Matchups Week 3: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings

Jared Goff Player Prop NFL Week 3

Detroit Lions (1-1) at Minnesota Vikings (1-1)

Opening Line: Vikings -7.

Game Total: 53.5.

Team Totals: Vikings (30.25), Lions (23.25).

Weather: Dome.

The Line Report

  •         This line opened as Vikings -7.
  •         This line has moved down to Vikings -5.5 as of Thursday afternoon, as our Chris Farley anticipated.
  •         DraftKings Pick’Em has the Vikings -5.5.
  •         Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Vikings -6.
  •         This total opened at 53.5 points.
  •         This total has moved slightly down to 52.5 points as of Thursday afternoon. 

Notable Injuries

Vikings: S Harrison Smith (Questionable).

Lions: FB Jason Cabinda (Out), WR Jameson Williams (Out), RB D’Andre Swift (Questionable), TE T.J. Hockenson (Questionable), LG Jonah Jackson (Questionable), C Frank Ragnow (Questionable), Edge Aidan Hutchinson (Questionable), CB Amani Oruwariye (Questionable).

The Vikings Offense vs. Lions Defense

Detroit’s front four surprised in a big way throughout the first half against Washington last week. Time will tell if that impressive surge was more of an anomaly or a sign of things to come. As it stands now, we should treat this trench matchup as a relative stalemate while being aware that Detroit’s front exceeded expectations last week.

Minnesota has an exceptional skill group with premium talents in wide receiver Justin Jefferson and running back Dalvin Cook. However, the Lions secondary and linebacker group could struggle with the Vikings’ skill position players in Minnesota’s more aggressive offense.

Notes and Observations

  •         The Vikings are 1-1 against the spread this season.
  •         The Vikings are 0-2 on overs this season.
  •       Per The Edge, Kirk Cousins is twenty-fourth in the league in air yards through the first two weeks.
  •         Among running backs, Dalvin Cook is seventeenth in the league in rushing and twenty-eight in yards receiving.
  •         The Lions have allowed the eighteenth most rushing yards and the eleventh most yards receiving to enemy running backs this season.
  •         Vikings alpha dog Justin Jefferson is second among Vikings pass catchers in snaps (114) while leading in routes run (78), target share (29.7%), and team air yards share (52.1%, which leads the league) with a tremendous 2.97 yards per route run.
  •         The Lions have given up the ninth most yards on the twelfth most receptions to enemy wide receivers this season.
  •         Detroit has given up the eighth most PPR points to perimeter wide receivers this season.
  •       Per TruMedia, Jefferson has seen 56.1% of his routes on the perimeter through the first two games. 

Jefferson went for 7-124 and 11-182-1 in his two matchups with Detroit last season.

  •       Per The Edge, Detroit has allowed the eleventh most yards receiving and the fifteenth most receptions to tight ends this season.
  •         After a limited role in Week 1 that we can reasonably attribute to injury recovery, Vikings tight end Irv Smith posted a 5-36-1 line on 8 targets in Philadelphia last Monday night.  

The Lions Offense vs. Vikings Defense

At full strength, the Lions have a top-ten caliber offensive line. Even in their injury-reduced capacity last week, they played extremely well against a rock-solid Washington front. Minnesota has a good bordering on dangerous front, but we should treat this trench battle as a relative draw with a slight lean towards the Lions if they return to full strength.

Notes and Observations

  •         The Lions are 2-0 against the spread this season.
  •         The Lions are 2-0 on overs this season.
  •       Per The Edge, Jared Goff is tied for second in the league in touchdown passes with six.
  •         Goff is currently seventeenth in the league in passing yards, yet eighth in air yards.
  •         On opening day in Minnesota, the Vikings held Aaron Rodgers to 195 yards in the air (Jordan Love played at the end of this contest). In Philadelphia last Monday night, the Vikings gave up 333 passing yards to Jalen Hurts.  
  •         D’Andre Swift is currently fourth in the league in rushing yards with 200 while averaging an astounding ten yards per carry. Swift is eleventh among running backs in yards receiving and twenty-second in receptions.
  •       Per TruMedia, Lions running back Jamaal Williams actually has more carries than Swift (23 to 20) and Williams leads the league in redzone carries with nine.
  •       Per The Edge, Minnesota has allowed the tenth most rushing yards and the tenth most yards receiving to opposing running backs through the first two games.
  •         Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown is fourth in the league in PPR points. He leads Detroit receivers in snaps (111), routes run (68), and target share (33.8%) while being behind field stretcher DJ Chark in team air yards share (Brown 23.8%, Chark 35.7%).
  •         Tight end T.J. Hockenson leads Lions pass catchers in snaps (115) while having the team’s second-highest target share (19.7%).
  •         It’s only been two games, but one of the things I like about Detroit’s offense is that they are aware of what their talent does well and are using them accordingly.
  •         The Vikings defense has given up the tenth most yards to wide receivers and the fourth most to opposing tight ends.

What You’re Betting On in Vikings vs. Lions

Detroit and Minnesota split last year in their two matchups that were both decided by two points. The Vikings won 19-17 at home in Week 5, while the Lions won 29-27 in Detroit in Week 13. That was Detroit’s first win of the 2021 season and the contest that started Amon-Ra St. Brown’s late-season tear.

Detroit has several significant players on the injury report this week, which includes their best pass rusher, two of their best skill position players, and multiple starting offensive linemen that missed last week’s contest. So if you’re considering a bet on this game, keep an eye on the injury report as we get closer to kickoff.

A bet on the Vikings is a bet on a well-rounded team that was borderline blown out in Philadelphia on Monday night in Week 2. A bet on the Vikings is on a talented but inconsistent team in a potential bounce-back spot. This game is a contest between two divisional rivals that played each other very tight last season. While Minnesota’s roster improved this offseason, so was Detroit’s. If you’re betting on Minnesota as a significant favorite, you’re building the foundation of that bet on their talented skill position players giving Detroit serious problems. Or, it’s a bet on Jared Goff’s offense underachieving this week.

A bet on the Lions is a bet on an offense that scored at least 35 points in each of their first two games. It’s also a bet on a Detroit defense that has surrendered 65 points in the first two games. At this point in the season, if you’re betting on Detroit, you are primarily betting on Jared Goff and his suddenly exceptional supporting cast on offense. Another positive aspect for Detroit is that Dan Campbell’s coaching staff has given the Lions an edge in multiple games since Campbell took over last season. Finally, as mentioned above, Detroit has many significant players on the injury report as of Thursday afternoon.

Awards Market Ramifications: Justin Jefferson is among the favorites in the Offensive Player of the Year race.

Winner/ Confidence Pool: I expect to take the Vikings in winner pools, but I will consider taking Detroit as a differentiator option in at least one of my larger field pools. I expect to rank Minnesota in the middle of my confidence pool rankings. Much like survivor, this is a tough week in confidence pools.

Spread Pool: I will be interested in Detroit if I can get value on them in tournaments. Otherwise, I will probably stay away from this one ATS.

Survivor: In a brutal Week 3, Minnesota warrants consideration in survivor pools, but I’d prefer to avoid doing that if possible.

WATCH MORE: Eddie George Thinks D’Andre Swift is Due for a Big Week

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