned for a touchdown.
I see something like a 27-24 Saints win, so take the 9 points and go over the total.
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