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NFL Week 15 Vikings at Bengals Betting Preview

Not the QB Matchup We Thought We'd See Earlier in the Year

Instead of Kirk Cousins vs Joe Burrow, the quarterbacks squaring off in the week 15 Vikings at Bengals betting matchup are Nick Mullens and Jake Browning. Despite Cousins (Achilles) and Burrow (wrist) being sidelined for the year, both Minnesota (7-6) and Cincinnati (7-6) each find themselves right in the playoff hunt in their respective conferences.

Oddsmakers have Cincinnati as a -3 point favorite for this Saturday afternoon meeting (1:00 PM ET, NFLN). Home field should have a bit of an advantage on a slightly shorter week, but the Vikings have also been very good on the road this season (5-2). 59% of the betting public are giving the -3 with the Bengals.

Why the Vikings Have Value at +3

What you have to give credit to with this Minnesota team right now is that they are scrappers. The Vikings only got a field goal last weekend in Las Vegas, but it was enough to take home a 3-0 win, an impressive shutout against a Raiders team that just scored 63 on Thursday against the Chargers.

Even Minnesota’s recent losses have been close, a 12-10 defeat to an improving Chicago team in week 12 and falling 21-20 at Denver in week 11. A couple of breaks in those two games and the Vikings come into Saturday’s matchup on an 8-game win streak.

Mullens replaced an ineffective Josh Dobbs last week and went 9/13 for 83 yards and led the game winning drive for a FG with under 2 minutes left in the 4th. Mullens will have had all week to practice with the 1’s, and he’ll also get Justin Jefferson back after the star WR was knocked out of the Las Vegas game with a chest injury.

Why the Bengals Have Value at -3

It’s a bit too early to call Burrow a system QB, but Browning has looked the part in three starts since the franchise QB was lost for the year with a wrist injury. Browning actually has the highest completion percentage of any QB in his first three starts (79.3%) since 1950, breaking the Jets’ Chad Pennington’s previous record of 77.4%.

Minnesota’s defense is dialed in right now holding opponents to 19 points or less in three of their last four including just 12 total the last two games – but of course the flip side of that is the Vikings have only averaged 6.5 ppg on offense the last two weeks. The Bengals have scored 34 points in back-to-back weeks with Browning at the helm.

Jefferson is back for the Vikings, but the Bengals would argue that their own former LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase makes that advantage a wash. Therefore Cincinnati’s RB tandem of Joe Mixon (100+ total yards in three of last four) and Chase Brown (54-yard TD catch last week) are the X-factor in this game.

Free Week 15 Vikings at Bengals Betting Pick

Cincinnati has something special going on offense right now, and coach Zac Taylor is really making life easy for the inexperienced Browning. It’s not going to take a ton of offense to beat Minnesota on Saturday, but the combination of the running and passing game the Bengals have is going to provide plenty.

Free Pick: Bengals -3

Carl Taylor

Every loss is a chance to learn a lesson. That being said, wins are so much more enjoyable. Follow along to tap into the wisdom I've learned from 20 years as a sports bettor. Follow along on Twitter for more picks and DFS news @dailydogsports.

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