NFL Picks: Vikings vs. Giants Betting the Total

Jason Lake

Monday, October 21, 2013 12:21 PM GMT

Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 12:21 PM GMT

One team’s quarterback has yet to establish a meaningful relationship with his receivers while the other team has Josh Freeman. It's tricky pair of situations, but the Week 7 NFL lines suggest we’ll see some scoring on Monday night.

Follow our complete coverage of the NFL Week 7 Monday Night Football game between the Vikings & the Giants! First, check out our Opening Odds Report!

It’s all right: Some of my best friends are New York Giants fans. And they’re not feeling too sorry for themselves overall, what with the two Super Bowl wins in the last six years and everything. But the G-Men are definitely making people feel sour these days at 0-6 SU and 1-5 ATS. So let’s take a break from worrying about the Giants and the spread. How will they do against the total this Monday night (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) when they host the Minnesota Vikings?

Short Sharp Shock

Our Week 7 NFL betting lines have a fairly run-of-the-mill total of 47.5 points up on the Monday Night Football board. And according to our consensus reports, the ‘Over’ has been getting roughly two-thirds support since the open. Hidden in those numbers, however, was an early boost for the ‘Under’ that knocked the total as low as 46 points before coming back up later in the week. Possibly a burst of sharp action from some people with deep pockets.

Casual bettors are usually happy to pound the ‘Over’ on just about any matchup, but they’ll be even happier to know that the Vikings have the ‘Over’ at a perfect 5-0, while the Giants have seen some pretty big scores themselves at 4-2. So why would anyone bet the ‘Under’ this week? Let me introduce you to a man named Josh.

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Take Your Ritalin

The Vikings aren’t wasting any time putting Josh Freeman under center. He was signed on October 6th; 10 days later, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers refugee was named the starter for Monday’s matchup with the Giants. That’s not a lot of time to pick up a team’s playbook. The original plan was reportedly to give Freeman two weeks to learn the offense, but the timetable was moved up after Minnesota’s 35-10 loss to the Carolina Panthers (+2.5 away).

But how much of a difference can Freeman make to this offense? Matt Cassel hasn’t been stellar since replacing the injured Christian Ponder, but Cassel’s plus-21 passing DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) was better than Miami’s Ryan Tannehill (plus-6) through Week 6. Freeman posted minus-67 passing DYAR for the Buccaneers before his release. He’s got some work to do.

Interested in the point spread? Read Jordan's Sharp's Vikings vs. Giants Betting the Spread breakdown!

Hot Potato

Even if the Minnesota playbook is simplified to “Hand the ball off to Adrian Peterson,” that’s not going to be an instant winner. Peterson has been held out of practice for most of the week, ostensibly with a hamstring injury, and he’s down from 6.0 yards per carry last year to 4.7 yards. It won’t help the Viking cause if LT Ryan Kalil (back) can’t play at full capacity, either.

We’ve also seen the G-Men have their issues on offense, most clearly illustrated by QB Eli Manning’s league-leading 15 interceptions. The main reason both these teams have made the ‘Over’ such a profitable sports pick is on the other side of the ball; New York is ranked No. 24 in defensive efficiency at Football Outsiders, with Minnesota at No. 27. Fitting, because no team has scored fewer than 27 points against the Vikings (or the Giants) this year.

I’ll be taking the ‘Under’ for my NFL picks anyway. New York has faced some tough offenses this season, none tougher than the Denver Broncos. Playing a Minnesota team that’s breaking in a new quarterback should be just the tonic the Big Blue defense needs. Maybe that and a case of Maker’s Mark.

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NFL Pick: Take the Vikings/Giants Monday Night game UNDER 47.5 points, available at William Hill

For an alternate view on this game, check out Steven Suarez's Viking vs. Giants in Week 7!

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