Saints vs. Vikings Odds: Point Spread, Total & Prediction

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Getty Alvin Kamara was a non-factor in the first meeting.

The New Orleans Saints will return to the stadium where their season began in order for them to return one more time.

What?

The Vikings hosted the Saints on the first Monday Night Football of the season. Now, they will host them again for a shot at the Eagles in the NFC Championship game. The winner of that game, which will be in Phiadelphia, will then travel back to Minnesota for Super Bowl 52.

The Vikings are a 5.5 point favorite to advance, according to OddsShark.com. The total is set at 46.5, with 55 percent of the action on the over.

There are several things that make this matchup different than the one in September. Let’s start under center, where Sam Bradford tossed two scores to lead the Vikings to victory. Bradford’s knee didn’t hold up, forcing Case Keenum into action. Now Keenum will make his first career playoff start against Drew Brees, who has thrown for over 375 yards in three of his last five playoff appearances.

Bress has relied more than ever on his ground game this season, and that will be the true test on Sunday. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara have been historically great this season, but Minnesota has arguably the toughest front seven in football.

The first matchup was Kamara’s first professional game, and he split time with both Ingram and Adrian Peterson. He was far from the explosive force we see him as today, and finished with 18 yards on seven carries.

Vikings vs. Saints Prediction

The Saints went 12-5 this season, but only 8-9 against the spread. This is a particularly tough matchup, as the Vikings defense has been elite all season. They finished second in yards allowed, and have been especially effective at home. The Lions were the only team to sniff 100 yards with 97 rushing yards, but four of eight visiting teams finished with less than 50 rushing yards.

The Saints are also missing Andrus Peat, who broke his fibula in last week’s win over the Panthers. The Vikings weren’t among the league leaders in sacks, but the pressure helped them to allow less passing touchdowns (13) than any team this season.

The Vikings have the advantage, and they’ll pound the ball with Latavius Murray. He’s been a solid substitute after Dalvin Cook’s ACL tear, splitting time with the shiftier Jerrick McKinnon. Murray has touched the ball 20 times or more in three straight games, all resulting in Minnesota wins.

The Vikings have underrated talent, and are outstanding at home. They should stifle Ingram and Kamara and advance.

Heavy’s Pick: Vikings 24 Saints 18. Vikings Cover -5.5 Spread. Under on the Point Total.

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