Be careful not to overdose on the NFL before Monday Night Football rolls around this weekend. Both the Vikings and Seahawks come into the game with legitimate Super Bowl dreams. Unfortunately for both squads, they’re also each engaged in heated battles just to win their respective divisions.
Minnesota is tied with Green Bay atop the NFC North with identical records of 8-3. The Seahawks have a better record at 9-2 but they are trailing the 49ers by a game in the NFC West. It’s obvious that both teams have a lot of motivation to win this crucial game.
The Seahawks currently sit as 2.5 point favorites. That is largely a product of their status as the home team. The line seems to indicate that the oddsmakers regard the Vikings as a slightly better team. That reality probably doesn’t sit well with Russell Wilson and his teammates in the Pacific Northwest.
The high-end talent on both rosters makes this one of the most difficult games of the weekend to bet. In other words, you need to do everything you can to properly research the match-up. Part of your work should be checking out our exclusive Statschecker Site. I’ll give you five interesting facts from the site in this piece, but it’s just a preview of the depth of information you can learn on the site.
1. The Vikings aren’t great as underdogs
Mike Zimmer’s team is a tough group to overcome, but they perform much better as favorites. The Vikings have failed to cover the spread in six of their last seven games as underdogs.
Gambling on them to do so on the road in Seattle is a risky proposition at best. Doing so means you believe Kirk Cousins is going to come up big in a high-profile game. If you ask Vikings fans about the chances of that happening you’re going to get some really pessimistic answers.
2. The Vikings haven’t beaten the Seahawks in forever
Seattle has emerged victorious in their last five games in the match-up. That means Minnesota hasn’t tasted victory over the Seahawks since 2010. The Vikings have a chance at breaking that streak on Monday night, but it’s going to take a heroic effort from the entire team.
The Vikings’ biggest challenge will be matching the physicality of Seattle’s offensive line. Pete Carroll wants to win this game by running the football. Counterintuitively, the Minnesota defense needs to force Wilson to beat them.
3. The Seahawks are vulnerable at home
One of the weirder facts about the Seattle season is that they are only 3-2 at home. That’s not a horrible number, but it’s not the kind of home record you expect from a team that has designs on winning a Super Bowl.
Fortunately for Seattle, the Vikings aren’t exactly road warriors. They come in with a respectable, but thoroughly unspectacular mark of 3-3 away from home. The Seahawks cannot afford to drop to .500 if they want to stay in the thick of the NFC West race.
4. Each team is just average against the spread
Neither of these talented teams has really managed to outperform expectations on a game-by-game basis this season. Both franchises have 6-5 records against the spread this year. That’s good, but well short of great.
The learning here is that neither team is poised to blow the opponent out. Don’t get carried away teasing the line in either direction. This match-up has close game written all over it.
5. The offenses are close to identical in terms of production
The Seahawks offense is putting up an impressive 26.5 points per game. The Vikings have been almost that good. They are putting up 26.3 points per contest. If either defense can get a real foothold in this game, it will be a major surprise.
Seattle’s secondary needs to be very concerned about Minnesota’s propensity for big plays. Tackling Dalvin Cook if he gets to the second level is imperative. Minnesota also has a lot of talent on the outside at wide receiver. If the Vikings get a win, they’ll have big plays to thank for it.
Back Russell Wilson to find a way
A good rule of thumb in razor-thin contests like this is to settle in and back the better quarterback. Wilson is playing like an MVP this season. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll outduel Cousins in this one, but he’s absolutely the signal caller you should trust more.
That’s why you can give the points and hold your breath on this one. It shouldn’t be one of your best bets of the weekend, but if you are going to play it, go with the Seahawks.