The Wild Card round continues Sunday with two more games that bettors are waiting impatiently for, and here we'll be making Vikings vs. Saints predictions as New Orleans hosts Minnesota at Mercedes-Benz Superdome with kickoff set for just after 1 PM.
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Vikings vs. Saints Predictions: 2020 NFL Playoff Betting Odds, Pick For Wild Card Weekend
The sixth-seeded Minnesota Vikings (10-6) are traveling to No. 3 New Orleans Saints (13-3) as a pretty huge underdog at most NJ betting sites. At SugarHouse, the line is currently Saints -8 (-110) while the total is set at 48 (-110).
It looked for a long time like New Orleans would manage to secure a bye in the first round and possibly even home-field advantage, but all of that washed away thanks to Green Bay and San Francisco. The road to Super Bowl 54 may be more daunting but the Saints are still at the Superdome this week, so are we looking at a convincing win for New Orleans?
The answer to that question will come from the result of a strength-on-strength matchup between the Saints offense and the Vikings defense.
Minnesota, fueled by its pass defense, ranks seventh according to DVOA metrics from Football Outsiders and has allowed the fifth-fewest points against per game. On the other side, the Saints' offense ranks top 10 in yards per game and third in points per game (28.6).
Drew Brees, who has the most TD passes in NFL history, has the benefit of throwing to Michael Thomas. The wideout is having one of the great seasons for a receiver in history, putting up an NFL record 149 receptions to go with a league-leading 1,725 yards and nine scores. And it isn't only Thomas you need to contend with when Alvin Kamara, Latavius Murray, and Jared Cook among others are helping make the Saints' offense the multidimensional machine that it is.
The Vikings do expect their own high-profile weapon to return as running back Dalvin Cook (shoulder) comes back for the postseason. Cook's success out of the backfield was the largest reason why Minnesota was a top-10 team in yards per play and making the Saints fear the run game is what will open things up for outside options like Stefon Diggs.
2020 NFL Playoff Predictions: Wild Card Picks Against The Spread For Vikings-Saints
The last time these two played in the postseason, Minnesota stole a win from New Orleans with the Minneapolis Miracle. The next year (last season), refs hosed the Saints out of a trip to the Super Bowl with an infamous missed penalty call. Is there some unknown calamity waiting for the Saints in the 2020 playoffs, too?
Maybe, but not in round one. New Orleans has scored at least 26 points in each of its last seven games, and at least 34 in seven of those. Minnesota's defense, especially on the road, won't be able to contain Brees & Co., and Michael Thomas will probably end up going for another 10 catches while they're at it. In a shootout, Cousins and Minnesota just can't keep up.
The lack of support behind the Vikings from the public also stems from Kirk Cousins not having a reputation as a big-game QB. With a bad matchup in the dome, a big game is exactly what Cousins needs to keep Minnesota in it. It's worth noting the Saints have the most against-the-spread wins of any NFL team this season (11), though just four of those came at home.
The Vikings should score some points, but in the end, it's a two-score win for the Saints as part of our Wild Card NFL picks.
Pick: New Orleans Saints -8 (-110) - Place Wild Card Bets At SugarHouse NJ
Vikings vs. Saints Picks: NFL Wild Card Prop Bets For NFC Wild Card Game
As a result of there being fewer games on the schedule, it's become increasingly common for bettors to take advantage of the wide-ranging props market even more during the playoffs than during the regular season. The SugarHouse Sportsbook app and other online gaming operators have responded in kind, ramping up the number of wagers offered once Week 17 is finished.
By the time kickoff arrives on Sunday morning, there will be nearly 200 different wagering options for each game, including the one at the Superdome. With so many markets to choose from it can be a bit overwhelming, but we've found several NFL Wild Card prop bets for when Minnesota takes on New Orleans.
- Michael Thomas Over 8.5 Receptions (-125) - The Saints' All-World wide receiver went for at least nine catches on 11 different occasions this season en route to setting the single-season record with 149 catches. The Vikings will do what they can to not let Thomas beat them, but New Orleans has too many weapons to cover and hopefully, he gets nine grabs once again.
- Over 4.5 Total Sacks (-137) - New Orleans and Minnesota boast defenses that are in the top five in sacks this season, totaling 99 between them both. Neither team took many sacks but also have offensive units far superior to its competition for most of the season. Between these two defenses, there should be a few QB sacks in New Orleans.
- Over 3.5 Successful Field Goals (+104) - Saints kicker Wil Lutz went nine straight games from October to December making multiple field goals. Vikings kicker Dan Bailey went for multiple field goals seven times this season, including three in the last four games. Combined, we hope to see these two kick four successful field goals at plus-money.
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2020 NFL Playoff Bracket: Matchup Possibilities For Wild Card, Divisional Rounds
Now that Week 17 has passed, the 2020 NFL playoff bracket is finally cemented, and not without a few surprises. The major change in the AFC playoff standings came when the Chiefs won while the Patriots lost in a stunning upset to Miami in Foxborough. New England lost its grip on the first-round bye and must play during the Wild Card round for the first time since 2010, which means traveling through Kansas City to get back to the AFC title game.
The NFC playoff standings wound up with three 13-3 teams and one of them (New Orleans) not getting a bye out of it. The 49ers win in Week 17 against the Seahawks clinched the NFC West and the No. 1 overall seed, while Green Bay got the second bye.
Below is the final NFL playoff standings and the matchups for Wild Card weekend and beyond:
AFC Playoff Standings
- Baltimore Ravens (14-2)*
- Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)*
- New England Patriots (12-4)
- Houston Texans (10-6)
- Buffalo Bills (10-6)
- Tennessee Titans (9-7)
*First Round Bye
Wild Card Round: Titans vs. Patriots, Bills vs. Texans
Divisional Round: Bills-Texans Winner vs. Ravens or Chiefs, Titans-Patriots winner vs. Chiefs or Ravens
NFC Playoff Standings
- San Francisco 49ers (13-3)*
- Green Bay Packers (13-3)*
- New Orleans Saints (13-3)
- Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)
- Seattle Seahawks (11-5)
- Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
*First Round Bye
Wild Card Round: Vikings vs. Saints, Seahawks vs. Eagles
Divisional Round: Seahawks-Eagles winner vs. 49ers or Packers, Vikings-Saints winner vs. Packers or 49ers
Want to know more about gambling on the football postseason? Check out our NFL playoffs betting guide for tips, strategies, and information about how to win money after Week 17 ends!