Vikings vs. 49ers Picks with Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
In this writer's opinion, the best three days of the 2019-20 football season begin on Saturday with an NFC Divisional Round game as the sixth-seeded Minnesota Vikings visit the top-seeded San Francisco 49ers with a 4:35 p.m. ET kickoff. Why do I think these are the best three days of football? It's the last weekend in the NFL where there are games on both Saturday and Sunday, and then Monday night is of course the National Championship Game between Clemson and LSU .
How important is it for the four teams that got a bye in the first round? The past six Super Bowl winners also had one. It's the first time the 49ers are the NFC's top seed since the 1997 season when they lost in the NFC Championship Game to the Green Bay Packers. In four of their five Super Bowl wins (1981, '84, '88 and '94), the Niners were the top seed. It's the first time San Francisco is the NFC West champion since 2012 under Jim Harbaugh. That 49ers club lost the Super Bowl to Harbaugh's brother John and the Baltimore Ravens.
If you saw this massive jump from the Niners coming, kudos to you. They were supposed to be a Wild-Card contender in 2018 because they finished the 2017 regular season winning their final five games under new starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. However, he went down in Week 3 of 2018 in Kansas City with a season-ending injury and the Niners sank to 4-12. Entering 2019, the Niners had a win total of 8 at the various sportsbooks.
Sometimes to take a step forward, a franchise has to take a step back. That 4-12 mark earned San Francisco the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and the Niners took Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa. He has been a game-changer on that side of the ball and probably will win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year just like brother Joey did in 2016 with the Chargers. While Jimmy G has had a good season, the defense is the biggest reason this team is where it is.
Obviously not much playoff experience on this roster, but head coach Kyle Shanahan has some. He was the offensive coordinator of the 2016 Atlanta Falcons team that reached the Super Bowl and should have won it, blowing a 28-3 third-quarter lead to the Patriots. Hopefully for the sake of Niners backers, Shanahan has learned to run the ball and chew clock with a big playoff lead because that cost the Falcons their first title.
Minnesota is +550 to win the NFC and +1400 for the first Super Bowl title in franchise history. San Francisco is +100 and +350, respectively.
Vikings at 49ers Betting Story Lines
The Vikings were the biggest upset winners of a wild Wild-Card Weekend - we recommended taking Minnesota at +8 but didn't think it would actually win - with a 26-20 victory at cursed New Orleans. Did Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph commit offensive pass interference on the winning touchdown catch? Sure looked like it. Was there any chance the video guys in New York were actually going to overrule the no-call on the field? Zero. Why that PI rule was even put into existence this year is a mystery because it's never changed on replay.
Kirk Cousins doesn't have a reputation as a big-game guy but played well, completing 19 of 31 for 242 yards and that touchdown. Cousins had been 2-10 as a starting QB in his career against teams that made the playoffs and 3-11-1 vs. teams that entered the game with a winning record.
Dalvin Cook returned from a two-game injury absence and rushed 28 times for 94 yards and two scores. Adam Thielen caught seven balls for 129 yards. Minnesota deserved to win - it outgained the Saints by nearly 50 yards and forced one more turnover while possessing the ball for nearly 37 minutes. Guess those rumors of the Vikings firing Coach Mike Zimmer and him going to Dallas can be put to rest now that Minnesota won and Mike McCarthy was hired by Jerry Jones.
It was the third time a Vikings-Saints playoff game was decided on the final play, and all three of those games have come in the previous three meetings (2019, 2017 & 2009). Will it be the last NFL game for Drew Brees? We will have to wait and see.
The 49ers should be about as healthy as possible with the week off. Their past five games have all been decided by seven points or fewer, with San Francisco winning three of those. This is the first playoff start for Jimmy Garoppolo and first-ever 49ers playoff game at Levi's Stadium.
Vikings at 49ers Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes, San Francisco is a 7-point favorite (+110) with a total of 45. On the moneyline, the 49ers are -280 and Vikings +240. On some alternate lines, the Niners are -7.5 (+130), -6.5 (-110), -3.5 (-150), -3 (-197) and -2.5 (-233). The Vikings are 5-4 against the spread on the road and 5-4 "over/under." The 49ers are 3-4-1 ATS at home and 5-3 ATS O/U.
Minnesota is 5-2 ATS in its past seven Saturday games. It is 5-14 ATS in its previous 19 vs. teams with a winning record. San Francisco is 6-2 ATS in its past eight on Saturday. It is 6-19-1 ATS in its previous 26 as a favorite. The under is 16-7 in the Vikings' past 23 as dogs. The over is 6-1-1 in the Niners' past eight as favorites. The home team is 5-2 ATS in the past seven meetings. The under is 6-1 in those.
Vikings at 49ers Betting Prediction
These teams last played in Week 1 of 2018 at U.S. Bank Stadium with the Vikings prevailing 24-16. That was Cousins' Minnesota debut and he threw for 244 yards and two scores. Jimmy G wasn't great, completing just 15 of 33 with three picks.
Minnesota, however, has lost nine of its past 10 at the 49ers. In addition, No. 6 seeds have lost eight consecutive games in the Divisional Round. I like the Niners by a field goal, 26-23. I'll take the 7.5-point alternate line to be safe and go over the total.
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