A rematch of the infamous 2018 NFC Divisional Round Game is set for the NFC Wildcard Weekend when the Minnesota Vikings visit the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
The best online betting sites have the Saints as 8-point home favorites, perhaps puffed up a bit due to the revenge angle for New Orleans. The last time these teams met in the playoffs, the Vikings stole a 29-24 win on a Hail Mary touchdown as time expired to advance to the NFC Championship.
If you’re betting the NFL odds for Minnesota at New Orleans, these are the angles and edges to factor into your handicapping.
Saints go marching in
New Orleans enters the postseason on a three-game streak, blowing their last three opponents away by an average score of 38-15. The Saints offense is firing on all cylinders at the right time, putting up 8.4 yards per pass while complementing the air attack with the rushing duo of Latavius Murray and Alvin Kamara.
The Vikings defense has been a bit of a disappointment this season, ranking in the middle of the road for most statistical categories. Minnesota has been solid at home but the stop unit has struggled to slow down opponents on the road, allowing 21.8 points against to host teams – a difference of almost six points compared to the Vikings’ home efforts.
This will only be the Vikings’ second road games since Dec. 8 with the other away contests coming against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 15 – a field notorious for getting taken over by opposing teams. Minnesota is 4-4 ATS as a visitor this season and 1-2 as a road underdog.
Run and gun
Minnesota will look to slow the pace of this Wildcard matchup and park the Saints explosive offense on the sideline, and to do so will need running back Delvin Cook healthy. Cook has missed the past two games while nursing a shoulder injury but is reportedly good to go for Sunday.
Cook, who finished the season with 1,654 yards and led the league in rushing for most of the first half of the schedule, helped Minnesota dominate the football through the first eight weeks. But that time of possession dwindled in the second half of the season. In a Week 16 loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Vikes held on to the football for only 22:28, losing that key divisional matchup 23-10 and dropping to the Wildcard spot.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins hasn’t been that sharp on the road, watching his yards per pass dip and his completion percentage fall nearly 10% as a visitor. While the Vikings will look to run the ball steadily, Cousins will be called upon to make the big throws.
The Over/Under betting total for this NFC Wildcard game is set at 50 points after climbing from 47. The Vikings enter the postseason with a 9-7 Over/Under recording, going 5-3 O/U on the road. New Orleans also put up a 9-7 Over/Under count in 2019 and went 4-4 O/U inside the Superdome. The Vikings and Saints have gone Over the total in eight of their past 11 meetings, including their last postseason battle in 2018.