Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions: 2016 Week 12 NFL Pick

Minnesota Vikings (6-4) at Detroit Lions (6-4)

The Vikings lost at home to the Lions in upset fashion a few weeks ago, but the good news is comparable teams tend to split the season series, even if the road team pulls the upset in the first game. Divisional road underdogs are 60-33 ATS since 2002 in same season divisional revenge games against an opponent that previously beat them as home favorites and they also pull the upset and win straight up about half the time. These two teams are about as comparable as it gets, as they enter this game with identical records and one spot apart in first down rate differential.

Neither team is as good as their record, as the Vikings rank 22nd and the Lions rank 23rd in first down rate differential. The Vikings have relied on a +13 turnover margin and a +5 return touchdown margin to mask an offense that has been one of the least effective at moving the ball in the league this season, two things that tend to be very tough to rely on and very inconsistent on a week-to-week basis. The Lions, meanwhile, have trailed in all 10 games in the 4th quarter and don’t have a single victory by more than a touchdown. Ordinarily, these are both teams I’d bet against, but I obviously can’t bet against both here.

The Vikings have a powerful trend on their side, but they’re also only 2.5 point underdogs, which suggests they’re a little bit better than the Lions. I disagree with that, especially with the Vikings likely being without top receiver Stefon Diggs with injury. It’s only a half point, but 1 in 6 games are decided by exactly a field goal so I wish we were getting the full field goal with Minnesota. At 2.5, I’m actually going to take the Lions and hope for a field goal game, but this is a no confidence pick to start the week either way.

Detroit Lions 20 Minnesota Vikings 17

Pick against the spread: Detroit -2.5

Confidence: None

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