Value points to Lions finishing strong but be careful of Packers game

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Last week, I looked at betting strategies for two AFC teams the remainder of the season.

We pegged Kansas City as “bet against” and Pittsburgh “bet on” as both teams delivered with the Chiefs losing outright at home to Tennessee and the Steelers getting the win and cover at Cincinnati.

This week we’ll use the same format but turn our attention to the NFC.

Detroit

The Lions’ lead in the NFC North fell to just one game following their 17-6 loss at New York and Green Bay’s win at Chicago. New York’s defense is an elite-level unit but Detroit was able to move the football at times and actually outgained the Giants, 324-300.

Unfortunately for the Lions, they were on the wrong end of some bad bounces with a -2 turnover margin, including a key fumble inside New York’s 5-yard line. I however came away impressed with the Lions’ defense as it held its eighth straight opponent to 20 points or less. Sunday’s somewhat misleading result may provide residual betting value moving forward.

We’ve already seen this week’s opponent, Dallas, take early money with Detroit now +7.5 road underdogs after opening +7. Monday night’s game could be tricky with Week 17’s big showdown against the Packers looming. That said, there aren’t two hotter teams in the betting markets than Dallas and Green Bay, which again should provide Detroit with some solid value.

Minnesota

The Vikings certainly have the look of a team ready to “pack it in” after Sunday’s embarrassing 34-6 home loss to the Colts. Minnesota is 7-7 and still mathematically alive for the postseason but it’s a longshot. The score was 27-0 halftime and the Vikings showed little life in the second half.

The same problems showed up as the offense was unable to move the football – against a bottom-tier defense. With three rookie starters, the offensive line couldn’t pass protect nor run block in spite of the much hyped return of Adrian Peterson. Despite taking money following the announcement that Peterson would play he was held to just 22 yards on six carries, including a costly fumble that gave the Colts excellent field position.

Andrew Luck picked apart an injury-depleted Vikings secondary that was playing without safety Harrison Smith and cornerback Trae Waynes. The defense as a whole is clearly worn down and paid the price as Indianapolis held the ball for a staggering 37 minutes. Now it must turn around and head on the road to face a Green Bay team that has won four straight (3-1 ATS).

The Vikings won the first meeting 17-14 thanks in part to a +2 turnover margin. Ironically, Minnesota’s once incredible (and unsustainable) turnover margin has bounced the other way as the team is -4 combined over their last four games (1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS). There’s also a potentially meaningless home game against Chicago to close out the year.

Since the bye week, Minnesota is 2-7 SU with wins against Jacksonville and Arizona – two teams also in disarray. It is a toxic situation that has the Vikings near the top of the “bet against” list.

Ian Cameron has been handicapping and betting sports year-round for over a decade. He has been with Sportsmemo.com since 2012, using his knowledge and handicapping techniques to make insightful winning selections.

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