Bills-Vikings Betting Preview: How to Handle This Massive Point Spread


Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kirk Cousins

Sep 21, 2018, 04:00 AM EDT

Betting odds: Buffalo Bills at Minnesota Vikings

  • Spread: Vikings -16.5
  • Over/Under: 40.5
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: CBS

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

Betting market: Bettors aren’t shying away from the biggest line on Sunday’s slate, as the Vikings have picked up 69% of bets and 76% of dollars to move from -16 to -16.5 at the time of writing (see live odds here). Danny Donahue

Trends to know: This will be only the sixth time since 2003 that we see an underdog of 14 or more points in the month of September. According to our Bet Labs data, the previous five have gone 1-3-1 against the spread, losing by an average of 21.6 points per game. Stuckey

Injury watch: LeSean McCoy (ribs) is yet to practice in full and might not be ready to handle a featured workload for the Bills even if he suits up.

The offense should at least have No. 1 wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (hip), but the defense could be without cornerbacks Taron Johnson (shoulder) and Phillip Gaines (elbow), along with defensive end Shaq Lawson (hamstring).

Vikings starting center Pat Elflein (shoulder, ankle) should make his season debut, and the offensive line is tentatively expected to also have right tackle Rashod Hill (foot).

The bad news is that featured back Dalvin Cook (hamstring) and key pass-rusher Everson Griffen (knee) have been sidelined all week.

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: Per the FantasyLabs Trends Tool, quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers have posted +0.4, +0.6 and +1.2 Plus/Minus values, respectively, when favored by at least two touchdowns since 2014.

Still, Cook being limited could certainly lead to a reduced workload in what doesn’t figure to be the Vikings’ most-competitive game of 2018.

This could mean plenty of work for wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, who have soaked up a respective 30% and 23% of Kirk Cousins’ target share through two weeks.

Thielen boasts the best matchup of the pair in the slot against Rafael Bush, Pro Football Focus’ 12th-worst graded cornerback of 103 qualified players. Hartitz

Bet to watch: Vikings -10 1H

Despite having the Bills rated as the worst team in the league heading into the season, I recommended to buy low on Buffalo last week.

I did not expect things to go south so quickly in Orchard Park. Not only did the Bills lose a starting corner to injury in the first half, they had another retire from football at halftime.


With Gaines and Johnson sidelined with injuries, the Bills are down to one viable corner: Tre’Davious White, who could be lining up with Lafayette Pitts (a journeyman special teams player) and Ryan Lewis (who was just signed off the practice squad).

That spells doom against one of the deadliest receiving corps in the NFL.

I also don’t trust Josh Allen, a very pedestrian group of receivers and a bad offensive line on the road against one of the league’s best defenses.

Add in McCoy’s injury and the dominant Minnesota interior, and I’m not sure how the Bills even move the ball.

The only reason I prefer the first half is because the Vikings might play it super conservative in the second half, especially with a huge prime-time game against the Rams looming on Thursday.

In addition to Vikings 1H, I’d also look at the full game Over and Bills Team Total Under. Stuckey


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.

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