Lions-Vikings Betting Preview: Keep an Eye on Key Injuries
USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Matt Stafford (9), Kirk Cousins (8).
Betting odds: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
- Spread: Vikings -5
- Over/Under: 49
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV 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: This game is a clear pros vs. Joes showdown. More than 70% of bets are on the Vikings, but the line has moved from Minnesota -5.5 to -4.5 since opening (check updated lines here).
There have been three separate reverse line moves on the Lions tracked on by our Sports Insights software, which helps indicate what number the sharps are hitting at which book.
The most notable was a reverse line move triggered on the Lions at +5.5 at Pinnacle on Tuesday. — Mark Gallant
Trends to know: Matthew Stafford and the Lions have a huge opportunity to gain ground on the 4-3-1 Vikings on the road in Minnesota this week. According to our Bet Labs data, Stafford is 8-18 straight up and 10-15-1 against the spread as a starter when facing a divisional opponent who is over .500.
The key to the trend is that Stafford began his career 0-13 SU and 2-10-1 ATS in this spot (2009-12) and is since 8-5 SU and ATS (+2.8 units) in this spot, the most profitable quarterback in the NFC North in this span. — Evan Abrams
The Lions lost to the Seahawks 28-14 last week. Stafford is 14-7 ATS (+6.2 units) in his career the game after the Lions scored 14 points or fewer in a loss. — Abrams
Which team is healthier? Lions
The Lions are hopeful that running back Theo Riddick (knee) can return Sunday after he managed to get in limited practices on Wednesday and Thursday.
Left tackle Taylor Decker (back) and guard T.J. Lang (hip) aren’t thought to be dealing with serious injuries, but defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (shoulder) doesn’t seem to be any closer to a return.
Things aren’t nearly as peachy for the Vikings, with left guard Tom Compton (knee), linebacker Anthony Barr (hamstring), running back Dalvin Cook (hamstring) and cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle) all banged up.
Stefon Diggs (rib) said he “absolutely” expects to suit up Sunday, despite not practicing on Wednesday or Thursday.
Biggest mismatch: Stafford vs. Vikings defense
Since 2014, under the guidance of quarterbacks coach and now offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, Stafford has averaged 276.4 yards and 1.75 touchdowns passing per game — if his eight games against the Vikings are excluded.
With defensive-minded head coach Mike Zimmer, the Vikings have held Stafford to 220.8 yards and 1.38 touchdowns per game during that time frame.
On top of that, Zimmer’s team has been tough on visiting quarterbacks, holding them to a league-low 203.2 yards passing per game.
Especially with the recent trade of No. 1 wide receiver Golden Tate, a trip to Minnesota isn’t likely to be good for Stafford.
But he might be catching the Vikings at a good time as they could be without three key defenders in the secondary and linebacker corps. If they miss Week 9, Stafford could have a lot of success throwing to wide receivers Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay. — Matthew Freedman
Bet to watch: Vikings -5
It made sense for this line to come down from its open of Minnesota -7 given some of its question marks early in the week, but Xavier Rhodes and Andrew Sendejo are on track to return.
Despite spending most of the year without Everson Griffen and inexcusably failing to show up against the Bills at home, the Vikings’ point differential is 2.2 points per game better than the Lions’ differential.
Minnesota’s other two losses came against the Rams and Saints, while Detroit has dropped games to the Jets, 49ers, and Cowboys.
Our NFL power ratings suggested this is the best value on the board at -4, which is where I bet it, and that there’s still value at -5, as well. — Chris Raybon
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.