New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings (-5.5, 47)
The Minnesota Vikings defeated the visiting New Orleans Saints in their season opener and have won five straight at U.S. Bank Stadium heading into the teams' NFC divisional round contest on Sunday. The Vikings are banking their home success pays dividends as they continue their pursuit of becoming the first team to host a Super Bowl when they face off against Drew Brees and the Saints.
Case Keenum watched as Sam Bradford earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors after throwing for 346 yards and three touchdowns in the 29-19 win over the Saints on Sept. 11 before the journeyman quarterback was ushered into action. Keenum became a dark-horse NFL MVP candidate after recording career highs in completions (325), attempts (481), yards (3,547), touchdowns (22) and passer rating (98.3) while posting an 11-3 mark as a starter. "I always root for guys like that, kind of the undersized guy coming out that nobody wants to give any credit and just always plays with a chip on his shoulder," said Brees, who is a sentimental darling in his own right as he approaches his 39th birthday. Brees penned one of his best performance of the season last weekend by throwing for 376 yards and two touchdowns as the Saints defeated the Carolina Panthers for the third time this season with a 31-26 win in the wild-card game.
TV: 4:40 p.m. ET, FOX.
LINE HISTORY: Oddsmakers opened the Vikings as 3.5-point faves and that wasn't enough for bettors as money came in on the home team pushing that line as high as 5.5, where it currently sits. The total hit the board at 44.5 and has been bet up to 47. Check out the complete line history here.
WHAT BOOKS SAY: "No surprise that the public is siding with the Saints to the tune of 70 percent. Over the last 48 hours the sharps have jumped all over Minnesota. The over in this game is our biggest total liability thus far. Sharps and squares love the over, and it’s the most wagered option by the wiseguys in the Divisional Playoffs thus far." - Scott Cooley, odds consultant for offshore sportsbook Bookmaker.eu.
WEATHER REPORT: Dome
Saints - DT Tony McDaniel (Questionable, Leg), OT Andrus Peat (Out Indefinitely, Shin), FB John Kuhn (Questionable, Bicep), TE Garrett Griffin (I-R, Foot), DE Hau'oli Kikaha (I-R, Ankle), DT John Hughes (I-R, Biceps), S Kenny Vaccaro (I-R, Wrist), LB A.J. Klein (I-R, Groin), NT David Parry (I-R, Ankle), DL Mitchell Loewen (I-R, Ankle), TE Coby Fleener (I-R, Concussion).
Vikings - C Pat Elflein (Probable, Shoulder), TE Kyle Rudolph (Probable, Ankle), DB Tramaine Brock (Questionable, Foot), DT Shamar Stephen (Questionable, Ankle), FB C.J. Ham (Questionable, Neck), QB Sam Bradford (Doubtful, Knee), LS Kevin McDermott (I-R, Shoulder), C Nick Easton (I-R, Ankle), TE Blake Bell (I-R, Shoulder).
ABOUT THE SAINTS (12-5 SU, 9-8 ATS, 10-7 O/U): Like Minnesota, New Orleans also changed quite a bit after the season opener as former Vikings great Adrian Peterson was jettisoned to Arizona in favor of the two-pronged attack of Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara. The potent pair became the first running back duo in league history to gain more than 1,500 yards from scrimmage and helped New Orleans lead the NFL with 4.7 yards per carry and 23 rushing touchdowns. Kamara finished second among running backs in catches with 81 during the regular season, but had just one against the Panthers last weekend. Michael Thomas more than picked up the slack, however, reeling in eight of nine targets for 131 yards in his playoff debut.
ABOUT THE VIKINGS (13-3 SU, 11-5 ATS, 7-9 O/U): Swapping quarterbacks isn't Minnesota's only notable change from the season opener as Latavius Murray's workload was nondescript before impressive rookie Dalvin Cook saw his season end due to an ACL injury. Murray recorded eight touchdowns in his last 10 games of the season while fellow running back Jerick McKinnon reeled in 43 of his 51 receptions over the last 12. Wideout Stefon Diggs found the end zone on two occasions in the first meeting with the Saints and scored a touchdown in each of the last three games of the season.
* Saints are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
* Vikings are 11-1 ATS in their last 12 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
* Over is 13-3 in Saints last 16 games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game.
* Over is 5-0-1 in the last 6 meetings in Minnesota.
* Favorite is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The Covers public is siding with the road dog Saints at a rate of 62 percent and the Over is getting 57 percent of the totals action on Covers. View full consensus data here.