Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
Time: Sun Sept 8, 2013 at 1 PM EST
Line: DET -4.5
M/L: DET -210, MIN +175
Odds courtesy of Bovada
Detroit had a disastrous season in 2012, winning just four games and ranking 27th in points allowed, and in the bottom third of most important statistical categories. The Lions are a team with several good standouts, most notably Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford, but a poor defense and lack of depth will likely prove problematic again. Even so, NFL oddsmakers find the Lions to be 4.5 point favorites over the visiting Minnesota Vikings in opening week play.
The Vikings will look to defy those odds by using the game’s most dominant ball carrier, Adrian Peterson. Peterson had one of the best seasons in NFL history and the Vikings made it into the playoffs. It’s difficult to imagine a Lions’ defense which was so poor last season containing Peterson, but it will need to for the team to prevail in this contest.
The Vikings are going to be without their top receiver Percy Harvin for most of the season, but signed Greg Jennings from the Packers and drafted Cordarrelle Patterson. That won’t be enough to replace Harvin’s playmaking ability, but it should be sufficient options for Christian Ponder. Ponder threw for 2,935 yards last year and 18 touchdowns, and had a QB rating of 81.2
The Lions are guided by Matthew Stafford, who has been under some criticism since the team regressed so badly in 2012. After winning 10 games in 2011, the Lions won six less, and Stafford’s play was significantly worse. The team brought in Reggie Bush to give him someone better to hand off to, and Bush also serves well as a receiver.
Stafford threw for nearly five thousand yards, but completed under 60 percent of his passes and had 17 interceptions to his 20 touchdowns. Expect Bush to get plenty of carries, but Stafford needs to take this offense to the next level to make up for the subpar Lions defense. If he throws more than a pick or two, winning will be difficult with an inadequate defense.
4-1 ATS last 5 overall, OVER 4-1 in last 5 on turf, UNDER 4-1 last 5 road games
0-4-1 ATS in last 5 in Sept, OVER 5-1 in last 6 in Week One, OVER 5-1-1 in Lions last 7 in Sept
Head-to-head: Underdog is 3-0-1 ATS in last 4 mtgs, Vikings 3-0-1 ATS in last 4 mtgs, UNDER is 5-1 in last 6 in Detroit.