Even though the game is inside on the fast turf of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, oddsmakers aren’t expecting a whole lot of offense in the Vikings at Falcons betting matchup as part of the NFL week 9 slate. A lot of that has to do with the QB situation on both teams, with the Vikings beginning life without the injured Kirk Cousins and Atlanta benching the ineffective Desmond Ridder in favor of Taylor Heinicke.
The O/U for Minnesota at Atlanta is just 37.5, tied for the lowest of the day across the league. The Vikings have won three in a row but will look a lot different without their starting QB. Both teams are 4-4 and the Falcons have done a nice job defending their home turf (3-1) which is a major reason they are -3.5 favorites in this meeting.
Why Minnesota Has Value at +3.5
Everybody is counting the Vikings out now that Cousins has torn his ACL and will be lost for the season. The Cousins injury as well as star WR Justin Jefferson (hamstring) also being out until late in the month puts a huge dent in Minnesota’s #10 ranked total yardage offense (353.8) and #2 ranked passing attack (280.5) – but maybe those numbers are based on the system and not the players?
Jaren Hall gets the reins of the Minnesota offense for the time being, and one good thing is that there’s not a ton of tape on the rookie considering he’s thrown 4 passes in his NFL career. Hall threw 51 TDs to just 11 INTs his last two seasons at BYU and he was a very accurate passer in college completing 65.2% of his throws so he’s got talent – just lacking experience.
The good news for Hall and the Vikings is that Atlanta has dropped four of their last six games this season, and one major reason Minnesota has value at +3.5 is that the Falcons have had four consecutive games decided by one score. Atlanta ranks 28th in the NFL in points scored (17.3) so it doesn’t take a ton of offense to keep this game close.
Why Atlanta Has Value at -3.5
Atlanta has a couple solid trends working for them in the week 10 Vikings at Falcons betting matchup. First off, they are back at home after two weeks on the road at Tampa Bay (16-13 W) and Tennessee (23-28 L) and are a good team at Mercedes-Benz Stadium with a 3-1 record. Also Atlanta has alternated wins and losses for five straight weeks which leaves them in line for a victory after last week’s loss to the Titans.
Falcons QB Ridder has been oft-maligned this season – so much so that there were rumors that Atlanta would bring in a QB at the trade deadline. Heinicke will get the start on Sunday and he was a spark when he would play for Washington going 12-11-1 the last two seasons.
Sunday’s game is one of the few where Atlanta looks like they have the edge at QB, and that combined with this Falcons defense makes the -3.5 look manageable to cover. The Falcons are 6th in the NFL allowing 296.6 total yards/game and are very good against the pass allowing 194.6 ypg.
Free NFL Week 10 Vikings at Falcons Betting Pick
There’s a lot of unknowns on the Vikings sideline with Cousins injured, and when you combine that with Atlanta making what are many considering an upgrade at QB the Falcons seem to be the play here. Heinicke is an experienced NFL QB, and maybe he gets the most out of the talented Atlanta skill position players like Drake London and Kyle Pitts.
Free Pick: Atlanta -3.5