Minnesota Vikings (7-1) at Buffalo Bills (6-2)
Opening Spread: Bills -7.5.
Opening Game Total: 48.
Opening Team Totals: Bills (27.75), Vikings (20.25).
Weather: Outdoors, no current concerns.
The Line Report
- This line opened as Bills -7.5.
- This line has moved all the way down to Bills -3.5, with Bills -3 available at some sportsbooks.
- DraftKings Pick’Em has the Bills -4.5.
- Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Bills -3.5.
- This total opened at 48 points.
- This total has moved all the way down to 44.5 points.
Bills: Out: WR Jamison Crowder, Edge Greg Rousseau, S Jordan Poyer, S Micah Hyde. Doubtful: Kalir Elam. Questionable: QB Josh Allen, LB Tremaine Edmunds.
Vikings: Out: TE Irv Smith, DL Dalvin Tomlinson, CB Cameron Dantzler Sr., S Lewis Cine.
The Bills Offense vs. Vikings Defense
Buffalo has a middle-of-the-pack offensive line. The Vikings have a fringe top-ten front. I’m treating this trench matchup as a relative draw.
Betting Notes Per TruMedia
- The Bills are 4-4 against the spread this season.
- The Bills are 1-7 on overs this season.
- Josh Allen is 39-26-4 against the spread in his career.
- Josh Allen is 28-39-2 on overs in his career.
- Sean McDermott is 49-35-5 against the spread in his career as an NFL head coach.
- Sean McDermott is 38-49-2 on overs in his career as an NFL head coach.
- The Bills are scoring 27.5 points per game, good for third in the league.
- Buffalo is third in the league in yards passing per game and 13th in yards rushing.
- Per the Edge, Devin Singletary has breached 50 yards rushing in two of his eight games. Singletary has five or more targets in four contests this year, including an 11-target spike against Miami back in Week 3.
- Nyheim Hines will be making his second appearance as a Bill this week. Expect Hines to cut into Singletary and James Cook’s respective passing game roles sooner than later.
- Speaking of James Cook, Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is his older brother.
- Stefon Diggs is third in the league in receptions (60) and yards receiving (857) while he’s tied for the league lead in touchdown receptions with seven. Diggs 28% target share and 39.2% air yards share are both 12th best in the league
- Gabe Davis has seen at least five targets in each of his last five games. Davis had a monster game for 171 yards receiving and two touchdowns on just three receptions in early October. Consider Davis a spike week type player with a relatively low week-to-week floor.
- Isaiah McKenzie has exceeded 50 yards receiving once this season. McKenzie has three or less targets in four of his seven games this season.
- Across his seven games this season Dawson Knox has 20 receptions for 183 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
- Per TruMedia, Stefon Diggs has played 255 snaps on the perimeter and 135 in the slot.
- Dawson Knox has played 179 snaps as an inline tight end, 48 on the perimeter, and 109 in the slot.
- The Vikings have allowed 20.1 points per game, which is 12th in the league.
- Per The Edge, the Vikings have allowed the fourth fewest yards rushing per game and the 14th most yards receiving per game to running backs this season.
- Minnesota has given up the third most yards receiving per game to wide receivers this year.
- Minnesota has given up the third most PPR points per game to slot receivers.
- The Vikings have allowed the 15th most yards receiving per game to tight ends this season.
- The Vikings have allowed the seventh most PPR points per game to tight ends lined up in the slot.
The Vikings Offense vs. Bills Defense
Minnesota’s offensive line has been better than I expected, as they are a fringe top-ten group. Buffalo’s front has been a top-five caliber unit, but they are down Edge Greg Rousseau. Buffalo’s defensive front has a mild edge in the trenches.
Betting Notes Per TruMedia
- The Vikings are 3-4-1 against the spread this season.
- The Vikings are 4-4 on overs this season.
- Kirk Cousins is 66-65-2 against the spread in his career.
- Kirk Cousins is 77-55-1 on overs in his career.
- Kevin O’Connell is 3-4-1 against the spread in his career as an NFL head coach.
- Kevin O’Connell is 4-4 on overs in his career as an NFL head coach.
- The Vikings are scoring 24.1 points per game, good for eighth in the league.
- Minnesota is 11th in the league in yards passing per game and 24th in yards rushing.
- Per the Edge, Dalvin Cook is tenth in the league in yards rushing with 608 yards. Cook’s passing game usage has been sporadic, but he’s had six targets in each of his last two games.
- Justin Jefferson is fourth in the league in receptions (59), he’s second in yards receiving (867), he’s eighth in target share (28.8%), and he’s 11th in air yards share (39.4%).
- Adam Thielen has at least seven targets in every game but opening day. Thielen has failed to breach 75 yards receiving in a game this season.
- K.J. Osborn has five targets in three of his last four games. Osborn has breached 50 yards receiving once this season.
- In his first game as a Viking T.J. Hockenson caught all nine of his targets for 70 yards receiving. I was not expecting that kind of volume right out of the gate.
- The Bills have allowed 14.8 points per game, which is the best in the league.
- Per The Edge, the Bills have allowed the sixth fewest yards rushing per game and the sixth fewest yards receiving per game to running backs this season.
- Buffalo has given up the 20th most yards receiving per game to wide receivers this year.
- The Bills have allowed the 22nd most yards receiving per game to tight ends this season.
This is What You’re Betting On in Bills vs. Vikings
The availability of Josh Allen is obviously an enormous factor in this contest. Betting markets have adjusted as if they are anticipating Josh Allen to sit. However, I think this current position is more of a hedge, as I expect that Josh Allen is worth more than four points against the spread. If Allen is officially ruled out for this contest, I could see this number getting close to a pick’em.
That said, we have to treat this game from two different directions: one where Josh Allen plays, and another where Case Keenum gets the start.
If Josh Allen plays we have to expect that there is no chance that he can do permanent or long-term damage to his throwing arm. In that outcome, we can reasonably expect that Allen might have less zip on the ball and that Buffalo will want to limit how often stresses his injury. They may even want to manage Allen’s passing volume. That said, we’ve all seen Josh Allen barrel into linebackers, so if he plays, he’s just going to play, even if he has some limitations. Minnesota has a good front, but they aren’t exactly an elite secondary. So, if Allen plays I could see the Bills at least getting near their team total against this defense.
If Case Keenum gets the start, I’ve been saying that Josh Allen has a very average supporting cast outside of Stefon Diggs since the spring. Keenum is a good backup quarterback, but Buffalo becomes much more of a defense-first team when Keenum is the starter. I expect some will compare Case Keenum taking over for Cooper Rush filling in for Dak Prescott. I wouldn’t, Dak Prescott has a much better supporting cast on offense than Josh Allen does.
If you’re betting on Buffalo in this contest, you’re primarily betting on their defense at least meeting expectations. Regardless of who starts at quarterback. Obviously, the Bills have much more ceiling on offense with Allen even if some of his otherworldly abilities are unavailable while he’s on the mend. If Keenum is the starter, 24 points would be a good outing out of this offense.
A bet on the Vikings at their current number is a bet on Josh Allen missing this contest. In that event, you need Kirk Cousins’ offense to breach 20 total points against a very good Bills defense. I’ve been saying for weeks that Minnesota has yet to have a ceiling game on offense this season, but I’d be surprised if that came in this matchup. If you’re betting on the Vikings, you’re either betting on a solid offensive effort or for this defense to exceed expectations in this contest. Your biggest concern as a Vikings bettor at this current number is that Allen plays, with no noticeable limitations and shreds Minnesota’s average secondary. Your other concern is that Buffalo’s pass rush has a significant impact in this contest, leading to Cousins having a mediocre or worse game.
Awards Market Ramifications: If Josh Allen misses this contest, he’ll be a fading MVP candidate. Stefon Diggs is an Offensive Player of the Year contender. Justin Jefferson is an Offensive Player of the Year contender. Kevin O’Connell is a Coach of the Year contender.
Winner/ Confidence Pool: I play in multiple winner pools. If Case Keenum starts this game, I will have some exposure to both teams in that format. That said, I think I’ll be Buffalo-heavy either way after digging into this game. I’ll be right around consensus on this contest in my confidence pool rankings.
Spread Pool: I would not bet Minnesota at their current number. I will, however, consider taking them in ATS pools where I can get them at a value if Allen misses this contest. In ATS pools where Minnesota is a roughly three-point underdog, I might actually lean toward the Buffalo side if Keenum plays. I do not expect to bet on this game directly.
Survivor Pool: This contest should be avoided in survivor pools.
Ryan’s recent betting record:
ATS 2021: 49-31
ATS 2022: 30-15
Props 2022: 31-16
WATCH MORE: Bills ‘Will be Fine’ if Case Keenum Needs to Start