Vikings vs. Lions Odds, Predictions, Picks For NFL Week 13: How to Bet This Spread & Over/Under On Sunday
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Jefferson
- The Lions have covered three straight spreads, but our analyst forecasts that trend to stop against the Vikings.
- With key offensive weapons out for both teams, he breaks down the Vikings vs. Lions odds in order to make his predictions and picks.
- With the spread holding steady and the over/under still within his bet-able range, find out how he's betting both for this divisional matchup.
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via Gun Lake. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
The Lions are winners of three straight against the spread, continuing to outperform oddsmakers’ expectations despite their actual record remaining winless. They look to continue that streak on Sunday as seven-point home underdogs against the Vikings.
Both teams are playing without their star running backs in this one. That will be the key storyline as both teams rank in the bottom third of the league in Pass Rate Over Expectation — especially as of late for the Lions, who haven’t attempted more than 25 passes in a game since Dan Campbell took over play calling duties. Let’s take a deeper look to see how that will impact the betting angles in this matchup.
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Vikings vs. Lions Injury Report
- RB Dalvin Cook (shoulder): Out
- OT Christian Darrisaw (ankle): Out
- S Camryn Bynum (ankle): Out
- LB Anthony Barr (knee/hamstring): Questionable
- LB Eric Kendricks (ribs): Questionable
- CB Mackensie Alexander (ribs): Questionable
- RB D’Andre Swift (shoulder): Out
- CB Bobby Price (shoulder): Out
- LB Trey Flowers (knee): Out
- LB Jaylin Reeves-Maybin (shoulder): Out
- OT Penei Sewell (illness): Questionable
- OT Matt Nelson (ankle): Questionable
- DE Michael Brockers (knee): Questionable
Vikings vs. Lions Matchup
|Vikings Offense||DVOA Rank||Lions Defense|
|Vikings Defense||DVOA Rank||Lions Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Vikings Have Passing Upside
Despite their preference to be a run-first team, the Vikings actually feature one of the best passing attacks in the NFL from an efficiency standpoint. They rank second in DVOA, led by star receivers Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen.
They could conceivably switch (especially early) to a more pass-centric approach in this one. That would be advantageous against a Lions team that ranks 28th in DVOA against the pass and allows the most yards per pass attempt in the league.
The ground game will flow through Alexander Mattison this week. He’s performed admirably in brief stints as Dalvin Cook’s backup, including rushing for 113 yards with seven catches in the prior meeting with the Lions. He’s no Cook, as Mattison has fared worse on a per-touch basis both rushing and receiving this season. However, he doesn’t have to be Cook to be successful against the Lions defense.
Defensively, the Vikings feature a top-10 pass defense while struggling against the run. That’s a good thing (relatively speaking) under normal circumstances, but less so against Detroit. The Lions have been the league’s worst passing offense but are mediocre — and at times very solid — running the ball.
With that said, the loss of Swift for the week changes that calculus significantly, making Minnesota’s defensive struggles less glaring. It’s hard to see the Detroit running game sans Swift exploiting the weakness in the Vikings defense.
Lions Looking Bleak But Keep Covering
As we’ve touched on, the Lions offensive situation is fairly dire this week. In addition to being without Swift, starting tackle (and top draft pick) Penei Sewell is also injured, having missed practice entirely early in the week. He may play, but if he’s at less than full strength, that further limits the Lions ground game. Sewell is a top-15 tackle in Run Blocking Grade this year, according to PFF.
There’s not much more that needs to be said about the Lions’ passing game, which is awful by nearly every metric. Jared Goff has played poorly, ranking 30th in yards per passing attempt. Whether that’s his fault or caused by the Lions’ lack of weaponry is up for debate — but neither of those things will be better this week.
Defensively, the Lions are similarly awful against the pass. That’s a big, big problem against the Vikings’ talented wide receivers. One way to work around that is by getting to slow-footed Kirk Cousins, but unfortunately the Lions rank last in the league in Adjusted Sack Rate as well. The Vikings will be able to throw the ball as much as they want this week.
The Lions’ previous meeting with the Vikings yielded Mattison’s best game of the season, and it’s unlikely this game goes much differently. The path of least resistance against Detroit is through the air, but there’s not much more resistance on the ground. With multiple starting linebackers potentially missing for Detroit, it could be a long day for their rushing defense.
Vikings vs. Lions Predictions, Picks
With these two teams combining to average 41.3 points per game while combining to allow 51.4, the 46.5 total makes sense at first glance. However, I’ve noted in the past that second meetings between teams generally produce low scoring totals. On top of that, we have both teams missing (arguably) their most explosive offensive weapons this week, as well as key offensive linemen.
Their last meeting produced only 36 points, and that game featured a healthy Swift, and a more aggressive Lions offense. Since Campbell took over calling plays, they’ve played slower, more run-heavy football. Even if the Lions do decide to air it out, it’s unlikely they have much success given the strengths of the Vikings defense. DraftKings still has this total at 47, and I’m taking the under there (check real-time NFL odds here).
I’m also going to be on the Vikings spread this week. Betting on the Lions to cover has served me well as of late, but this is the week where that trend stops.
The loss of Swift is far more impactful to the Lions than Cook is to the Vikings. Besides his running ability, he’s second on the team in receiving yards on the season, leaving them with little behind T.J. Hockenson offensively. I’d love to get this line below the seven points it’s currently at, but the Vikings still cover here.
Pick: Under 47 | Bet to: 46.5
Pick: Vikings -7 | Bet to: -7
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