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Vikes Look To Keep Playoff Hopes Alive vs Lions

Kirk Cousins and the Vikings face the Lions

Thanksgiving offered no respite to the Detroit Lions (0-10-1 SU, 7-4 ATS), who kept it close but ultimately lost to the Bears by two points in Week 12. They’ll try for their first win once again against the Minnesota Vikings (5-6, 6-5), whose wild-card hopes were damaged a week ago by a loss to the 49ers.

Minnesota Vikings vs Detroit Lions
  • Date/Time: December 5, 1 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: Ford Field
  • TV Coverage: CBS
  • Opening Odds: Vikings -7.5 | O/U 48 (Line History)
  • Vikings vs Lions Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

While the Lions have the worst record in the league, they’ve done plenty of good for sharp bettors, compiling a 7-4 record against the spread. They opened as 7.5-point underdogs, with the number shrinking to Detroit +7 by Tuesday afternoon. The total has seen more movement, opening at 48 points and eventually settling in at 46.5 at most sportsbooks.

Minnesota News & Notes

The Vikings hit the road for their second straight game, having struggled this season with a 2-4 SU mark away from home.

They were upended 34-26 by the 49ers a week ago at Levi’s Stadium, where they were run over by a San Francisco ground attack that churned out 208 yards and three touchdowns.

Receivers Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen were completely shut down by the 49ers, and Jefferson was visibly frustrated with quarterback Kirk Cousins. The offense should benefit from additional opportunities this week against the Lions.

A big issue, though, is the loss of running back Dalvin Cook, who suffered a dislocated shoulder that will likely keep him out for multiple weeks. Alexander Mattison is expected to handle the majority of the rushing opportunities in his absence.

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Detroit News & Notes

Detroit still has yet to win but has certainly kept things close more often than not. Aside from a tie with Pittsburgh, last week’s 16-14 loss to Chicago marked the fourth game this season that the Lions have lost by either two or three points, including a 19-17 setback to Minnesota on October 10.

The defense has held opponents to 16 points or less in its last three games and has also produced at least one interception in each of those games. Cook’s absence from the Vikes lineup is a bonus for the Lions, who will be confident they can keep it close once again.

The Detroit offense has struggled this season and quarterback Jared Goff has very few high-quality pass-catching options, a glaring weakness that could be further exposed if running back D’Andre Swift is forced to miss the game. His availability is in doubt after he left the Chicago game with a shoulder injury.

How Minnesota Will Cover

Cousins will need to improve his accuracy and keep Jefferson and Thielen happy, especially with the loss of Cook. Without their top running back, Cousins will have plenty of chances to throw the ball. Expect Mattison to make the most of his chances against the Lions defense.

How Detroit Will Cover

The Vikings allowed Eli Mitchell to rush for 133 yards and a touchdown in Week 12. If Detroit’s defense can keep its opponent under 20 points for the fourth straight week, the Lions have a great shot at covering.

Computer Pick: Lions +7

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For more Week 13 predictions, visit our NFL Computer Picks Page.

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Shark Bites
  • Detroit is 3-0 ATS in its last 3 games as an underdog.
  • The UNDER is 3-0 in Detroit’s last 3 games vs its division. 
  • Minnesota is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games vs sub-.500 teams.