The first London NFL game of 2022 will see the offensively challenged New Orleans Saints (1-2 SU, 0-3 ATS) take on the Minnesota Vikings (2-1, 1-2) on Sunday as small underdogs at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. The Saints have totaled 24 points combined in losing their last two games since posting a 27-26 come-from-behind road victory against the Atlanta Falcons as 5.5-point favorites in the season opener.

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Vikings vs Saints Opening Odds

There has been a major line move since this line was first released, with Minnesota going from a small underdog to a 2.5-point favorite in early wagering action. The offensive struggles of New Orleans are definitely an underlying factor, as head coach Dennis Allen has stood by quarterback Jameis Winston as his starter even though Winston has two touchdowns and five interceptions in the past two games.

Minnesota rallied back from deficits of 14-0 and 24-14 to top the Detroit Lions 28-24 last week but failed to cover the spread as a 6.5-point home favorite. The total is also down to 44 from 46.5, as the offenses usually have trouble across the pond due to the travel and time adjustment.  

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Minnesota Shows Depth, Resiliency In Comeback Win Over Detroit

The Vikings could have easily lost to the Lions last week, especially after running back Dalvin Cook suffered a shoulder injury.

While Cook’s status is up in the air for this upcoming game, Minnesota has a solid backup in Alexander Mattison and several receivers capable of stepping up too.

With All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson facing double coverage throughout the game, quarterback Kirk Cousins was able to find Adam Thielen and K.J. Osborn instead, as the duo totaled 11 catches for 134 yards and two touchdowns between them.

That depth should help the Vikings in this spot, although their lack of success away from home could be an issue (1-4 SU and ATS in their last five).

Winston’s Inconsistency Remains A Concern For New Orleans

After watching the Saints rally back from a 26-10 deficit in the fourth quarter against the Falcons in Week 1, you would think they would learn from that and make the proper adjustments to avoid a similar scenario. 

Instead, they have followed the same ugly pattern in their last two games, and they have been unable to complete comebacks, resulting in a pair of losses.

New Orleans has trailed by 15 points or more in all three games so far and simply cannot afford to do the same thing again vs Minnesota. Winston’s play is critical, as he needs to build up his stats early on, not in garbage time.

Vikings: Keys To Victory

New Minnesota head coach Kevin O’Connell righted the ship in Week 3 following a disappointing 24-7 road loss to the Philadelphia Eagles as 3-point underdogs on Monday Night Football six days earlier.

Cook is considered day to day, but his potential loss is not as critical as you might think. If it was, the Vikings would likely still be underdogs. Instead, they have the more stable quarterback in Cousins, who must continue to spread the ball around and utilize arguably the NFL’s best group of receivers.

Saints: Keys To Victory

New Orleans needs to get off to a much better start compared to the first three games, as the team’s last lead was 3-0 in the first quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2.

The Saints have also scored only one touchdown in the first half this year, and that must change if they are going to turn things around offensively and win more games.

Winston is an integral part of that plan, and he has one of the best young receivers in rookie Chris Olave, who had a team-high nine catches on 13 targets for 147 yards a week ago. With veteran Michael Thomas dealing with a toe injury, Olave’s play will be key.

NFL Computer Pick: Saints +2.5

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Shark Bites
  • Minnesota is 1-4 SU and ATS in its last 5 road games.
  • Minnesota is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games as a favorite.
  • New Orleans is 18-1 SU in its last 19 October games.
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