NFL Odds Have Moderate Lines on Both Markets
The oddsmakers are still leery of both the Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos. Denver opened as a three-point favorite and the public bet that down to two. The total has stayed put at 43.5 points. So where is the edge? With these NFL teams getting by with the skins of their teeth, they share a few things in common. That impacts the totals and why we focus on that in this Vikings vs Broncos Game preview.
Location: Empower Field at Mile High, Denver, CO
Minnesota Getting Some Love
We can’t blame the public for siding with Minnesota on the early NFL odds this week. The Vikings have won and covered five straight games. Three of these wins also came via upsets and even a change in quarterback, from Kirk Cousins to Joshua Dobbs, has not slowed down this money train.
So bettors hope for a third straight upset as Minnesota visits Denver, where the Broncos are just 2-4 against the spread (ATS) in their last six games. But one of these wins came against Kansas City and it emphasized Denver’s defenses’ turnaround.
Vikings Prove 2022 Was no Fluke
Minnesota’s 2022 NFL season was an interesting one as the team won 13 games with 11 coming by eight points or fewer. Now, five of their six wins have come via the same way. That tells us that Kevin O’Connell and co. are great at executing in crucial positions. Otherwise, Minnesota has plenty of alarming stats.
The team is -3 in turnover differential, has a poor running game (3.7 yards per carry), and the defense tends to be generous while special teams has consistently been outperformed.
Minnesota has thrived off of a top-five passing attack. And Dobbs’s running ability should give O’Connell more tools at his disposal. As such, we’ve seen the total go over in the two games Dobbs played and that’s a swing in NFL scores as the six games before that all went under.
Hence, the 43.5 total is the highest the bookies have given Minnesota since its NFL matchup against San Francisco four games ago. We’re leaning on the total going over again. But it depends on how well the Broncos can Minnesota’s shape-shifting offense.
The Broncos Defense is Now its Strength
It feels like ages ago when the Broncos got their asses handed to them by Miami. Thanks to that historic beatdown, the team is still ranked last in scoring and total yards. But if we look at their last four games, the Broncos have allowed an average of just 14.2 points and 341 yards. The defense forced nine turnovers in its last two games against Kansas City and Buffalo.
“I think those guys got tired of me talking about [forcing fumbles],” Broncos coach Sean Payton said after the Bills game. “Defensively, we were on the other end of it. That was the difference tonight. Four takeaways, you finish plus-three [in the turnover margin] and you’re winning 98 percent of your games.”
That’s been key for Denver and it shows in the total: its last four games have gone under the total. That’s opposite to the four games before that. And the offense, while good enough to win games, has not scored over 24 points except against Chicago and Washington. These are two of the worst defenses.
The bookies adjusted by lowering the total to 43.5. And the last time Denver had a total this low, it went over (versus the Jets). You can sniff where this Vikings vs Broncos game preview is trending.
The Thing About Turnovers…
Not only are touting the total to go over in this Vikings vs Broncos game preview, but betting online on a prop for a special teams or defensive touchdown at over 2-1 could be a sharp side bet. Both teams have been adept at forcing turnovers. Minnesota has forced 2+ turnovers in four of its last five games. In a high-scoring game, seven or more points may come via a TO.
And the Pick is…
Don’t fear how shrewd the Broncos’ defense has been lately. The Vikings’ offense is relatively new and put up 27 points on a Saints defense that allowed that just twice all season. On the flip side, Denver should move the ball against Minnesota. The Broncos’ passing offense, which has not hit 200 yards in five straight games, will expose a vulnerable Vikings defense. With that, our NFL expert pick of the week is to bet the total to go over. Bet: Over 43.5.