Bengals vs Vikings Prediction, Odds: Bet This NFL Side

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Bengals vs Vikings Prediction

Saturday, Dec 16
1:00pm ET
NFL Network
Bengals -3
Pick: Bengals -3 (-110; Play to -3.5)

My NFL pick to kick off a Saturday tripleheader is backing the home favorite in Cincinnati on Saturday afternoon. Bengals vs Vikings odds for NFL Week 15 have Minnesota listed as a 3-point underdog on the spread with a game total of 40.5.

This game surprisingly has playoff implications despite both teams losing star quarterbacks Kirk Cousins and Joe Burrow. Jake Browning has come out of nowhere to lead the Bengals to consecutive 34-point outbursts. Sitting at 7-6, the Bengals are on the outside looking in for the postseason. I believe they have a sizable advantage over Nick Mullens and Vikings in this Saturday NFL Week 15 game.

Let's preview this NFL Saturday game and get into my Bengals vs Vikings pick.

Bengals vs Vikings Odds

Saturday, Dec. 16
1 p.m. ET
NFL Network
Bengals Odds
-110o / -110u
Vikings Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

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Bengals vs Vikings Preview

Jake Browning has been able to keep Cincinnati’s season alive following Joe Burrow’s injury. The Bengals aren’t dead yet as Browning has been playing like one of the best signal-callers in the league. Since Browning’s first start in Week 12, the Bengals are ninth in EPA per play and 11th in success rate. Through the air, they rank seventh in EPA per dropback and third in dropback success rate.

Browning’s success over this time cannot be understated. While it is a small sample size of three games, Browning’s numbers would rank third in EPA per play and first in CPOE this season if he qualified. Looking at quarterbacks since Week 12, Browning leads the league in CPOE by a large amount while ranking second in both EPA per play and passing success rate.

After mustering just 10 points against the Steelers, the Bengals dropped 34 points in each of the last two weeks against the Jaguars and Colts. All three of these defenses rank in the top half of the league by EPA both overall and against the pass, so this hasn’t been a case of a soft schedule.

Minnesota’s defense, coming off a shutout of the Raiders, may pose the biggest threat yet, however. The Vikings rank fifth in EPA per play allowed and seventh in defensive success rate. Against the pass, they are fourth in dropback success rate allowed and sixth in EPA per dropback.

Brian Flores has dramatically improved Minnesota's defense in his first season, largely behind his aggressive blitzes. Minnesota blitzes 47.4% of the time, which is the highest mark in the league by a large margin. The next-closest team is the Giants at 41.6%. Despite sending all this pressure, the Vikings are 15th in pressure rate and 16th in sacks. They are 32nd in PFF pass-rushing grade, as well.

Bengals vs Vikings Picks at FanDuel

Bengals -3

Vikings +3

Make Bengals vs Vikings bets at bet365 with our bet365 bonus code.

Flores has to call all these blitzes because the defensive line hasn't been able to get home on their own. The reason they've been successful with this strategy so far is that they rank fourth in PFF coverage grade, which allows the extra blitzers more time to flush the quarterback from the pocket.

Browning has been getting the ball out of his hands extremely fast. According to PFF, 54.2% of his dropbacks have seen him release the ball in fewer than 2.5 seconds, which is the seventh-best mark among quarterbacks who've played 20% of snaps.

Since Kirk Cousins’ injury in Week 8, the Vikings have mostly played with Joshua Dobbs under center. Over this time period, they rank 24th in EPA per play and 17th in success rate. Through the air, they are 24th and 25th in these two categories as well.

Now, it's onto Mullens, who has shown some flashes of efficiency in the past when playing for Kyle Shanahan, but I don’t believe him to be anything special. If anything, this is likely a mistake by O’Connell as he could instead keep Dobbs and his rushing ability on the field or play rookie Jaren Hall to see what they have there.

Instead, they are rolling out a quarterback who likely has no future with the franchise beyond his current role.

Bengals vs Vikings Picks & Predictions

I'm taking the team with the better offense to win at home in a must-win game. In this tight AFC playoff race, Cincinnati needs a win.

I think that the Bengals' playmakers will be able to get open fast enough to give Browning a place to go with the ball. If this is the case, expect the Bengals to have a successful day on offense and maybe even some explosive plays if Minnesota’s coverage fails on the back end without extra help.

I will not be trusting Mullens to kickstart the Vikings offense. I believe they will falter on the road in a tough environment, leading to Cincinnati covering this spread. Right now you can get Cincinnati at -3, but I would take this up to -3.5.

Pick: Bengals -3 (-110; Bet to -3.5)
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