First Half NFL Total to Consider
Unfortunately, Week 13 was not kind to us. Our first really disappointing week of the season as negative variance struck. The Pittsburgh Steelers did not turn the ball over once, and their first punt of the game came in the fourth quarter. Somehow, the Steelers did not surpass their team total or push the Falcons enough and we fall to 8-3.
Transitioning to NFL Week 14 we head to Detroit with the Lions a surprising favorite (to some) against the 10-2 Minnesota Vikings. The spread will be a talking point amongst your favorite media outlets but our focus is the total.
#1105 Vikings-Lions FIRST HALF OVER 25.5 (-110)
Market opened 51 on the total and immediately saw professional money OVER, taking it out to 54. We are back to a consensus 52 with a respected difference of opinion. Detroit home games average north of 59 points, and three of their opponents ranked Top 10 in defensive EPA per play. The Lions have been an absolute offensive wagon at Ford Field with drastic road/home splits. You could argue the Lions are also the healthiest they’ve been on offense all season.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, D.J. Chark, Josh Reynolds, and Jameson Williams are good to go and although D’Andre Swift is following his weekly tradition of being on the injury report, he and Jamal Williams are available for this crucial game with playoff implications. Offensive Cordinator Ben Johnson has been fantastic getting this Lions offense to 7th in Dropback success rate and 9th in EPA per play. Now Detroit gets a Vikings defense 24th in defensive pass efficiency.
Minnesota is dealing with injuries to their secondary after Lewis Cine, Andrew Booth Jr., and Akayleb Evans season’s were cut short. Cornerback Cameron Dantzler is eligible to come off IR but it remains to be seen if he will play. It is worth mentioning that Danielle Hunter, Harrison Smith, and Patrick Peterson are dealing with a mid-week illnesses.
Minnesota Has Good Game Scripts
Minnesota has excelled getting out early against below average defenses. In their 4 games versus defenses ranked in the bottom half of the league in EPA per play, the Vikings average 16.5 points per first half. That does not include the past two weeks against the Patriots (16) and the Jets (20). The status of left tackle Christian Darrisaw is a key, as he got a limited practice in Wednesday. With or without Darrisaw I expect Minnesota to have offensive success but it would be a bonus having the elite tackle.
Both the Lions and Vikings rank Top 8 in adjusted pace with a neutral game state. Something to consider with a spread of 2. Both secondaries have proven vulnerable although the Lions are trending well but Jeffrey Okudah their top dog is battling an illness. We can avoid the full game battle and focus specifically on the first half OVER 25.5. While it isn’t a “key” I would advise shopping as there is 24.5 (-109) available.
NFL Week 15 Look Ahead Lines
San Francisco -1 at Seattle
Cleveland -3 vs Baltimore
Minnesota -5.5 vs Indianapolis
Buffalo -6.5 vs Miami
Washington -4 vs New York Giants
New Orleans -3.5 vs Atlanta
New York Jets -3 vs Detroit
Kansas City -14 at Houston
Philadelphia -8 at Chicago
Pittsburgh -2.5 at Carolina
Dallas -6.5 at Jacksonville
Denver -1.5 vs Arizona
Los Angeles Chargers -2 vs Tennessee
Cincinnati -2.5 at Tampa Bay
Las Vegas -2 vs New England
Green Bay -9 vs Los Angeles Rams