Redskins vs. Vikings Odds & Picks: Can Minnesota Cover This Massive Spread?

Redskins vs. Vikings Odds & Picks: Can Minnesota Cover This Massive Spread? article feature image

USA Today Sports. Pictured: Case Keenum, Kirk Cousins

  • The Minnesota Vikings host the Washington Redskins as double-digit favorites on Thursday Night Football.
  • Our experts break down the betting odds, analyze the matchup and make their spread picks.

Redskins at Vikings Odds & Picks

  • Odds: Vikings -16.5
  • Over/Under: 42
  • Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX, NFL Network

Odds as of Thursday morning and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).

Flashback to the 2017 NFL season, when Case Keenum was leading the Minnesota Vikings to an AFC Championship Game appearance and Kirk Cousins was wrapping his final season in Washington before hitting free agency.

Now the two have switched teams and will face off against one another on Thursday Night Football.

Our experts break down every angle of this matchup featuring analysis of the massive spread, a comparison to Sean Koerner’s projected odds, a staff pick and more.

Thursday Night Football Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Vikings

The Vikings ruled out Adam Thielen, which means they’ll run Stefon Diggs and Olabisi Johnson in 2-WR sets.

The Redskins will be without Chris Thompson (toe) again while Adrian Peterson is questionable with a high-ankle sprain, though he claims he’ll play. It also wouldn’t be a surprise to see CB Josh Norman (thigh/hand) sit out another game. Justin Bailey

Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.

Biggest Mismatch

Vikings Pass Offense vs. Redskins Pass Defense

The Redskins are exploitable across the roster, but they look especially vulnerable against the pass.

The Redskins are amazingly No. 1 in pass defense against opposing No. 1 wide receivers (per Football Outsiders’ DVOA), but if they’re without Norman, they’ll be at a significant disadvantage given their utter lack of corner depth — and “utter lack” is putting it kindly. They’re No. 32 in pass defense against No. 2 receivers and No. 28 against supplementary receivers.

If the primary strength of their pass defense is gone, all they’re left with is total weakness.

At a glance, No. 2 cornerback Quinton Dunbar looks like he’s having a good season: He has an elite 91.1 Pro Football Focus coverage grade, but that number is unrepresentative of his actual talent. He’s missed two games, so his grade is based on a small sample, which is skewed by expectedly strong performances against the offensively-challenged Giants and Dolphins, and then there was the rain game last week against the 49ers.

Quinton Dunbar
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Quinton Dunbar

In his remaining games — against the Eagles and Patriots — Dunbar has allowed a 70.6% catch rate, which is right in line with his 70.5% mark from last year. That’s who he is. He’s not the shutdown corner his PFF coverage grade would indicate. He’s a mediocre veteran.

As for slot corner Fabian Moreau and backup corner Jimmy Moreland, they’ve collectively allowed an 86.1% catch rate this year. They are decidedly below-average defenders.

It’s unfortunate for the Vikings that they’ll be without Thielen (hamstring). But as long as they have Diggs, they’ll be fine. He matches up well with all the Redskins corners.

And I expect the Vikings will use a lot of two-tight end sets to maximize the receiving edge they have with Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr., who should be able to beat safeties Landon Collins and Montae Nicholson and linebackers Jon Bostic and Cole Holcomb in individual matchups. Collectively, that pass-defending quartet has allowed a 76.8% catch rate this season.

Although the Vikings started the season with a run-heavy approach, over the past three weeks — after Thielen and Diggs complained about their target volume — they’ve thrown the ball more consistently and aggressively.

Cousins’ per-game splits are notable.

  • Weeks 1-4: 64.7% completion rate, 24.8 attempts, 183.8 yards, 0.75 touchdowns, 0.5 interceptions
  • Weeks 5-7: 75.6% completion rate, 30 attempts, 325.3 yards, 3.33 touchdowns, 0.33 interceptions

In the first month, the Vikings were No. 28 with a 38% passing success rate. Over the past three weeks, they are No. 1 with a 64% mark.

Facing a defense full of players he practiced against for years, Cousins could have one hell of a #RevengeGame against his former team. Matthew Freedman

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Vikings -15.5
  • Projected Total: 41.5

Besides the intriguing storyline for Cousins and Keenum, this matchup isn’t ideal for handicapping purposes.

A line as high as -16.5 comes down to how much effort each team will put in during the fourth quarter to either backdoor cover or prevent that, so I typically avoid spreads this big. However, with 61% of the action coming in on the Vikings as of writing (see live public betting data here), it’s likely that books need the Redskins to cover. So if your strategy is to be on the same side as the house, this would be a spot to back the dog.

The total has crept up from 41 to 42 with around 60% of the action on the over. I would say the line is about right, so it offers no value at the moment. It could also be affected by how each team handles garbage time in the fourth quarter, which can lead to the hair-pulling frustration I try to avoid.

Remember, we only want to take action we find a perceived edge on, and expected blowouts like this should really only be bet for entertainment purposes or if you find an in-game angle to exploit. Sean Koerner

PRO System Match

Cousins and Co. are making it look easy having won three in a row. The Vikings are 5-2 against the spread, covering by an average of 6.79 points.

Bettors believe Minnesota will continue its winning and, more importantly, covering ways with more than 60% of spread tickets backing the Vikings.

The team’s success on the field and at the ticket window has the attention of recreational bettors. But ATS records tend to regress to the mean over the course of a season as bookmakers adjust to team performance and public perception. As a result, it’s been profitable to bet against teams that have covered the spread by a big margin.

Following this Pro System, bettors have gone 310-239-16 (56.5%) ATS since 2005. A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $5,062 following this strategy.

The Vikings will likely win as big home favorites, but history suggests bettors should fade them and take the points with the Redskins. John Ewing

PRO Systems are data-driven betting strategies that turn winning long-term trends into easy-to-follow picks, all handpicked and monitored by our team of analysts. Try Action PRO now and instantly access real-time game matches for every PRO System.

Expert Picks

Freedman: Vikings -16.5 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

No one wants to lay 16.5 points, but I think this could go to -17 and I have zero respect for the Redskins, so I’m gonna go a different direction from Koerner and the PRO system Ewing highlighted.

It’s unfortunate for the Vikings that they’ll be without Thielen, but the Redskins will also probably not have Norman, and those two losses basically cancel each other out.

I’ve been impressed with the Vikings recently, and bettor extraordinaire Rufus Peabody gave them his top game grade for Week 7.

Top NFL Wk7 game grades:
(these represent exp pt diff on neutral field vs avg tm based on how tm played controlling for opp, weighting stats by predictive value)
1) MIN +12
2) GB +11.6
3) KC +9.8
4) LAR +9.7
5) DAL +9.0
6) NO +9.0
7) TEN +4.6
8) HOU +3.4
9) JAC +3.3
10) BAL +2.8

— Rufus Peabody (@RufusPeabody) October 21, 2019

Under head coach Mike Zimmer (since 2014), the Vikings have had all sorts of edges against the spread, offering a strong return on investment in several different scenarios.

They’ve been a profitable regular-season team to back (per Bet Labs):

  • At home: 30-12-1, 38.2% ROI
  • As favorites: 34-15-1, 34.5% ROI
  • Outside of division: 40-13-1, 46.2% ROI

These trends make sense within the context of who Zimmer is as a coach and what kind of team the Vikings are.

Zimmer is a focused, no-nonsense, risk-adverse, process-oriented, defense-directed “manager” (for lack of a better word), and the Vikings are a disciplined team that doesn’t often make big mistakes. They don’t waste the natural advantage they have at home. They don’t play down to the level of their underdog opponents. They don’t present a known and easy challenge to teams that aren’t familiar with them.

This week, the Vikings are in a “solar eclipse” spot with all of Zimmer’s historical edges lining up.

As non-divisional home favorites, the Vikings are 19-2-1 ATS (73.5% ROI).

I bet this at -16 but like it at -16.5.

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