Week 4 NFL Picks: Sporting a #1 Ranked Defense the Broncos -7 are a Sure Bet vs. Vikings

Joe Gavazzi

Friday, October 2, 2015 2:30 PM UTC

Friday, Oct. 2, 2015 2:30 PM UTC

The Vikings head into Denver to test themselves against the 3-0 Broncos.  At -7 odds Denvers #1 Ranked defense & with Peyton Manning under center the Broncos are a solid NFL pick.

Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos (-7)
The Minnesota Vikings travel to Denver for this 4:25 ET as one of four late games in Sunday action.  The Vikings are one of the improving teams in the NFL.  After laying a giant egg on opening night MNF at San Francisco (lost 20-3), the Vikings returned home to take care of business against the 0-3 SU Lions (26-16) and the 1-2 SU Chargers (31-14). Not many credit points there.  This is a team, who under second year HC Zimmer, is working to establish a running game and play great defense.  The Vikings finished the 2014 season on a 5-1 ATS roll, went 4-1 SU ATS in this year’s preseason, and have started strongly in the regular season.  A measure of their success is that they are rushing the ball an average of 30 times per game for 144/4.8.  History tells us that teams who run the ball 30 times a game, while their opponent does not, are an 85% ATS winner.  This year, that number is 27-4 ATS, including 11-1 ATS last week. The defense continues to be solid at 17 PPG, allowing just 5.4 YP play.  But, there are negatives for the Vikings franchise, which reflect a league wide trend.  Minnesota is just 4-20 ATS following a home win in which they scored 30 or more points.  In the inevitable ebb and flow of the NFL, the Vikings are due for a downer week.  In last week’s victory vs the Chargers, Minny outrushed San Diego 163-90, toting the ball 31 times. They were (+1) in the TO margin, a positive indicator of victory. Long-term teams with a (+1) net TO margin in a game are a 65% point spread winner.  This year, after 3 weeks of play, that number is 18-4 ATS. But, as much as the Vikings would like to believe they are reaching their goal of successfully rushing the ball and playing defense, they do not have a QB named Peyton or the best defense in the league.

That #1 defense in the league belongs to Denver.  The Broncos began their superiority on that side of the ball last season when they allowed only 309 YPG and just 81/3.6 overland. They have continued that defensive superiority this season, allowing just 16 PPG, as well as a league best 259 YPG and 4.5 YP play. They also have a rushing defense, which allows 82/3.5 to shut down what the Vikings and RB Peterson do best. In going 3-0 SU ATS, the Broncos have beaten Baltimore, Kansas City, and Detroit. That most recent victory against the Lions came on SNF, when they allowed the Lions to rush the ball just 19 times for 28 yards.  And we haven’t even touched on QB Manning, who at age 40, is winning games with his brain just as much as with his right arm. The Broncos are 17-7 ATS as home chalk of late. At 3-0 SU ATS they are in a positive situation when playing at home in a non-divisional game. The recent record of those teams is over 80% ATS.

We will back the strong home field of the Broncos, the brain and arm of Manning, the best defense in the league, and a positive situation for my NFL pick Sunday. Put the NFL odds in your favor and lay the touch with Denver.

NFL Pick: Broncos -7 (+106) at Pinnacle

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