It’s Thanksgiving Day, which to me, means football and betting on the NFL. These days there is football all day long, with an early game, afternoon game, and a night matchup. The Detroit Lions have played at home on every Thanksgiving since 1934. The game was originally scheduled as a gimmick to get fans out attending Lions’ games, but football on Thanksgiving has evolved into something much bigger than just a gimmick. The Lions have played in multiple venues since then, won a NFL Championship in the 1950’s, and the fact still remains that this is the biggest game on the docket in the regular season for the Lions. There haven’t been all too many with serious implications on the line, though. However, this Thanksgiving is going to be a whopper of an important game for the Lions. Detroit is currently 1st in the NFC North, but the Vikings are right there with the same record of 6-4.
They seem to be teams heading in opposite directions, but all it takes is one game to get people thinking differently. The Lions have had ample chances to find some success in recent years and win a playoff game. We could say, though, that the NFL and refs robbed them against the Cowboys a couple years back in the playoffs. Without going into too many specifics, the refs picked up a flag on a blatant pass interference which would have put the ball around the 25-30 yard line of the Cowboys. It was a hard blow for the Lions, a team who has had their fair share of heartbreak.
The Lions squeaked into the playoffs as a wildcard in that particular year. This year they have the division championship staring them in the face. With a record of 6-4 at the moment, winning the division looks like the only way in. The Packers are trying to figure out an identity, the Vikings are banged up and have regressed from the start of the year, and the Bears are the Bears. In other words, the NFC North is there for the taking. For the Vikings, though, all they need is a win today and they’ll find themselves 1st in the division. In what I see coming down to the last week of the season, a win for either team is going to be monumental. Thanksgiving is always a day to have fun in Detroit downtown at the Lions’ game. This season’s edition is especially important, as they welcome the Vikings to Ford Field for some Thanksgiving football.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions NFL Betting Odds:
vs. Lions -1(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Vikings vs. Lions Pick:
For the Vikings, this season has just been one collection of unfortunate events. One after the other, the Vikings are dealt a bad hand. Teddy Bridgewater, Adrian Peterson, and now the Vikes are dealing with an injured Stefon Diggs. Diggs enters Thursday as questionable, and most reports are indicating that he unlikely to play. With all of the pieces together in Minnesota, this could be a very good offense. Look at last season, where the Vikings were hot on offense behind Bridgewater. While Sam Bradford is doing all he can, after the Vikes traded for him following the Bridgewater injury, it’s a difficult spot playing behind this offensive line.
Bridgewater is capable of scrambling and doing what he does on his legs. Bradford, though, not so much. Nonetheless, he isn’t being blamed for anything in really the first time of his career. With a solid offensive line in Minnesota, I do wonder where he’d be right now. Bradford has passed for 12 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, an extremely underrated mark this season, as he has saved the season for the Vikings essentially. They signed him out of desperation and have gotten better than expected results. Bradford will look for another satisfactory performance today in Detroit on Thursday afternoon.
However, like I said earlier, the Vikings are probably going to be down the most explosive player in the arsenal. And while Bradford has played well, this isn’t the most explosive offense in the world. Minnesota are 32nd in total offense, yes dead last! Bradford is playing some of the most fundamentally sound football of his career, yet he is running an offense last in the NFL. It’s about the defense in Minnesota, with a defensive unit which ranks 3rd in the league. They are also 3rd defending the pass, so Matthew Stafford needs to be in his element this afternoon. Without a true number 1 in his offense, Stafford has flourished in this offense, establishing what I see as a top 5 quarterback in the NFL. He has thrown for 18 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, including a quarterback rating of 101.8. But still, like the Vikings, the Lions are just 25th in the NFL in yards per game and scoring 23.1 points per game. The Vikings are coming off a 30-24 win last week, and meanwhile the Lions beat the Jaguars 22-16. The Lions have scored at least 20 points in seven of ten games this season. Additionally, the Vikes have scored 20 or more in six of ten. This is a low hanging total with both teams having little time to prepare. The game is a coin flip, but I envision a 20-23, 21-24, or 20-24 kind of final. I expect turnovers to get this one OVER the total.
PICK: OVER 41.5 POINTS (-110)