NFL Turkey Day Day Betting Picks: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions

Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
Thursday, November 24, 2016, 12:30 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Ford Field – Detroit, Michigan
Opening Line: Detroit -3
Current Line: Detroit -2 1/2 (-105)
Opening Total: 42
Current Total: 43
Opening Money Line: Lions -140 / Vikings +120
Current Money Line: Lions -135 / Vikings +115

The Lions and Vikings meet with first place on the line in the NFC North.
The Lions and Vikings meet with first place on the line in the NFC North.

The Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings are both 6-4 as they meet in Detroit’s annual Thanksgiving game with first place in the NFC North on the line. A Detroit win would give them the equivalent of a two game lead as they won in Minnesota 22-16 in overtime earlier this month. Every Lions game this season has been decided by 7 points or less.

Minnesota leads the series 71-37-2. The Vikings swept the season series last year, but the Lions swept it in 2014. This is the first time the Lions and Vikings are playing on Thanksgiving since 1995.

Minnesota is coached by Mike Zimmer. The Vikings have road wins at the Tennessee Titans 25-16, and Carolina Panthers 22-10, along with home wins against the Green Bay Packers 17-14, New York Giants 24-10, Houston Texans 31-13, and Arizona Cardinals 30-24 last week. The win over the Cardinals snapped a four game losing streak for the Vikings. Minnesota has road losses at the Philadelphia Eagles 21-10, Chicago Bears 20-10, and Washington Redskins 26-20, plus the home loss to the Lions. Minnesota is 6-4 ATS and the total is 4-6 this season. The Vikings were 2 point favorites against the Cardinals and the total was 39.5.

Detroit is coached by Jim Caldwell. The Lions have won five of the last six games after a 1-3 start. Detroit has road wins at the Indianapolis Colts 39-35 and Vikings, plus home wins over the Philadelphia Eagles 24-23, Los Angeles Rams 31-28, Washington Redskins 20-17, and Jacksonville Jaguars 26-19 last week. The Lions have a home loss to the Tennessee Titans 16-15, plus road losses at the Green Bay Packers 34-27, Chicago Bears 17-14, and Houston Texans 20-13. The Lions were 5.5 point favorites against the Jaguars and the total was 47. Detroit is 6-4 ATS and the total is 4-6.

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Minnesota is outscoring teams 21-18. The Vikings are #2 in  points allowed. Minnesota is averaging 294 yards per game on offense including 224 passing and 70 rushing yards. The Vikings are last in total and rushing offense. Minnesota allows 307 yards per game on defense including 206 passing and 101 rushing yards. The Vikings are in the top three in total and pass defense. Minnesota is 61/151 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 52/140. Minnesota has forced 26 sacks and allowed 26 this season. The Vikings are +13 in turnovers. Minnesota has three special teams and three defensive touchdowns this season.

After quarterback Teddy Bridgewater tore his ACL and MCL during the preseason, Minnesota traded for quarterback Sam Bradford from the Eagles. Shaun Hill started week one as Bradford was still learning the system. He threw for 236 yards and rushed for 8 yards against the Titans. Bradford has started every game since. Bradford has completed 69.8% of his passes for 2,191 yards with 12 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

Running back Adrian Peterson is out indefinitely with a torn meniscus that required surgery. He had 31 carries for 50 yards, plus 2 catches. Jerick McKinnon has 97 carries for 285 yards and a touchdown, along with 12 catches. Matt Asiata has 85 carries for 260 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 19 catches for 157 yards. Ronnie Hillman was released and signed with the San Diego Chargers.

Receiver Stefon Diggs has 67 catches for 747 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is questionable with a knee injury. Tight end Kyle Rudolph has 39 catches for 404 yards and 5 touchdowns. Adam Thielen has 37 catches for 518 yards and 3 touchdowns. Cordarrelle Patterson has 34 catches for 309 yards and 2 touchdowns.  No other receiver has more than 7 catches, excluding the running backs. Five offensive linemen are listed on the injury report including all-pro tackle Matt Kalil who is out for the season with a hip injury. Thirteen defensive players are also on the injury report.

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Detroit is outscoring teams 23.1-22.5 this season. The Lions average 332 yards per game including 252 passing and 80 rushing yards. Detroit is #25 in total offense and #30 in rushing. On defense, the Lions allow 358 total yards per game including 254 passing and 105 rushing yards per game. Detroit 56/125 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 63/135. The Lions have forced 20 sacks and allowed 23 this season. Detroit is +2 in turnovers with 2 special teams and a defensive touchdown.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford has completed 67.8% of his passes for 2,651 yards with 18 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, with 23 carries for 126 yards. He is the second leading rusher for the Lions.

Running back Theo Riddick has 79 catches for 310 yards and a touchdown, 43 catches for 343 yards and 4 touchdowns. He is probable with an ankle injury. Zack Zenner has 36 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown, plus 6 catches for 69 yards. Dwayne Washington has 41 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown, plus 4 catches. Ameer Abdullah has 18 carries for 101 yards, plus 5 catches and a touchdown. He is questionable with a foot injury.

Receiver Marvin Jones has 38 catches for 676 yards and 4 touchdowns. Golden Tate has 52 catches for 540 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tight end Eric Ebron has 35 catches for 451 yards and a touchdown. Anquan Boldin has 41 catches for 323 yards and 5 touchdowns. Eight defensive players are listed on the injury report.

Minnesota is 6-1 ATS against teams with winning records and winning home records, 12-2 after rushing for less than 90 yards, 14-3 after gaining less than 250 yards, 22-5 after a cover, 15-5-1 in week 12, 9-3 in road games, 21-7 after passing for less than 150 yards, 23-8 on fieldturf, 19-7 after a straight up win, 37-15 overall, 7-3 in November, and 1-4 against NFC teams, The underdog is 5-1 ATS in this series and the road team is 4-1 in the series recently. The Vikings are 14-6-3 ATS against the Lions recently including 4-1 in Detroit.

Detroit is 5-0 ATS in November and on fieldturf, 4-0 at home, after rushing for less than 90 yards, and against NFC teams, 5-1 overall, 4-1 in Thursday games, and against teams with winning records, 6-2 after a win and a cover, 3-9 against NFC North teams, and 2-10 in Thanksgiving games. The under is 5-1 in this series recently.

I don’t trust either of these teams, and both offenses struggle. Minnesota has a better defense, but I still think the Lions win a close game at home perhaps in overtime again.

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