SITUATIONAL HOME DOG PLAY OF THE WEEK
The Minnesota Vikings (7 - 6 - 1) visit division rival Detroit Lions (5 - 9) today within the confines of Ford Field at 1:00pm ET.
Obviously the Lions have no post season opportunity, but the Vikings still do, as follows:
"With Washington losing on Saturday, the Vikings can clinch at least the sixth seed on Sunday by beating the Lions, if the Eagles lose to the Texans. A Vikings win and a Seattle loss to the Chiefs would move Minnesota to the No. 5 spot, pending Week 17."
footnote - above information in paretheses directly quoted from NBC Sports dot com
The Detroit Lions are a mediocre 3 - 4 at home this season, but Minnesota fared even worse on the road, posting a 2 - 4 - 1 record. The Vikings road wins came against the Eagles in week 5 (when struggling), and the NY Jets in week 7 (struggling for 3 years). The last time Detroit won at home was against the Carolina Panthers by a final score of 20 - 19 in week 11 (two consecutive losses since).
The Vikings are a coin flip (6 - 6) ATS as an away favorite, and 7 - 9 ATS versus division opponents, since 2016. The Lions are no better as a home dog, posting a 5 - 6 and 7 - 8 - 1 record over the same period, respectively. Minnesota does indicate having an edge as a favorite since 2016, going 19 - 12 - 1 ATS, and 5 - 2 - 1 in 2018, while the Lions remain mediocre as a dog (13 - 15) since 2016, and a slightly better 5 - 4 ATS in 2018.
The following statistical information for both teams also shows a slight edge for the Vikings:
- 3rd down conversion rate (O / D) - Minnesota 38% / 29%, Detroit 36% / 38%
- run to pass ratio - Minnesota 35% / 65%, Detroit 39% / 61%
- completion percentage - Minnesota 71%, Detroit 66%
- RZ attempts per game / TD scoring % - Minnesota 3.1 / 55%, Detroit 3.2 / 51%
- both teams average 1.4 giveaways per game
- penalties per game - Minnesota 5.6, Detroit 6
Minnesota also won their last meeting with Detroit in the Motor City by a final score 30 - 23 on November 23, 2017. The Vikings were a 2.5 point favorite. They also won in Detroit as a 10 point favorite 27 - 13 on September 20, 2009. Obviously, they are not favored too often when playing in Detroit.
Here is why I believe the Lions will at least cover in this game. The Vikings need this win, the Lions do not. I would expect the Lions to be coached, and play with very little pressure with a "swing away" approach to this game. I expect the Vikings to play tight, at least in the first half. Secondly, December in Detroit has not been kind to the Vikings historically from a point spread favorite position, with these categorical games being decided by 5 or less points on all 6 occasions as follows:
- Dec 7, 2008 - Vikings 20, Lions 16
- Dec 4, 2005 - Vikings 21, Lions 16
- Dec 19, 2004 - Vikings 28, Lions 27
- Dec 29, 2002 - Vikings 38, Lions 36
- Dec 16, 2001 - Vikings 24, Lions 27
- Dec 20, 1987 - Vikings 17, Lions 14
I do not see any massive advantage for the Vikings in this contest, in fact, under the circumstances, I believe the Lions have a very good opportunity to play spoiler in this spot. That being stated, I would rather have the 6.5 points in play as well.
PREDICTION: Take the Lions +6.5 (even juice) - currently the same spread, but -105
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: Minnesota Vikings 26, Detroit Lions 20
Good luck everyone :)
Edited 12/23/18 at 12:42PM by Timothy Wynn - formatting