The 49ers will host the Vikings in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs. The 49ers open as a seven-point favorite in the spread and the over-under is set at 46.5, per FanDuel Sportsbook.
San Francisco was expected to play the winner of the Eagles-Seahawks game, but a Vikings upset of the Saints in overtime quickly changed things. The NFL reseeds the bracket after the Wild Card round and the Niners face the worst-remaining seed as the No. 1 seed.
During the regular season, the Vikings went 9-7 against the spread and nine of their 16 games also went over the point total. The Vikings were 4-4 against the spread on the road this season.
The Vikings were more than a touchdown road underdog heading into New Orleans. While the game went into overtime, the Vikings looked in control for much of the game.
Minnesota’s defense stifled the Saints’ offense and forced key turnovers that were a big factor in the Vikings advancing. Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins was looking to shed the perception that he cannot win big games.
“The ball’s in your hand, and the margin for error is so small,” Cousins noted prior to the Vikings-Saints game, per Star Tribune. “You know that nobody else is going to have a chance to impact the game in the same way you will. You know that you’re going to go back and watch the film the next day, win or lose, and point to two plays that made the difference. You don’t know which two it’s going to be; you’re going to get anywhere from 60 to 80 cracks at it, and you know when you hold the football, you hold the hopes and dreams of a lot of people in your hands.”
The 49ers Are a Heavy Favorite Over the Vikings
The last time we saw the 49ers they were in a thrilling regular-season finale with the Seahawks. San Francisco came up with a crucial stop on the one-inch line to win the NFC West and secure the No. 1 seed. San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan believes it is these sort of games that has prepared his team for the postseason.
“The more you can be in those games, it’s not always the most fun thing to go through every single week, but the more you can be in those the stronger it makes your team,” Shanahan said, per Sports Illustrated.
San Francisco went 9-6-1 against the spread this season to go with their 13-3 overall record. Eight of the Niners’ games went over the point total, while seven went under and one was a push. The 49ers did struggle against the spread at home going just 3-4-1 at Levi’s Stadium.
Prediction: Niners Narrowly Advance to the NFC Championship
The Vikings are once again playing with nothing to lose as the No. 6 seed. While I like the 49ers to advance, it is not going to be easy for San Francisco. The Vikings defense combined with Dalvin Cook will allow Minnesota to keep this game close. Look for the 49ers to head to the NFC Championship, but the Vikings to cover the spread.
Heavy’s Pick: 49ers 24 Vikings 20. Vikings Cover +7 Spread. Under on the Total.