Saints-Vikings SNF Betting Preview: Will Brees & Co. Get Their Revenge?
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Kirk Cousins, Drew Brees
Betting odds: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings
- Spread: Pick’em
- Over/Under: 52
- Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
- TV channel: NBC
>> All odds as of Friday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets
Betting market: Early betting on the Saints brought them down to a pick ’em — and even -1 at a few books — after opening at – 1.5. The Vikings have picked up only 39% of bets as of writing (see live data here), but those have accounted for 50% of overall money.
As for the total, 76% of tickets and 87% of dollars are on the over, yet this number has actually fallen from its opener, moving from 53 to 52. — Danny Donahue
Trends to know: The Saints and Drew Brees are on an absolute roll. They’ve won five straight games straight up and four in a row against the spread.
When the Saints and Brees are rolling, it has been a good bet to jump on the train.
- On 3+ SU and ATS Win Streak: 14-7 ATS (+5.5 ATS diff)
- On 4+ SU and ATS Win Streak: 9-2 ATS (+11.1 ATS diff)
Although … playing under the prime-time lights has been a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde situation for Brees since he arrived in New Orleans:
- At Home: 18-7 ATS, +8.2 ATS diff
- On Road: 7-10-1 ATS, -0.4 ATS diff
Meanwhile, the public is fading the Vikings at home for the first time in 2018. But recent history suggests that maybe that isn’t the best idea.
Since 2012, Minnesota is 19-7-1 ATS (73.1%) at home when receiving less than the majority of the ticket count, profiting bettors 11.1 units.
When the Vikings’ opponent is coming off a win, Minnesota is 13-2 ATS (86.7%), covering the spread by 6.9 points per game. — Evan Abrams
Since Mike Zimmer arrived to Minnesota in 2014, he is 11-5 ATS (+5.4 units) at home against teams above .500. The only coach more profitable in that spot? Bill Belichick at 14-6-2 ATS (+7.4 units). — Abrams
No coach has been better ATS at home during the regular season over that span. Zimmer has gone an absurd 24-10-1 ATS (70.6%) for a staggering 35.7% return on investment.
A $100 bettor would be up $1,250 by simply backing Zimmer at home since 2014. The only other coach that has generated a profit of greater than half of that is Belichick, who comes in second at home since 2014 at 23-11-2 ATS (+$1151/32% ROI). — Stuckey
Biggest mismatch: Saints run defense vs. Vikings run game
It’s no secret that the Saints have their issues in pass defense — you know times are hard when you have to bring in Eli Apple. But they’ve stonewalled opposing run games all season.
The Saints’ No. 2 ranking in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA is the polar opposite of their No. 30 ranking against the pass. New Orleans ranks No. 1 in FO’s Adjusted Line Yards allowed per rush (3.79), as well.
Despite showing signs of life over the past two weeks, the Vikings still rank No. 29 in both rushing DVOA and Adjusted Line Yards.
When these two teams met in the playoffs in January, the Saints limited the Vikings to 95 yards on 29 carries (3.28 yards per carry), including holding Latavius Murray to 50 yards on 19 carries (2.63). — Chris Raybon
Metrics that matter: The Vikings are dead last in defending the pass against opposing running backs (per FO), which could prove disastrous against Alvin Kamara. — Stuckey
Which team is healthier? Saints
The Vikings are once again expected to be without Dalvin Cook (hamstring), but defensive end Everson Griffen (illness, not injury related) is at least nearing a return. Zimmer is optimistic about linebacker Anthony Barr (hamstring) and cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle), but both joined safety Anthony Sendejo (groin) and left guard Tom Compton (knee) on the sidelines at practice.
Left tackle Riley Reiff (foot) and defensive tackle Linval Joseph (ankle/knee/shoulder) are tentatively expected to suit up.
With some luck, the Saints shouldn’t have anybody listed on their injury report, although left guard Josh LeRibeus (ankle, IR) will miss at least the next eight weeks.
DFS edge: The Vikings didn’t ask Rhodes to travel with Michael Thomas in Week 1 of last season because the first-team All-Pro corner was hobbled with a hip injury.
Things changed during the teams’ 2017 divisional-round matchup, as Rhodes chased Thomas all over the field and ultimately played a season-high eight snaps in the slot. Thomas won the matchup with a sterling 7-85-2 line on 13 targets, but Rhodes made life difficult for Brees and the best receiver he has ever thrown to.
The Saints’ willingness to move Thomas all over the field to create mismatches makes him one of the league’s most matchup-proof receivers. Thomas is the highest-rated receiver in the FantasyLabs’ Levitan model. — Hartitz
Bet to watch: Saints PK
The Saints are one early-season FitzMagic game away from an undefeated 6-0 record.
New Orleans is second in the league with 34.0 points per game, and Brees is in peak form: He leads the league with an absurd 77.3% completion rate and is the only starter yet to throw an interception this season. He also has maybe the best supporting cast of his career.
The Saints are reasonably healthy. The defense is rounding into form. It’s already strong against the run, and it might improve against the pass with the addition of Apple.
The Vikings running game has been subpar this season. And if the defense without Rhodes, Sendejo and Barr, the Saints could put up a lot of points.
Adam Thielen is likely to produce in the slot, but if Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore is able to shut down wide receiver Stefon Diggs — and Lattimore is talented enough to do it — then the Vikings offense could struggle to keep up.
It seems as if the Vikings will need to play a near-perfect game to win.
The Saints were probably the better team last season in the playoffs (even though they lost to the Vikings). They’re probably the better team now. — Matthew Freedman
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.