Sunday NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Lions vs. Vikings Betting Preview for Week 5
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images. Pictured: Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff.
- The Vikings are a big favorite over the lowly Lions in NFL Week 5 action on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, FOX).
- The Lions have yet to win a game, but have covered twice — both times as home underdogs of more than a touchdown. Now Detroit finds itself as another big dog, but this time in Minnesota for an NFC North matchup..
- Find full Lions vs. Vikings odds and a pick below, complete with our analyst's preview for this Week 5 NFL matchup.
Lions vs. Vikings Odds
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
After losing four consecutive games to start the NFL season, the Detroit Lions will head to U.S. Bank Stadium to face the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
Last week, the Lions (0-4) scored two second-half touchdowns to make the game competitive, but ultimately fell short in a 24-14 loss at Chicago. Meanwhile, the Vikings (1-3) were unable to get things moving offensively in a 14-7 loss to the Cleveland Browns last time out.
Despite having not recorded a victory this season, should we expect the Lions to keep this close and cover this relatively large 10-point spread in Week 5?
Lions Face Injury Questions on Offense
D’Andre Swift (groin) is questionable to play after being a limited participant in practice throughout the week, but he is expected to play. T.J. Hockenson (knee) is also questionable and appears to be a game-time decision with limited participation in practice.
Despite having yet to put one in the win column, quarterback Jared Goff has been doing his part on offense. Through four games, he’s completed 68.3% of his passes for 1,100 yards, seven touchdowns and just two interceptions. In fact, this team has been relatively competitive in most games, with all but one game being decided by 10 points or less.
Unfortunately for Goff, none of his receiving options have a sizable advantage in their primary matchups. Hockenson has the best individual matchup, but that’s just a 12% advantage against his primary defenders, according to PFF’s WR/CB Matchup tool.
Given the above, it’s likely we see head coach Dan Campbell try to lean on Swift and the running game in this one if the game script allows.
Vikings Receivers Poised for Big Games
Dalvin Cook (ankle) is questionable to play and appears to be a true game-time decision after not practicing all week. Backup Alexander Mattison would fill in if Cook is out again.
Despite an unfortunate 1-3 record, quarterback Kirk Cousins and the Vikings offense has looked relatively good in the first four weeks of the season. Cousins has completed 68.8% of his passes for 1,121 yards and an incredible 9-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Cousins’ top receiving options — Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen — have also done their part, combining for 565 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Second-year receiver K.J. Osborn has been a nice surprise, adding 219 receiving yards and a touchdown of his own this season.
This week, the Vikings’ matchup couldn’t be any better. Minnesota will go up against a Detroit defense that ranks 31st among all teams with a 20.8% Total DVOA (per Football Outsiders) and 30th with a 36.5% Pass DVOA thus far.
Jefferson and Thielen both project to have substantial matchup advantages against their primary defenders, as well. In fact, Jefferson has the top edge among all players in Week 5 with a 99.9% matchup advantage, while Thielen ranks third with an 88.8 advantage in his matchups.
If healthy, Cook looks to also be in line for a big day against a Lions run defense that currently ranks 30th with a 5.1% Rush DVOA on the season. Mattison filled in well for Cook two weeks ago, compiling 171 total scrimmage yards, so the running game should be in good shape either way.
While the Lions have yet to win a game this season, they’re better than their record indicates. They’ve been forced to run the gauntlet so far with early season matchups against the Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens, who are four of the better teams in the NFL.
Detroit kept three of those four games to a single-digit margin, with an 18-point loss at Lambeau Field serving as the lone blowout loss. In fact, the Lions lost by just two points to a Ravens team last week that still projects as one of the best in the AFC.
At -10, this spread is far too wide in favor of the Vikings. While their offense has been very good thus far, they’ve also failed to finish games.
If that trend continues, Goff and company will have plenty of opportunities to keep this close. The Lions’ numbers are much better than their record indicates, and they’ve been just a couple of big plays short of securing a win against some of the top teams in the league.
I’m taking the Lions +10 as my top pick for this game. While I don’t expect the line to shift to this extent, I would be comfortable taking it as low as +7.5 if it were to move prior to kickoff.
Pick: Lions +10 | Play to +7.5