The Vikings actually avoided a second half collapse last week and won their first game of the season in a 34-10 rout over Arizona, while the Bears looked awful in a 24-13 loss to the Lions Monday night in a game that did not seem as close as the final score.
The oddsmakers have installed the Bears as (-3) favorites here with the total set at 41½. While we understand that the line is probably right with Chicago being home, we are looking for a Minnesota upset Sunday night.
1. Why Minnesota will cover the spread: The Minnesota strengths seem to match up very well with the Chicago weaknesses here, so the Vikings don’t need to do much more than execute their normal game plan well to not only cover this spread, but win outright. The Vikings have a great pass run and the Bears are still having offensive line issues, so Jay Cutler should be under constant pressure all game just as he was Monday night.
On the other side of the ball, the Chicago run defense was just gashed by Jahvid Best, so just imagine what one of the elite running backs in the NFL in Adrian Peterson could do after rushing for 122 yards and three touchdowns in the Vikes’ win vs. the Cardinals. Look for another run-heavy game plan this week from the visitors.
2. Why Chicago will cover the spread: Speaking of stressing the run, the Bears will cover this spread if they can shorten the game by running the ball with Matt Forte and killing clock with some long drives. One reason why Monday’s game was relatively close on the scoreboard was because the Bears held the ball for 39 minutes compared to 21 minutes for the Lions, and as usual, Forte was the reason why as he followed up his 200-yard rushing performance vs. Carolina by rushing for 116 yards on 22 carries.
Few players in the NFL mean as much to their team than Forte does, and the Bears’ best defense vs. the Vikings here may be keeping Peterson on the sidelines by controlling the clock with the offense.
3. Total Talk: Another reason why the Bears won the Time of Possession battle with the Lions was because Detroit hit a lot of big plays and thus did not need much time on their scoring drives. The Vikings do not have a quick strike offense even though Peterson is capable of scoring on any play, as quarterback Donovan McNabb is past his prime and is being conservative with short throws when being asked to pass.
Thus, heavy doses of Peterson should keep the possession times much closer here, which would not only help Minnesota pull off the upset but would also favor the ‘under’.
4. Betting Trends for the game: The Vikings like to turn to their best player in Peterson when they are not expected to win, so the ‘under’ is 6-2 the last eight times they’ve gone off the betting board as underdogs. The ‘under’ is also 22-6 in the last 28 Minnesota games after scoring more than 30 points the previous game. Off a straight up loss, The Bears are 4-9-1 ATS the last 14 times and the ‘under’ has cashed 15 of the L/20 times.
5. Bears-Vikings SNF Prediction: Minnesota 24 – Chicago 13