Saints vs. Vikings: Week 16 NFL Betting Preview – December 25, 2020

Posted By Staff on December 25, 2020

The Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints will face off at Mercedes-Benz Superdome for an NFC showdown on Christmas Day, Friday, Dec. 25. The game will mark the 36th meeting in a series the Vikings lead 23-12. The most recent game between the teams was a memorable NFC Wild Card matchup in January of this year, a contest the Vikings won, 26-20, in overtime.

In that contest, Kirk Cousins and Drew Brees threw for a touchdown a piece, with Cousins’ one scoring toss a game-winning one to veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph in the extra period. Star running backs Dalvin Cook and Alvin Kamara were held to 3.3 and 3.0 yards per carry, respectively, but the former found the end zone twice.

The betting insights in this article reflect betting data from DraftKings as of December 22, 2020, 1:41 PM ET. See table below for current betting odds and CLICK HERE to bet at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Saints vs Vikings Betting Odds

 

The Saints may have dropped their second straight game with a loss to the Chiefs in Week 15, but New Orleans got Brees back into action after a four-game absence due to rib and lung injuries. New Orleans is still a 10-win team with an elite defense and Brees should feel more comfortable with a game under his belt.

Meanwhile, the Vikings have four fewer victories and have been seemingly playing catch-up all season. They are on the brink of official postseason elimination, making this a critical contest.

Oddsmakers are placing plenty of faith in New Orleans’ superior talent level. The Saints are currently listed at .

The line for the contest has essentially remained steady, and any movement it’s seen has been in the Saints’ favor. New Orleans originally opened as a 6.5-point favorite late last week. The line was up to 7.5 by Sunday afternoon, dipped back to 6.5 as of Sunday evening and then bumped back up to 7.0 on both DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook as of Wednesday afternoon.

The projected total for the contest has had an even more reliable trajectory. The number checked in as high as 52.0 points as of Sunday and was 51.5 as of Wednesday afternoon. It is currently .

Saints vs Vikings Props

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Saints vs Vikings matchup

A matchup against a Chiefs team that’s been among the best in the league at limited wide receiver production all season likely wasn’t the ideal spot to bring Brees back for, but the tough matchup likely served its purpose. After a particularly rough first half against Kansas City, Brees appeared to begin hitting his stride in the second half and likely worked off any rust in the process, which could shape up as bad news for Minnesota despite the fact the future Hall of Fame signal-caller remains without top target Michael Thomas (ankle) for the rest of the regular season.

The Vikings offense has an unenviable challenge. Even with the last two aforementioned losses, the Saints defense is still allowing the third-fewest total yards per game (306.4), including the fifth-fewest passing yards (210.9) and fourth fewest rushing yards (95.6) per contest. New Orleans has also been one of the best units in the league at forcing turnovers, having taken the ball away 21 times (13 INTs, eight fumble recoveries). In turn, Kirk Cousins’ career-long problems with turnovers have persisted this season. He’s already tied a career high with 13 interceptions and has been guilty of eight fumbles, losing five. He’s also taken 34 sacks through 14 games, while the Saints have notched 40 QB takedowns.

Cook will have his hands full as well, as the previously cited numbers for the Saints against the run imply. However, as many transcendent talents do, the elite back has overcome similarly difficult matchups against the Buccaneers and Bears in the last two games to record a combined 234 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns over that span. Cook’s offensive line has also helped facilitate the most adjusted line yards (4.97) and fifth-most RB yards (4.87) per carry, making this a true power-on-power matchup.

Meanwhile, the Vikings defense, long a strength during head coach Mike Zimmer’s tenure, has frequently underperformed this season. For Brees’ purposes, it’s worth noting Minnesota is allowing 252.4 passing yards per game and 7.3 yards per attempt, and the Vikes have also surrendered 27 touchdown passes. Despite Thomas’ absence, Brees still has crafty veteran Emmanuel Sanders, veteran tight end Jared Cook and an elite pass-catching running back in Kamara. Tre’Quan Smith did sustain an ankle injury versus the Chiefs and didn’t practice Tuesday, but even if he’s sidelined Friday, New Orleans did designate fellow wideout Marquez Calloway (knee) for a return from IR on Tuesday. The undrafted rookie, who owns a 15-136 line on the campaign, could well be available against Minnesota.

On the ground, Kamara and backfield mate Latavius Murray face a Vikings front seven that’s allowed 125.6 rushing yards per game, including 143.3 over the last three contests. Minnesota also gives up 4.87 adjusted line yards per game and 4.41 RB yards per carry, helping lead to a No. 20 ranking in rush defense DVOA. In turn, New Orleans’ offensive line is doing a good job facilitating running lanes, with the Saints holding a No. 7 ranking in adjusted line yards per carry (4.67) and a No. 3 ranking in rush offense DVOA. Kamara hasn’t topped 15 carries in a game since Week 4, but coach Sean Payton could opt to give his versatile star a bit more volume in this matchup.

Betting the Total (Over/Under)

  • Saints games this season have posted an average total of 49.6, which is 1.9 points fewer than the total for this matchup.
  • This season, Vikings games have resulted in an average scoring total of 53.4, which is 1.9 points higher than the over/under for this matchup.
  • Saints games have gone over 51.5 points on six occasions this season (42.9% of matchups).
  • In nine (64.3%) games this season, the Vikings have combined with their opponents to go over 51.5 points.
  • These two teams score a combined average of 54.1 points per game, higher than the total for this matchup by 2.6 points.
  • The Saints score the ninth-most points in the NFL this season, while the Vikings’ offense racks up the 14th-most.
  • The over/under for this game is set at 51.5 points, 2.6 points higher than the two teams’ opponents scoring average.
  • New Orleans is the league’s sixth-ranked scoring defense while Minnesota is the 25th-ranked.

Saints Betting Insights

  • New Orleans has a 7-7 record against the spread.
  • The Saints are just 2-3 ATS when playing as at least seven-point favorites.
  • Most of New Orleans’ games this year — nine out of 14 — have hit the over (64.3%).

Vikings Betting Insights

  • Minnesota has compiled a 6-8 record against the spread this season.
  • The Vikings have an ATS record of 0-2 when playing as at least seven-point underdogs.
  • 9 Minnesota’s 14 games this year have gone over the point total (64.3% of its outings).

Saints vs Vikings: Head to Head

Saints vs Vikings: Last Meeting
Date Home Team Total Yards Result
10/28/2018 Vikings 423-270 MIN 30-20 NO

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When the Saints Have the Ball

  • The Vikings defense has allowed 27.7 points per game this season, 0.7 points less than the 28.4 the Saints have scored.
  • In games where New Orleans score at least 28.4 points this season, they are 5-2 overall and 4-3 against the spread.
  • Minnesota is 6-2 overall and 5-3 against the spread this season in games where they allow fewer than 27.7 points.
  • The Vikings defense has given up an average of 378 yards per game this season, 14.1 yards more than the 363.9 the Saints offense has averaged.
  • The Saints pick up 5.6 yards per play while the Vikings allow 5.8 per play.
  • In contests where the New Orleans offense totals at least their average yard output this season, they are 4-5 against the spread and 7-2 overall.
  • When Minnesota allows fewer total yards to opposing offenses than their season average, they are 2-4 against the spread and 2-4 overall this season.
  • The Vikings defense has given up an average of 125.6 yards per game to opposing running games this season. That total is about the same as the rushing output per contest for the Saints (131.9).
  • When New Orleans rushers gain at least a combined 131.9 yards this season, they are 6-0 overall and 5-1 against the spread.
  • When Minnesota holds opposing teams to 125.6 rushing yards or fewer this year, they are 4-4 against the spread and 5-3 overall.
  • The Saints have turned the ball over 1.1 times per game this season, while the Vikings have averaged 1.3 takeaways per contest.
  • In games where they turn the football over 1.1 times or fewer this season, New Orleans is 8-3 overall and 5-6 against the spread.
  • Minnesota is 2-1 against the spread and 3-0 overall this season when they force at least 1.3 turnovers in a game.

When the Vikings Have the Ball

  • The Vikings average 25.7 points per game, 4.5 more than the Saints give up per outing (21.2).
  • When Minnesota puts up at least 25.7 points, it is 5-5 against the spread and 5-5 overall.
  • This season, New Orleans has a 4-3 record against the spread and a 5-2 record overall in games when it holds opponents to 28.4 or fewer points.
  • The Vikings collect 80.8 more yards per game (387.1), than the Saints give up per matchup (306.3). The Vikings average 6.1 yards per play, while the Saints allow 4.9 per play.
  • In games New Orleans limits its opponents to 306.3 or fewer yards, it has a 5-1 record ATS and a 6-0 record overall.
  • This season, the Vikings rack up 147.7 yards per game on the ground, 52.1 more per game than the Saints allow per contest (95.6).
  • Minnesota has a 5-2 ATS record and a 3-4 overall record when the team runs for at least 147.7 yards.
  • This season, New Orleans is 6-1 against the spread and 7-0 overall when holding opponents to no more than 95.6 yards on the ground.
  • This year, the Vikings turn the ball over 1.6 times per game, 0.1 more turnovers per game than the 1.5 the Saints force on average.
  • Minnesota is 3-3 against the spread and 3-3 overall when it turns the ball over 1.6 or fewer times.
  • When it forces 1.5 or more turnovers, New Orleans has a 5-0 record against the spread and a 5-0 record overall.

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Saints Players to Watch

  • Drew Brees has thrown for 2,430 yards while completing 70.5% of his passes (234-of-332), with 21 touchdowns and four interceptions in 10 games this year (243.0 yards per game).
  • Alvin Kamara has churned out a team-high 777 rushing yards (55.5 yards per game) and scored 10 touchdowns. He has tacked on 80 catches for 739 yards (52.8 receiving yards per game) with five receiving touchdowns.
  • Latavius Murray has 584 yards on 134 carries (41.7 ypg), with four rushing touchdowns.
  • Emmanuel Sanders’ statline this year shows 48 catches for 580 yards and four touchdowns. He puts up 41.4 receiving yards per game and has been targeted 64 times.
  • Over 14 games in 2020, Tre’Quan Smith has caught 34 passes on 50 targets for 448 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 32 receiving yards per game.
  • Trey Hendrickson has 12.5 sacks to lead the team, and has also collected 11 TFL and 24 tackles.
  • Demario Davis has racked up 105 tackles, 10 TFL, and four sacks to lead the team in tackles this year.
  • Janoris Jenkins has a team-high three interceptions and has tacked on 45 tackles, two TFL, and 10 passes defended.

Vikings Players to Watch

  • This year, Kirk Cousins has put up 3,569 passing yards (254.9 yards per game) while going 294-for-435 (67.6% completion percentage) and throwing 29 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He has added a 155 rushing yards on 28 carries, averaging 11.1 yards per game.
  • Dalvin Cook has ran for a team-leading 1,484 yards on 297 carries (114.2 yards per game) while scoring 15 touchdowns in 13 games. He also averages 26.8 receiving yards per game, grabbing 42 passes for 349 yards and one touchdown.
  • Alexander Mattison has 339 yards on 75 carries (28.3 ypg), with one rushing touchdown over the course of 12 games.
  • This season, Justin Jefferson has 73 catches (on 103 targets) to lead the team with 1,182 yards (84.4 per game) while scoring seven touchdowns.
  • Adam Thielen has tacked on 62 catches for 771 yards and 13 touchdowns. He has been targeted 94 times and averages 55.1 receiving yards per game.
  • Ifeadi Odenigbo has notched a team-leading 3.5 sacks, while adding three TFL and 34 tackles.
  • Eric Wilson has totaled 101 tackles, six TFL, 2.5 sacks, and three interceptions to lead the team in tackles this season.
  • Harrison Smith has a team-high four interceptions and has tacked on 72 tackles, two TFL, 0.5 sacks, and nine passes defended.

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