Vikings vs Bengals Odds, Picks, and Predictions Week 15: Higgins Teeing Off

Considering how deflated the Bengals were when Burrow went down with a season-ending injury, Jake Browning has come in and held his own. Against a mediocre Vikings secondary, our NFL betting picks expect one Bengals receiver to have a big game.

Dec 16, 2023 • 11:23 ET • 4 min read
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This article contains predictions for an old game!

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I’m sure your Saturday “to-do list” features the usual tasks. Groceries. Laundry. Vacuuming.

I don’t think anyone’s list would have had “Bet on Nick Mullens vs. Jake Browning” before the Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals lost their respective star quarterbacks.

But here we are.

The Bengals play host to the Vikings today in a matinee — the first of three games on the day — and bookies have installed Cincinnati as a short home favorite.

The crazy thing is, despite these teams being down to their backup QBs, both sides are still somehow in the postseason mix.

I dive into the NFL odds for this non-conference clash and give my best NFL picks and predictions for Vikings at Bengals on Saturday, December 16.

Also make sure to check out our Vikings vs. Bengals prop picks and Ja'Marr Chase spotlight!

Vikings vs Bengals odds

Vikings vs Bengals predictions

The Minnesota Vikings aren’t the only team with starting skill players showing up on the injury report.

The Cincinnati Bengals enter Week 15 with question marks around Ja’Marr Chase and Tyler Boyd, who were limited in practice Wednesday and have a short week to get right due to Saturday’s schedule.

That leaves Tee Higgins as the top option, should those WRs sit out or be slowed by injury.

Higgins is playing in just his third game back after missing time due to a hamstring injury and he’s trying to build a better report with Browning after a total of only seven targets in the last two games.

Higgins made the most of those looks, however, snatching two of four targets in last week’s win over the Colts, one for 46 yards and the other for 26 yards. That effort topped his prop total of 40.5 receiving yards last weekend.

His receiving yard total for Week 15 has been bouncing around with the unknown status of Cincy’s other pass-catching options but has climbed to 39.5 yards O/U.

Player projections for Higgins are ranging but all sit north of this total. Some models call for 50-plus yards through the air with the ceiling at 64.4 yards. My number comes out to just beyond 52 yards – and that’s before any adjustments to who will or will not be out in Week 15.

Minnesota will throw a ton of blitzes at Jake Browning and try to disrupt his rhythm. But, even though it is a small sample size, the Bengals' backup has not been rattled easily. Browning averages 9.1 yards per completion when blitzed along with three touchdown passes.

Considering his Week 15 forecast and the possibility of Higgins jumping up the depth chart to WR1 or WR2 with Chase and Boyd banged up, he could knock this 39.5-yard total out with just a couple of catches.

My best bet: Tee Higgins Over 39.5 receiving yards (-114 at FanDuel)
Picks made at time of writing may not reflect live odds.

Vikings vs Bengals same-game parlay

Tee Higgins Over 39.5 receiving yards

Joe Mixon anytime TD

Jake Browning Under 240.5 passing yards

Higgins’ projections are very positive and there’s a high ceiling if Chase and Boyd are out or slowed.

Joe Mixon has been a monster on the ground and through the air. He’s scored in six of his last seven games.

Browning will feel the heat from an aggressive Vikings defense and that could have him hurrying or handing off. Most projections sit below the 240.5-yard total.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Vikings vs Bengals spread and Over/Under analysis

With the Bengals winning two straight games with Browning at the wheel, sportsbooks opened Cincinnati as a 4-point favorite. That spread has come down off that spot and dropped to as low as Bengals -2.5 Wednesday afternoon.

Minnesota is coming off a win in Week 14… sort of. The Vikings won a war of attrition in Las Vegas, finally cracking the scoreboard with a field goal in the two minutes to steal a 3-0 road victory.

Minnesota benched QB2 Josh Dobbs after he failed to move the chains last Sunday, putting an end to his three-game stint for the Vikes. Kevin O’Connell turned the keys over to Nick Mullens, who went 9 for 13 passing for 83 yards and that was enough to earn the starting role in Week 15.

Mullens may not have much around him. Top receiver Justin Jefferson lasted less than two quarters into his return from a hamstring ailment, leaving the game with a chest injury. Jefferson is questionable on the short week as is Vikings RB Alexander Mattison and a slew of starters on the offensive line.

As for Cincinnati, Browning is doing his best Joe Burrow impression and getting a big help from the Bengals skill players. He hit nine different targets for a completion in the 34-14 win over Indianapolis in Week 14, finishing with 275 passing yards.

The Cincy ground game has also taken the pressure off Browning, with veteran RB Joe Mixon doing damage on the ground and through the air. Mixon has 184 yards rushing and 139 yards receiving in Browning’s last three starts.

The Vikings’ defense throws the kitchen sink at the Bengals’ backup, with coordinator Brian Flores dialing up the blitz at the highest rate in the NFL (47.4%). That aggressive approach is paying off in recent weeks, as the Vikes rank No. 1 in EPA allowed per play since Week 6.

Minnesota has gone 2-6 Over/Under in that eight-game span and sits 3-10 O/U on the season. The Bengals enter Week 15 with a 7-6 O/U count, having topped the total in four of their last five contests.

Saturday’s total hit the board at 40 points and has slimmed as low as 38.5 points before buyback on the Over moved it to 39.5. Covers Consensus shows 57% of picks on the Over.

Vikings vs Bengals betting trend to know

The Vikings have played Under in three straight, shifting their Over/Under record to 3-10 Over/Under on the season – best Under bet in the NFC. Find more NFL betting trends for Vikings vs. Bengals.

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Vikings vs Bengals game info

Location: Paycor Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
Date: Saturday, December 16, 2023
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET
TV: NFL Network
Opening odds: Bengals -4, O/U 39.5

Vikings vs Bengals latest injuries

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