Thursday Night NFL Picks: Vikings & Cardinals to Go 'Under' the Total

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, December 10, 2015 6:21 PM GMT

There could be an NFL Playoff preview on Thursday Night Football, but with one side expected to do most of the scoring, look at the ‘under’ for your NFL picks as the Vikings visit the Cardinals.

 

As has become almost routine on Thursday Night Football over the past two months or so, expect another relatively low scoring game again this week when the still playoff hopeful Minnesota Vikings (8-4, 9-3 ATS) head into the desert as they pay a visit to the NFC West leading Arizona Cardinals (10-2, 7-5 ATS) at University of Phoenix Stadium in Phoenix, AZ at 8:25 ET in a game televised nationally on NFL Network.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 46 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -101.

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2837181, "sportsbooksIds":[169,1096,93,19,92,238], "LineTypeId":3, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]
Free NFL Pick: Under 46
Best Odds Offered By Bookmaker

 

Lost Badly to Another NFL West Team
The Vikings entered last week at a sparkling 9-2 ATS, but they were embarrassed at home 38-7 by the two-time defending Seattle Seahawks, and they probably deserved to get shut out as their only score came on a kickoff return. Skeptics that have been boohooing the Minnesota record have often cited the Vikings schedule, so now facing the NFL West leaders after getting blown out by the second place team in that division is a bad omen.

That loss also dropped the Vikings out of the NFC North Division lead and into a wild card spot. Minnesota is in a virtual tie with Green Bay at 8-4, but the Packers own the tiebreaker by virtue of their win in Minnesota a few weeks ago.

The Cardinals meanwhile have now been the winning NFL picks in six straight games and they are the second seeds in the NFC at 10-2, two games behind the undefeated Carolina Panthers for the top spot. Arizona surprisingly leads the NFL in scoring this season with 31.8 points per game, but the defense is also among the best in the league with the Cardinals fourth in points against at 19.3 per game and also fourth in total defense at 316.8 yards per contest.

 

Now Will Vikings Generate Offense?
Minnesota is going from facing one elite defense on Sunday to another one here four days later, and we expect the offense to struggle just as much as it did against the Seahawks. After all, the Vikings are actually dead last in the NFL in total offense with 315.8 yards per game overall and passing offense with only 179.1 yards per game through the air, as the Minnesota strategy has been to hand the ball off to Adrian Peterson as much as possible.

Admittedly, that is not such a bad idea considering that Peterson has not missed a step after being suspended for all but the opening game of last season, as he currently leads the NFL in rushing again with his 1182 yards on a fat 4.8 yards per carry. However, the Vikings have nothing to fall back on when Peterson is contained, or as was the case vs. Seattle, stopped altogether as he had a season-low 18 rushing yards on just eight carries.

Granted those limited amount of carries had to do with the Vikings falling so far behind, thus forcing Teddy Bridgewater to the air. However, Bridgewater seems to have regressed quite a bit from his fine rookie season last year, so Minnesota will undoubtedly try to get the ball to Peterson early and often tonight in an attempt to avoid falling into another deep hole.

Do not expect the Vikings to abandon the run as quickly as they did last week either, even if Peterson does not have much success immediately vs. a fifth ranked Arizona rushing defense allowing just 89.1 yards per game on the ground. So, as long as Minnesota stays committed to the run, it would be an obvious boon to the ‘under’ in this spot.

 

Wounded Cardinals
The sixth straight win by the Cardinals was a 27-3 cakewalk vs. what is now a dead Rams team on Sunday, but Arizona may actually face some resistance tonight vs. a Minnesota defense that is fifth in the NFL in points against at 19.3 per game. Besides, the fact that St. Louis is basically just going through the motions these days helped hide the fact that the Cardinals are rather beat up at the offensive skill positions right now.

Arizona is without its top two running backs in Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington, meaning that third string rookie David Johnson is carrying the load right now. Yes, the rookie has looked great whenever called upon this season including rushing for 99 yards on 22 carries on Sunday, but the Cardinals could ill afford to wear him out with Kerwynn William just about the only running back left to back him up.

And while the top three wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald (ankle), John Brown (hamstring) and Michael Floyd (fingers, hamstring) are probable for this game, all are nursing nagging injuries that could be the main reason the Cardinals have now gone back-to-back games without reaching 30 points for just the second time this year. Yes, the Cardinals should score enough points to win this game but they may not score enough to push it ‘over’ if the Vikings’ offense struggles again.

 

Thursday Night Football ‘Under’ Streak
Finally, the ‘under’ is currently on a 6-1 run in Thursday Night Football games this year, and that run should probably be at 7-0, as it took that incredulous Hail Mary touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Richard Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers on an untimed down at the end of the game last week to snap a six-game Thursday Night ‘under’ streak.

We understand that run has no bearing on this game in and of itself, but there are enough indicators for the ‘under’ here to continue that fine Thursday Night Football ‘under’ run when Minnesota visits Arizona on NFL Network.