NFL Picks: Bet Lions at Value Price of +3 at Home vs. Vikings

Mark Lathrop

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 10:09 PM GMT

Our NFL handicapper looks at this Week 7 matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions to find the value ATS, as Detroit finds themselves currently listed as a home underdog on the NFL odds.

The Minnesota Vikings travel to Detroit in Week 7 to take on the Lions, with Detroit looking to win just their second game of the season. The Detroit Lions barely hung on in Week 6 to beat the 2-4 Chicago Bears 37-34 in overtime, but found in the Bears a defense that was porous and easy to hang around with. The 37-point outburst by the Lions was by far their highest of the season, as they had scored 17 points or less in their last four games. Although I’d take those prior games with a grain of salt as they included the statistically good defenses of Denver, Seattle, and Arizona in that timeframe.

Minnesota is coming off of an uninspiring 16-10 home win over the listless Kansas City Chiefs, not exactly the dominating performance you would expect after coming off of a bye against an opponent that had won one game all season. Well you could say that for the offense anyway. The Minnesota defense is the only reason that they find themselves 3-2 this year, as they rank #2 in the league in points allowed per game at 16.6. Even with that being said, the Viking defense is middle-of-the-road in yards allowed per game in both rushing and passing. I feel some regression coming on in that points allowed per game number.

Now that it is Week 7, we are finally getting some rematches in the young NFL season. Minnesota hosted the Lions in Week 2 after getting dominated by the 49ers on the first Monday Night game of the year and won 26-16. Minnesota was a 2.5-point home favorite in that game and covered handily. Although the overall total offensive stats were very similar between the two teams in that game, the Lions had a huge case of the hairballs and coughed up the rock 3 times. You won’t win many games when you give up three possessions for free. This game also featured the ‘homecoming’ return of Minnesota running back, Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 134 yards on 29 touches.

Minnesota quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, had a very “Russell Wilson-esque” line in that game; posting passing numbers of 14-18, 153 yards with one touchdown, and adding 21 yards rushing with a rushing touchdown.

While Minnesota ran all over the Lions in that Week 2 game, Detroit has had some bright spots in run defense lately. According to SBNation’s Pride of Detroit website, in Week 6 Matt Forte had 17 carries in the 2nd half, including overtime. Thirteen of those carries went for two yards or less. Bottling up Adrian Peterson will be paramount in Detroit’s chances in this game, as Teddy Bridgewater would be forced to beat you through the air.

Speaking of the running game, Detroit is dealing with injuries to their running back corps, as Zach Zenner was lost for the season with broken ribs and a collapsed lung suffered in their Week 6 matchup versus the Bears. They should have Joique Bell back for this game, and George Winn was signed off of the practice squad to take Zenner’s roster spot. Unfortunately, the injuries on defense have been costlier, as star LB DeAndre Levy underwent hip surgery this week and has no timetable for his return.

At the end of the day, taking a look back at Week 2 and removing the randomness (i.e. the Lions turnovers) we would have had a relatively closer game. Given that the Lions are getting 3 points at home in the NFL odds board is even better. You’ll have to shop around for it, but I’m taking the home underdog Lions at +3 as one of my Week 7 NFL picks.

NFL Picks: Lions +3 at Bovada

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