TA Pick: DET O TT 26.5 to win 1 unit (-115)
27 is the max
ATS Pick ‘Em: DET -2.5
– RANKINGS –
– ANALYSIS –
- My model has Detroit winning 29-26.2 (DET -2.8) so it’s right on the spread but shows value on the Lions over team total.
- In prior weeks I’ve actually had the Vikings way off from a spread perspective but that’s not really the case here. For pick pools I would take the Lions but I can’t pull the ATS trigger here
- The Vikings pass defense is so bad (last in YPA) and have allowed 8 of their 12 opponents to post a ypa above their season average. They’ve allowed 29.5 ppg in their last four games and on the season have allowed 24.1 ppg (excluding Skylar Thompson game) to opponents who on the season have averaged only 23.2 ppg. 7 of those 11 opponents (excl Miami) have scored above their season average against the Vikings defense.
- The Vikings play the most zone in the NFL, a style of defense that Jared Goff typically plays well against.
- What’s amazing is that when both Amon-Ra St. Brown and De’andre Swift have been in the lineup this season, the Lions are an incredible 8-0-1 ATS with the 4th best offensive EPA in the NFL. They have posted an EPA above what those opponents allow on average in 8 of those 9 games. In games when one or both were out of the lineup, the Lions are 0-3 ATS and are 23rd in offensive EPA
- The Lions have scored at least 27 points in 8 of the last 11 games where both St. Brown and Swift have played, going back to the final two games of last season. They have scored at least 24 points in all but one of those games.
- Don’t let the Lions “only” scoring 24 points in the first matchup with the Vikings fool you. Excluding the final desperation drive, the Lions only punted twice all game and made it inside Vikings 36 yard line in 7 of their 11 drives. They missed 2 FGs and got stuffed on a 4th and 1 from the Vikings 30. They also went for it on a 4th and 1 from their own 49 and couldn’t convert.
- But this is par for the course for the luckbox Vikings defense. They have allowed 51% of opponent drives that start in their own territory, to reach their 40 yard line (scoring territory), which ranks as the 9th highest rate allowed in the NFL. But they have also been lucky when opponents have gotten there as the rank as creating the 9th highest “bad drive end” percentage at 22%. Meaning teams are driving up and down the field on them but they either miss a FG, don’t convert a 4th down or commit a turnover in scoring territory. The Lions have scored a TD at the 4th highest rate and committed a turnover at the 4th LOWEST rate once they get inside the opposing 40 yard line so I expect them to score more often than not on the Vikings.
- The Lions had the Vikings beat in their first game but blew it when Jamaal Williams got stuffed on a 4th and 1 from the Vikings 30 with 3:35 left. And then again with 1:14 left when Dan Campbell inexplicably decided to attempt a 54 yard FG with the Lions only up 3. He missed and the Vikings won the game with a TD on the next drive. That is the one concern here for the Lions, the coaching decisions by Campbell late.
- These teams play at the 7th and 8th fastest pace in neutral game situations so if you assume this should be a non blowout, then the pace will be fast.
- With all of this being said, while the Lions defense has played much better lately, sitting 16th in EPA per play allowed, when you exclude turnovers from these plays, the Lions defense is only 23rd. They need to force turnovers or they will get scored on.
- Then there is the matter of Justin Jefferson. He is the absolute x factor in any Vikings game and when a play needs to be made, he will make it.
- I would rather lay my money on the Lions scoring then being able to slow down the Vikings
– GAME TRENDS –
- Kirk Cousins is 3-9-1 ATS in toss-up road games (spread of +3 to -3) since 2018 In the last 20 years, teams with a 70%+ win pct who are listed as underdogs in December or later in the regular season are 48-66-3 ATS (42%), including 14-23-1 ATS since 2016
– INJURY ANALYSIS –
– DEPTH CHARTS –