Cardinals-Vikings Betting Preview: Value in Backing a Bad Team at a Big Number?

Cardinals-Vikings Betting Preview: Value in Backing a Bad Team at a Big Number? article feature image

USA Today Sports. Pictured: Patrick Peterson and Adam Thielen

Betting odds: Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings

  • Spread: Vikings -10
  • Over/Under: 43
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • Channel: FOX

>> All odds as of Friday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets

Betting market: The poor Vikings have to deal with the pressure of being a double-digit home favorite, something they failed to handle last go around.

At the time of writing, more than 60% of bettors have backed Minnesota. Despite this public support, the Vikings have gone from -10.5 to -10 at most books, suggesting some sharper action was on Arizona plus that hook (see live betting data here). —Mark Gallant

Trends to know: Bad teams have been good bets as big underdogs in the NFL. Since 2003, teams that have won fewer than 25% of their games, like the Cardinals, are 120-87-4 (58%) against the spread when getting 10 or more points, per our Bet Labs data. — John Ewing

Since the beginning of the 2014 season, the Vikings are the second-most profitable team at home with a 24-10 record ATS (+12.5 units).

The Vikings’ last home game prior to Sunday was their 27-6 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Since 2014, Minnesota is 8-1 ATS in its next home game after an ATS home loss. — Evan Abrams

Biggest mismatch: Adam Thielen vs. Arizona’s slot coverage

Thielen has been so much better than anyone else on both teams that he warrants top mismatch consideration on a weekly basis until further notice.

Budda Baker has been Arizona’s primary coverage defender in the slot, where Thielen runs 61% of his routes — and where Baker has allowed an 83% completion rate and 9.5 yards per target this season, according to Pro Football Focus.

The alternatives to Baker haven’t been any better, getting tagged for an 81% completion rate and two touchdowns on 27 slot targets. — Chris Raybon

Which team is healthier? Vikings

The Cardinals haven’t had any significant injuries pop up in recent weeks, but their offensive line remains thin with right tackle Andre Smith (hamstring), left tackle D.J. Humphries (knee) and left guard Mike Iupati (shoulder) routinely practicing in a limited fashion. Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) is once again expected to suit up.

The Vikings are expected to welcome back running back Dalvin Cook (hamstring), but it remains to be seen if he’ll be on a pitch count.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Dashboard for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge: The Cardinals’ new-look scheme hasn’t asked Patrick Peterson to shadow yet this season, and he has lined up in the slot on just four total snaps.

This means Thielen has a puncher’s chance at becoming the first wide receiver to ever start a season with six straight 100-plus-yard receiving games, while Stefon Diggs will have to spend at least some of his time across from one of the game’s best corners.

Unfortunately, the Cardinals have seemingly benched Jamar Taylor, PFF’s worst cornerback out of 111 qualified players this season. — Hartitz

Bet to watch: Under 43

It’s been four brutal weeks in a row for the Vikings, so a date with the Cardinals is just what the doctor ordered. Arizona has just one win and comes into this game averaging fewer than 14 points per game.

The Vikings’ defense hasn’t been great, allowing 15 receptions of 25-plus yards this season — third-most in the NFL — but it actually has done well against No. 1 wide receivers.

According to Football Outsiders, Minnesota ranks ranked 10th against the opposition’s top WR, which is a big plus against a team with a safety blanket like Fitzgerald.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, defend the deep ball very well. According to Football Outsiders, Arizona is first in the NFL at defending the deep pass (16+ yards downfield), which should limit some of Minnesota’s offensive explosiveness.

These two teams are a combined 7-3 to the under this season and I don’t see much reason to think that won’t continue on Sunday. — Abrams

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.