NFL Week 4 Predictions: Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions

Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
Sunday, 9/30/12, 1:00 PM EST, TV:  FOX
Opening Point Spread:  Detroit -4.5
Current Betting Line:  Detroit -4.5
Opening Total:  47
Current Total:  47
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford is expected to play through a hip injury in Week 4

Minnesota has likely had this game circled since the 2012 NFL schedule came out, as the franchise was swept in this NFC North series for the first time since 1997 last year.  The Vikings are still 3-1-2 against the spread in the last six meetings, but the locker room looks ready to go after last week’s 24-13 win over the San Francisco 49ers as 6.5-point home underdogs.  It’s still important to note that the squad has lost its last 11 games against divisional opponents.  “We just need to go to Detroit and get a win,” stated Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier.  Minnesota is 0-3 ATS off a upset win as an underdog.

The Vikings are led offensively by quarterback Christian Ponder and wide receiver Percy Harvin, as they’ve connected 27 times this year.  Minnesota is still waiting for running back Adrian Peterson to work himself back into dominating form, but the rushing attack does have four gains of 20-plus yards.  Minnesota may have a shot of snapping its losing streak in this series, as it has won 16 of 22 meetings in this rivalry when playing in September.

Detroit has failed to cover the spread in its first three games, while it looks to snap a two-game losing streak, which includes a 44-41 overtime setback to the Tennessee Titans as 3.5-point road favorites.  The Lions are allowing 31.3 points per game, as they surrendered a league-record five scoring plays of 60 or more yards last week.  On the offensive side of the ball, quarterback Matthew Stafford is dealing with a hip injury, but has been upgraded to probable on the injury report.  Detroit is 5-2 ATS as a home favorite of seven or fewer points since 2010, with the “under” going 4-3 in that situation.

The Lions will need to protect Stafford from one of the best pass rushers in the league, as Vikings defensive end Jared Allen has gotten to him 6.5 times over the last two seasons.  Detroit has shown glimpses of a running game with Mikel Leshoure, tallying 11 first downs on the ground last week, which was the team’s most in that category since Nov. 25, 2010.

Sports bettors will likely back the Lions due to their 4-1 ATS mark after a two-game road trip, while the Vikings are 0-6 ATS off a home win.

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