Rams vs. Vikings Odds, Picks, Predictions: No Dalvin Cook Still Leaves Betting Value On Over/Under On Sunday
Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Rams QB Matthew Stafford
- Dalvin Cook (COVID) is out, but there should still be plenty of opportunities for points on Sunday.
- Our expert makes his predictions and picks for the over/under based on Rams-Vikings odds for Week 16.
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
After a Monday night victory over the Bears, the Vikings remain in the hunt for the NFC’s seventh and final playoff spot. They’re also competing with the Saints and Eagles, as all three teams have identical records at 7-7.
However, Minnesota has the most challenging remaining schedule out of the group. This week, the Vikings will host the 10-4 Rams, who will be on short rest after a rare Tuesday NFL game. And with the Vikings also on short rest after playing on Monday night, I suspect that both defenses could be vulnerable heading into Week 16.
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Rams vs. Vikings Injury Report
Rams vs. Vikings Matchup
|Rams Offense||DVOA Rank||Vikings Defense|
|Rams Defense||DVOA Rank||Vikings Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Rams Have Edge In Pass Game
A three-loss streak in November led to criticism of the Rams. However, a closer look reveals that this team is still ranked top-five in scoring, with 27.6 points per game. In fact, in their nine games outside the division, the Rams are averaging 31.1 points per contest.
I don’t think it’s any surprise that the Rams have put up more points in this spot. It’s certainly plausible that a lack of familiarity between two non-divisional teams can lead to more scoring in the games.
Even when the Rams struggle to score points, it’s not for lack of trying. Los Angeles is constantly trying to push the ball down the field. According to Pro-Football-Reference, Matthew Stafford ranks sixth with 8.6 intended air yards per attempt. Moreover, Sharp Football Stats has the Rams tied for first in the league with an explosive pass play rate of 11%.
If you’re going to put together a strategy to defeat the Vikings, attacking their secondary is a good place to start. Los Angeles should be able to get behind this Minnesota defense that’s 25th in defending against explosive pass plays.
As for the Vikings, they’ll also need to figure out how to get behind the Rams’ defense.
If you look at the Rams’ DVOA rank against the run, they’ve had plenty of success thwarting the rushing attack of opponents, so don’t be surprised if the Vikings completely abandons the run. After all, they’ll be without a critical piece of their offense with star running back Dalvin Cook expected out for 10 days after being placed on the COVID list Thursday.
Vikings Offense without Dalvin Cook
Although it’ll be tough for the Vikings to replace Cook, who is third in the league with 1,067 rushing yards, backup Alexander Mattison has already served as the feature running back on three occasions this season due to injuries.
Mattison averaged 105 rushing yards per game as the starter, but he’s also averaging fewer yards (3.7) per carry than Cook (4.7). In the three games Mattison started, two were against the Lions, and another was against the Seahawks. However, neither team poses the same venom offensively as the Rams.
Detroit has a -0.9 net yards per play margin while Seattle is even at 0.0. As for Los Angeles, it has a +0.9 net yards per play margin. That means if you’re comparing all three teams, Los Angeles gains at least an additional yard per play each time it snaps the ball.
If we dig into Minnesota’s defensive numbers, TeamRankings lists the Vikings 26th in allowing opponents 7.1 passing yards per attempt and 29th in allowing 252.1 passing yards per game. Inside the red zone, they’re 22nd in allowing opponents to score touchdowns on 62.22% of their trips.
Who can forget this red zone debacle that led to the Lions’ first win of the season in Week 13?
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) December 5, 2021
To sum things up, this matchup could be the perfect storm that leads to plenty of points on Sunday.
Rams vs. Vikings Predictions
So far we’ve reviewed some of the Rams’ scoring numbers in non-divisional games this season. Now let’s expand the scope of that research to include how they’ve performed on the road inside a dome.
The Rams have been in this spot three times this season, and two games were outside the division. It’s worth noting that the total cashed in all three instances.
There’s also something to be said about the Rams playing on short rest after coming off a Tuesday game against the Seahawks. According to our Action Labs database, the total is 6-2 (+3.66 units) to the over when you have a visiting team that has just five days in between games.
Lastly, the early start time for this game will allow for more scoring. With kickoff slated for 1 p.m. ET, it’ll feel like a 10 a.m. PT start time for the Rams. Since the 2019 season, the total is 20-8-1 (+11.15 units) to the over when the Vikings play at 1 p.m. ET.
Moreover, the over has cashed in each of the last four games in this spot.
DraftKings is still hanging a total of 48 for the game, which is worth a look before it gets to 49.
Pick: Over 48 | Bet to: 49
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