Vikings vs Lions Week 14 Picks and Predictions: Minnesota Gets Exposed

The Vikings look like the team to beat at first glance, but their record is a bit hollow, and the Lions have been playing much better of late. See why our NFL picks are siding with the line movement here in Week 14.

Last Updated: Dec 11, 2022 8:10 AM ET Read Time: 4 min

The Minnesota Vikings can clinch the NFC North title on Sunday, but only if they can go on the road and beat the rapidly improving Detroit Lions in Week 14.

While the Vikings haven’t been blowing out opponents, they are 10-2, which is the second-best record in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Lions may be just 5-7, but Detroit is 4-1 in its last five games.

Detroit comes into this game as a slight favorite, despite the vast difference in these two teams’ records. We’ll figure out if this is justified in our NFL picks and predictions for Vikings vs. Lions on December 11.

Vikings vs Lions best odds

Vikings vs Lions picks and predictions

The Vikings have the biggest divisional lead of any team in the NFL, five games ahead of Detroit heading into Sunday’s game. Barring one of the greatest collapses in sports history, Minnesota will win the division and get a home game in the first round of the playoffs.

Yet there is a perception that the Vikings aren’t nearly as good as their record suggests. Perhaps it’s because Minnesota has gotten each of its last nine wins by a single score. Maybe it’s the 40-3 drubbing they suffered at the hands of the Cowboys three weeks ago. Or maybe it’s simply the roster, which doesn’t seem to stack up favorably against the other leading Super Bowl contenders.

The underlying numbers aren’t terribly kind to Minnesota, either. The Vikings have put up a point differential of just +10 this year. For sake of comparison, the Lions have played to a -9 point differential, and that’s mostly a function of their early season struggles. Over the past few weeks, The Lions have arguably been as good — if not better — than the Vikings overall.

There are some significant matchup problems for Minnesota in Sunday’s game as well. The Vikings have had the worst passing defense in the NFL this year, giving up an average of 283.6 yards per game through the air. That comes at the perfect time for Jared Goff, who threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns against the Jacksonville Jaguars last week. Over his last five games, Goff has thrown seven touchdowns and just a single interception and should be able to push the ball down the field against Minnesota.

It's probably worth looking at the first meeting between these two teams as well, which came in Minnesota back in September. The Lions held a 10-point lead heading into the fourth quarter before Kirk Cousins led Minnesota to two late scores and a 28-24 win. Goff was effective in that game, throwing for 277 yards and a touchdown in the loss. 

Given the trajectory of these two teams, it’s not surprising that oddsmakers are expecting a close game. You might be surprised to find that the Lions are the favorite here, but on a deeper look, it makes perfect sense. Minnesota has been getting away with playing very little defense all year long, managing to pull out games in a manner that seems more about variance than any special ability to win one-score games on a regular basis. 

The Vikings are far from a bad team, but they’re not nearly as good as their record suggests. The Lions aren’t going to win the Super Bowl this year, but are playing like a legitimate playoff team, even if their slow start will make it difficult for Detroit to get there. This is a game that the Lions should win at home, and I’m taking them even giving a couple of points.

My best bet: Lions -1.5 (-110 at BetMGM)

Best Vikings vs Lions bonuses

Looking to bet on some NFL action? Here are two of the best bonuses* available:

A) Dalvin Cook, Jamaal Williams, and Justin Jefferson each to score a TD BOOSTED to +600 (was +550) at bet365! Bet Now

B) New users at DraftKings can bet $5 and get $150 in free bets! Sign Up Now

*Eligible USA locations only. Also, check out our full list of NFL promo codes for 2022.

Vikings vs Lions spread analysis

Detroit opened this game as a slight underdog, with some sites offering lines in the range of Vikings -1.5 last week. However, bettors have poured money in on the Detroit side, and books are now split between Lions -1.5 or Lions -2 as the primary spread on this game.

Some of that movement may be sharp bettors understanding that the Lions and Vikings are probably two of the most misevaluated teams in the NFL right now. I made the terrible mistake of picking Minnesota to beat the Cowboys outright a few weeks ago, so I’m well aware that this team isn’t as good as the public thinks.

There’s another factor at play, however. The Vikings have reported an illness spreading around their roster, with five players missing practice on Wednesday. However, there has been no report of any spread of the ailment, and as of Thursday, three of the five players were back at practice.

As I wrote about above, I’m on the Lions to win this game and cover the modest spread. However, if you’re doing your own handicapping, I’d advise you not to factor this illness issue into your calculations. With no new players coming down sick and all of the remaining victims on the injury report as probable for Sunday, this story looks to be much ado about nothing.

The Lions should beat the Vikings, but it won’t be because of any mysterious sickness in the Minnesota camp.

Vikings vs Lions Over/Under analysis

The total on Sunday’s game opened at 52 points. As of Friday evening, that number had come down to about 51.5, but there hasn’t been much movement in the Over/Under as a whole.

That may be a big number, but that’s what happens when two of the worst defenses in the NFL go head-to-head. I’ve already talked about Minnesota’s struggles against the passing game, but the Lions aren’t doing a great job of stopping opponents, either. Detroit gives up 27 points per game, the highest mark in the NFL. Like the Vikings, the Lions also struggle against the aerial attack, giving up 252.5 yards per game through the air. 

Detroit has been a bit better on defense during their recent hot streak. Over the past five games, the Lions are giving up just 19.8 points per game. That does include a 15-9 win over the Green Bay Packers, who are struggling to score points against most opponents. Still, it’s a move in the right direction for a unit that got off to a rough start this season.

It’s probably no coincidence that the Over/Under has been set to a number almost identical to the 52 points that these two teams played to in their first meeting. With Detroit finding a bit more success on the defensive side of the ball, I’ll be backing the Under, though I think there’s less value here than in simply backing the Lions.

Vikings vs Lions betting trend to know

The Lions are 5-0 against the spread in their last five games. Find more NFL betting trends for Vikings vs. Lions.

Vikings vs Lions game info

Location: Ford Field, Detroit, MI
Date: Sunday, December 11, 2022
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET
Opening odds: Lions +1.5, 52

Vikings vs Lions latest injuries

Vikings vs Lions weather

Monitor gametime conditions with our live NFL weather info and learn how weather impacts NFL betting.

Pages related to this topic

Popular Content

Legal Canadian sports betting

Best Canadian betting sites Ontario sports betting
Covers 25 Years Logo Established in 1995,
Covers is the world
leader in sports
betting information.
Covers is verified safe by: Evalon Logo GPWA Logo GDPR Logo GeoTrust Logo Evalon Logo