New York Jets at Minnesota Vikings: 2022 Week 13 NFL Pick

New York Jets (7-4) at Minnesota Vikings (9-2)

The Vikings are 9-2, but they have needed an 8-0 record in one score games to get there and they have just a +5 point differential. However, this seems to be well known, as they are only 3-point home favorites against the Jets. The Jets have a significantly better point differential (+34), but they’ve been much more defensive oriented (12th in schedule adjusted efficiency), while the Vikings have been more offensive oriented (3rd in schedule adjusted efficiency), which tends to be more predictive of future success, and the Vikings hold the edge in my roster rankings as well. If anything, we’re actually getting a little bit of line value with the Vikings at -3, so they seem like the better side for pick ‘em purposes, even if there’s not enough here for the Vikings to be worth betting.

Minnesota Vikings 23 New York Jets 19

Pick against the spread: Minnesota -3

Confidence: Low

New England Patriots at Minnesota Vikings: 2022 Week 12 NFL Pick

New England Patriots (6-4) at Minnesota Vikings (8-2)

Normally the rule of thumb on a short week is to take the home team as long as they are favored and as long as it is a non-divisional game, as it’s very tough for a team to go on the road on a short week and face an unfamiliar opponent, unless they happen to be significantly better than their opponent. All in all, non-divisional home favorites cover at a 62.0% rate on Thursday Night Football and that trend applies to this game, with the Patriots on the road facing the Vikings in this Thanksgiving matchup.

It’s also typically a good idea to bet on teams who were just blown out, like the Vikings were last week against the Cowboys, as teams tend to be overlooked, underrated, and embarrassed after a blowout loss, with teams covering at a 58.6% rate after a loss by 35 points or more. That drops to 52.1% if we just look at teams that are favored, but, at the very least, that’s a good sign that we shouldn’t avoid the Vikings just because they were blown out last week and are now favored.

I can’t guarantee that the Vikings will be overlooked or embarrassed, but we are getting more line value with them than we were a week ago, as this line has shifted from favoring the Vikings by 3.5 points on the early line last week to favoring them by 2.5 points this week, a bigger shift than you might realize, with 1 in 6 games decided by exactly a field goal. Despite that, it’s hard to get excited about betting on the Vikings this week as, even with that line movement, we’re still getting some line value with the Patriots.

The Vikings are 8-2, but they’ve benefitted from a 7-0 record in games decided by one score and they actually have a significantly worse point differential (-2) than the 6-4 Patriots (+44). The gap between these two teams is significant in terms of schedule adjusted efficiency as well, with the 20th ranked Vikings being 1.5 points below average and the 14th ranked Patriots being a half point above average. 

Minnesota is more talented than that suggests, but they’re missing three of their top-4 cornerbacks and their stud left tackle Christian Darrisaw, so I have the Patriots as the slightly better team overall, giving us a calculated line of Minnesota -1. That’s not much line value with the Patriots, but it’s enough to give me pause about betting on the Vikings, even in a good spot. I would still consider betting on the Vikings if Patriots center David Andrews doesn’t play and Vikings’ interior defender Dalvin Tomlinson does, but both players are likely game time decisions, so I’m leaving this as a low confidence pick for now.

Minnesota Vikings 20 New England Patriots 16

Pick against the spread: Minnesota -2.5

Confidence: Low

Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings: 2022 Week 11 NFL Pick

Dallas Cowboys (6-3) at Minnesota Vikings (8-1)

The Vikings are 8-1, but they have won all seven of their one-score games and have won the turnover battle by 8 (2nd best in the NFL), both of which are not sustainable long-term. They beat the Bills last week, but Buffalo was missing several key defenders and, despite that, the Vikings lost the first down rate battle and yards per play battle by 9.04% and 0.66 respectively, needing to win the turnover battle by two and to score a defensive touchdown to barely win in overtime. 

Even with that win taken into account, the Vikings still rank just 19th in schedule adjusted efficiency, about one point below average, which is much more predictive than turnover margin. The Cowboys are a couple games worse in the standings, but rank about 3.5 points above average in schedule adjusted efficiency, 8th in the league, even though starting quarterback Dak Prescott missed five games with injury. The public and the oddsmakers both seem to understand that though, leading to the Vikings actually being 2-point home underdogs in this game.

With that in mind, I actually like the Vikings for pick ‘em purposes. While there is a significant gap between these two teams in schedule adjusted efficiency, my roster rankings have them much closer together, with the Vikings still among the most talented teams in the league, despite what the statistics say, and I think the Vikings could play with a chip on their shoulder being underdogs yet again. There isn’t enough here for the Vikings to be worth betting against the spread, but they seem like the right side for pick ‘em purposes and a small bet on the money line at +105 makes sense as well, as the Vikings should be considered no worse than 50/50 to win this game here at home.

Minnesota Vikings 24 Dallas Cowboys 23 Upset Pick +105

Pick against the spread: Minnesota +1.5

Confidence: Low

Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills: 2022 Week 10 NFL Pick

Minnesota Vikings (7-1) at Buffalo Bills (6-2)

In ordinary circumstances, I would like the Bills this week. They lost to the Jets as 11.5-point favorites in a close game last week, but the Jets are at least a decent team and teams tend to bounce back from big upset losses anyway, covering the spread at a 58.3% rate all-time after a loss as 10-point favorites or more. This week, the Bills face the Vikings, who, at 7-1, now have a better record than the Bills, but most of the Vikings’ wins have been close, with six of seven coming by eight points or fewer points or fewer, while four of the Bills’ six wins have come by ten points or more, a trend that dates back to the start of last season, over which time they have a margin of victory of 21.1 points per game in 18 victories, while all but eight of their nine losses have come by seven points or fewer. The Vikings have also benefited from a +6 turnover margin, which is not predictive, while the Bills are only at +1.

Unfortunately, these are not ordinary circumstances, as the Bills are in a terrible injury situation. Not only is quarterback Josh Allen not expected to play because of an elbow injury that could get worse, but the Bills are missing key players on defense as well. Already without talented safety Micah Hyde, the Bills will be without their other talented safety Jordan Poyer, whose absence was felt in the Bills’ loss last week, and also will be without talented edge defender Greg Rousseau, who will miss his first game of the season this week.

Assuming Allen is out, my calculated line is even, with backup Case Keenum being serviceable, but an obvious downgrade. This line is at Buffalo -3, but it probably takes into account the possibility that Allen does play, even if the chances are slim. Allen’s uncertainty makes this game tough to bet, as the Vikings would probably be worth betting at +3 if Allen didn’t play, but there’s still a chance he could and, if he’s ruled out, the line will likely drop. I’m taking the Vikings for a low confidence pick for now, but I could have an update before game time depending on Allen’s status and where this line ends up.

Update: Josh Allen looks like he will unexpectedly play and start for the Bills and, as a result, the line has moved up to 6. If I knew Allen was healthy and would play the whole game, the Bills would be bettable at that number, getting good line value in a good spot, but how well and how much Allen plays is still somewhat in question, so this is going to be a no confidence pick.

Buffalo Bills 27 Minnesota Vikings 20

Pick against the spread: Buffalo -6

Confidence: None

Minnesota Vikings at Washington Commanders: 2022 Week 9 NFL Pick

Minnesota Vikings (6-1) at Washington Commanders (4-4)

Going into the season, the Vikings were one of my top underrated teams and I expected a significant improvement in win total from their 7-9 and 8-9 finishes from the previous two seasons, due to better coaching on offense and likely better health on defense. So far, the Vikings are 6-1 and exceeding most people’s expectations, but that also haven’t played quite as well as that would suggest, with five of their six wins coming by eight points or fewer and their one loss coming by 17, giving them a point differential of +29, which is good, but not as good as their record would suggest. 

The Vikings have also benefited significantly from turnovers, ranking tied for 2nd best in the NFL with a +6 turnover margin, which is not predictive week-to-week. In terms of schedule adjusted efficiency, the Vikings rank just 15th, about a half point above average. The Commanders also haven’t played as well as their record though, as their four wins have come by a combined 14 points and their four losses have come by a combined 44 points, giving them a point differential of -30 that ranks 5th worst in the NFL. 

With both teams not as good as their records, I actually think this line, favoring the visiting Vikings by a field goal is about right. My calculated line suggests the Vikings are more likely to cover this number than the Commanders, but not by much and the most likely outcome may be a push, given how many games are decided by exactly a field goal. I’m taking the Vikings at -3, but I would take the Commanders at +3.5.

Minnesota Vikings 23 Washington Commanders 20

Pick against the spread: Minnesota -3

Confidence: None

Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings: 2022 Week 8 NFL Pick

Arizona Cardinals (3-4) at Minnesota Vikings (5-1)

The Cardinals were at the top of my overrated teams list coming into the season. They went 11-6 last season, but needed a +12 turnover margin to get to that record, which is not predictive, and they ranked just 14th in overall efficiency, barely above average. They also got a lot worse this off-season, losing starting wide receiver Christian Kirk, top edge defender Chandler Jones, top off ball linebacker Jordan Hicks, top cornerback Robert Alford, and their most efficient running back Chase Edmonds, with their only major addition being former Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown, who cost the Cardinals their first round pick in a trade and who isn’t a significant upgrade on Christian Kirk.

The Cardinals are off to a 3-4 start, which is disappointing compared to last season, but I think they are still overrated, as they have been reliant on a +5 turnover margin to win them games, as they rank just 29th in schedule adjusted efficiency. Injuries have also become a significant concern, with two starting offensive linemen, Justin Pugh and Rodney Hudson, starting wide receiver Marquise Brown, and feature back James Conner all out indefinitely, hurting an offense that has thus far been their better side of the ball this season. Despite that, they are just 3.5 point underdogs in Minnesota against the 5-1 Vikings.

The Vikings came into the season as one of my top underrated teams, due to improved coaching on offense and better health on defense and so far they have gotten off to a good start. Beyond their record, they also rank 5 points above average in my roster rankings and 8 points higher than the Cardinals. Given that, we’re getting a steal with the Vikings as mere 3.5-point home favorites, as they should be favored by at least a touchdown, if not 10 points, considering how mediocre the Cardinals have played aside from turnovers. This is my top Pick of the Week.

Minnesota Vikings 30 Arizona Cardinals 20

Pick against the spread: Minnesota -3.5

Confidence: Pick of the Week

Minnesota Vikings at Miami Dolphins: 2022 Week 6 NFL Pick

Minnesota Vikings (4-1) at Miami Dolphins (3-2)

Coming into the season, I expected the Vikings to be better than a year ago and make the post-season, with better health on defense and better coaching on offense. So far, they are 4-1, with their only loss coming to the undefeated Eagles, but they are still underrated, as they rank 8th in schedule adjusted efficiency and are still just 3-point favorites on the road against a Dolphins team that is starting a 3rd string, 7th round rookie quarterback Skylar Thompson, with Tua Tagovailoa out and Teddy Bridgewater expected to be the backup if active. My calculated line has the Vikings favored by 6.5, so they’re worth a big bet at 3, as they are likely to at least push at that number.

Minnesota Vikings 27 Miami Dolphins 20

Pick against the spread: Minnesota -3

Confidence: High

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings: 2022 Week 5 NFL Pick

Chicago Bears (2-2) at Minnesota Vikings (3-1)

Expected by many to be the worst team in the league, the Bears somewhat surprisingly have a couple wins at 2-2, but if you look at how they got those wins, it’s not hard to see how they could still be the worst team in the league going forward. In both of their wins, the Bears have lost the first down rate and yards per play battle, by 0.41% and 1.30 against the 49ers and by 1.39% and 0.08 against the Texans. Meanwhile, their loss to the Packers was not competitive, with the Bears losing the first down rate and yards per play battle by 10.85% and 0.71 respectively, while their other loss came to a mediocre Giants team in a game in which the Bears lost the first down rate battle by 7.94% and the yards per play battle by 0.39. 

In terms of schedule adjusted overall efficiency, which is based on first downs and yards, the Bears rank 29th, with well below average marks on offense (28th) and defense (22nd). They’re not quite the worst team in the league in that metric, but my roster rankings do have them as the worst team in the league, by a pretty significant margin, especially now that their top offensive lineman Cody Whitehair is out with injury. I don’t think this line, which has the Bears as just 7.5 point underdogs in Minnesota, fully takes into account how bad the Bears are.

This line may also underrate the Vikings too. The Vikings are 3-1, with their only loss coming to the 4-0 Eagles, and have a better offensive coaching staff and a much healthier defense than the past couple seasons. My roster rankings have the Vikings about 5 points above average and about 16 points above the dead last ranked Bears. Schedule adjusted efficiency also has a big gap between these two teams, giving the Vikings the edge by 12 points. This is a pretty big line, given that about half of games are decided by seven points or less, but, any way you look at it, the Vikings should be favored by significantly more than 7.5 points at home against the Bears, at least double digits, possibly multiple touchdowns, given the gap between these two teams. This is my pick of the Week.

Minnesota Vikings 24 Chicago Bears 10

Pick against the spread: Minnesota -7.5

Confidence: Pick of the Week

Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints: 2022 Week 4 NFL Pick

Minnesota Vikings (2-1) vs. New Orleans Saints (1-2) in London

Typically, the rule of thumb in international games is to take the favorite, as the better team tends to be better equipped to deal with playing a game after an unusual week, going 26-14 ATS all-time. That should be especially true in this matchup between the Vikings and the Saints in London, where the Vikings are undervalued as favorites of only three points. The Vikings are off to a significantly better start than the Saints, going 2-1 with a +3 point differential against a tougher schedule than the Saints, who are 1-2 with a -17 point differential.

The Vikings’ defense and special teams have been mediocre, ranking 21st and 20th in efficiency respectively, even when adjusted for schedule, but the Vikings’ offense ranks 3rd in first down rate, which is the most predictive offensive stat, and, when adjusted for schedule, the Vikings lead the league in offensive efficiency, which is more predictive than defense and special teams. It’s only been three games, so that’s not to say the Vikings are the best offense in the league, and they have had an absence of big plays, with just one play over 40 yards all season, but big plays tend to be much less predictive than first downs and my roster rankings have the Vikings as a well above offense as well.

The Saints, meanwhile, could easily be 0-3 if not for a late comeback to win by one against the Falcons, with their two losses both coming by double digits to the Buccaneers and Panthers. They rank just 21st in overall schedule adjusted efficiency, while the Vikings rank 2nd on the strength of their offense, and are six points behind the Saints in my roster rankings as well. That’s in part because the Vikings are the healthier team, getting back Harrison Smith from a one-game absence and otherwise being in good shape, while the Saints are missing a pair of expected starting offensive lineman (Trevor Penning and Andrus Peat), starting quarterback Jameis Winston, top receiver Michael Thomas, and talented starting safety Marcus Maye. With the Vikings getting good value in a good spot, they are worth a bet this week, one I will increase if this line drops down to 2.5, where it is trending.

Minnesota Vikings 24 New Orleans Saints 17

Pick against the spread: Minnesota -3

Confidence: Medium

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings: 2022 Week 3 NFL Pick

Detroit Lions (1-1) at Minnesota Vikings (1-1)

This is one of my lowest confidence picks of the week. This line shifted from favoring the Vikings by 8 points on the early line last week to now only favoring them by 6 points and ordinarily I would like to fade that kind of line movement, as significant week-to-week line movements tend to be an overreaction to a single week of play, but, in this case, I think the movement is appropriate, as the Lions beat the Commanders convincingly this week without stud center Frank Ragnow, who returns this week, while the Vikings lost by double digits to the Eagles last week and now are without safety Harrison Smith, one of their best defensive players. My calculated line still has the Vikings getting a little bit of line value as 6-point home favorites, but I would take the Lions at +6.5. That’s how close this one is for me. A push is also a strong possibility.

Minnesota Vikings 33 Detroit Lions 27

Pick against the spread: Minnesota -6

Confidence: None