Vikings vs Lions Week 13 Picks and Predictions: 'Sota Plays Down Again

The Detroit Lions remain winless and don't look any closer to finding that first victory, but the Minnesota Vikings are a good spot for Detroit to cover the NFL betting spread — find out more with our picks and predictions.

Last Updated: Dec 3, 2021 7:23 PM ET Read Time: 5 min
Alexander Mattison Minnesota Vikings NFL
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions head into Week 13 of the NFL season still looking for their first win of the year, as they welcome the Minnesota Vikings to Ford Field.

The Lions came close to that elusive victory when they locked horns with the Vikings earlier this year but oddsmakers aren't expecting them to get it this week, with NFL betting lines installing Detroit as a 7.5-point home underdog.

Here are our best free Vikings vs. Lions NFL picks and predictions for Sunday, December 5 with kickoff at 1 p.m. ET. 

Vikings vs Lions odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

The line for this game opened with the Vikings as 6.5-point favorites with the Over/Under at 47.5. The line has since moved past the key number to Vikings -7.5 while the total has ticked down to 46.5.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full NFL odds before placing your bets.

Vikings vs Lions predictions

Predictions made on 12/3/2021 at 12:15 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Vikings vs Lions game info

Location: Ford Field, Detroit, MI
Date: Sunday, December 5, 2021
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
TV: CBS

Vikings at Lions betting preview

Weather

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Key injuries

Vikings: Anthony Barr LB (Out), Eric Kendricks LB (Out), Camryn Bynum S (Out), Dalvin Cook RB (Out), Kellen Mond QB (Out), Ihmir Smith-Marsette WR (Out), Christian Darrisaw T (Out), Danielle Hunter DE (Out), Irv Smith TE (Out).
Lions: Matt Nelson T (Out), Trinity Benson WR (Out), David Blough QB (Out), John Penisini DT (Out), Jalen Reeves-Maybin LB (Out), Bobby Price CB (Out), Jalen Reeves-Maybin LB (Out), D'Andre Swift RB (Out), AJ Parker CB (Out), Da'Shawn Hand DL (Out), Jeffrey Okudah CB (Out), Frank Ragnow C (Out), Quintez Cephus WR (Out), Romeo Okwara DE (Out).

Find our latest NFL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Vikings are 1-8 ATS in their last nine games as a favorite while the Lions are 4-1 ATS in their previous five contests as an underdog. Find more NFL betting trends for Vikings vs. Lions.

Vikings vs Lions picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

Let's just get this out of the way immediately: the Detroit Lions are awful. If you want to get into the numbers, they're 30th in the league in offensive DVOA according to Football Outsiders (32nd in passing DVOA), 28th in defensive DVOA, and have an average scoring margin of minus-10.5 points per game.

However, there is one thing the Lions have been good at: covering the big spreads placed in front of them. Despite going 0-10-1 SU, Detroit has gone 7-4 ATS. The Lions have been keeping things close in games they had no business staying in, including a Week 5 matchup in Minnesota where they lost on a last-second 54-yard field goal. The Vikes were missing Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook in that contest and will likely be without him again as he recovers from a dislocated shoulder. 

The Vikings are banged up and struggling on defense lately, especially on the ground, where they rank 29th in the league in defensive rush DVOA. The Lions might be without running back D'Andre Swift but Jamaal Williams is finally at 100 percent and if there's one thing Detroit coach Dan Campbell, likes it's running the football.

On paper, Minnesota, even with a 5-6 SU record and coming off a loss against the 49ers, is far better than the winless Lions. But the Vikes have struggled against inferior opponents, going 1-8 ATS in their last nine games as chalk and 0-6 ATS in their previous six contests against teams with a losing record. With this spread now creeping past a TD, grab the home side with the points. 

Prediction: Lions +7.5 (-110)

The Vikes have a strong aerial attack, led by quarterback Kirk Cousins and wideout Justin Jefferson, but they scored just 19 points as a team and picked up only 18 first downs when these squads met up earlier this season. 

The Lions have also been scrappy on defense lately, limiting foes to 5.2 yards per play and 16 points or fewer in their last three games. 

While the Lions have been playing tough on defense they've been so maddeningly conservative on offense that it makes you wish you could hurl your beer at Campell, even if that would mean getting pummeled by the former tight end.

Quarterback Jared Goff is last in the league in both average completed air yards (3.6) and average intended air yards (6.2), and even if he could sling the ball downfield, he doesn't have any receivers that can create separation.

It's also worth mentioning that both of these offenses take way too many penalties. With the Under going 8-1 in the Lions' last nine games, that's the direction we're leaning for Sunday.

Prediction: Under 46.5 (-110)

We bet the Under on the Lions team total last week when it was also set at 19.5, and it cashed despite the Lions scoring a touchdown on their opening drive. The Vikings haven't played well defensively in recent weeks but they should be able to contain a pathetic Detroit offense that ranks 29th in the league with 305.4 yards per game. 

They should be able to put the heat on Goff and limit a Detroit offense that is so conservative that it ran the ball on 3rd and 30+ yards twice last week. Even when the Lions' offense occasionally seems to find a rhythm, their drives often get stalled by dumb penalties. 

The Lions actually haven't gone Over this number since Week 1 and even that was a fluke since they scored 16 points in the final two minutes of the game during garbage time. 

Pick: Lions team total Under 19.5 (-115)

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