Welcome to the Thursday Night Football betting breakdown, where I’ll provide a betting overview of the upcoming Thursday Night Football game utilizing moneyline, points spread and projected total odds from DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook. Additionally, I’ll hone in on at least one player or game prop each week that I feel has profit potential at one of those three sportsbooks.
All betting takes will be classified as either a “lean” or a “pick”. A lean is a wager that we have a certain degree of certainty in. However, it’s one that still falls somewhere short of a high-confidence selection. A pick carries an additional degree of confidence based on a variety of factors. These include relevant injuries; past track record of each team in those bet types and under the specific conditions that apply; and recent performances of each team leading up to the game.
For more detailed information on this week’s matchup – including further game analysis, betting trends breakdown, betting tips specific to TNF, and a synopsis of the history of the line movement for the game, please see our Thursday Night Football Betting Preview over at TheLines.
Now 1-6 — and with their only victory a one-point win over the equally lowly Dolphins — the Redskins head into Minnesota on Thursday night to face one of the stiffer challenges of their season. The Vikings have been excellent on both sides of the ball on their home turf. They’ve scored between 28 and 38 points in their three home games. In turn, they’re allowing just 15.3 points per game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Then, the Redskins don’t exactly walk in with a reputation for finding the end zone, especially when traveling. Washington is averaging just 15.7 points per road contest.
Minnesota has been especially adept at making teams one-dimensional. The Vikes are yielding just 89.7 rushing yards per contest, forcing teams to the air more often than not. That could spell trouble for the Redskins and their shoddy pass protection. Washington has given up 18 sacks on the season, even with the benefit of already having faced the Dolphins’ anemic pass rush. Minnesota counters with an attacking mindset that has already generated 19 sacks. And, the Vikings are also surrendering the 10th-fewest yards (30.2) and sixth-fewest points (1.5) per drive. In other words, sustained success looks likely to be very difficult to come by for the Redskins’ offense.
The Minnesota passing game would naturally be affected by a potential Adam Thielen absence. The star wideout is doubtful to play in Thursday’s game after suffering his injury in the Week 7 win over the Lions. However, Stefon Diggs has been outstanding over the last month, posting a trio of 100-yard efforts over that span. Rookie Bisi Johnson, who managed a 4-40-1 line against Detroit in Week 7 after The Redskins have surrendered 14 touchdown passes, and they could be missing cornerback Josh Norman (thigh/hand) for Thursday’s game as well.
Then, consider the Skins come in surrendering the sixth-most rushing yards per game (134.4) and now have Dalvin Cook on the ledger. Cook is averaging an outstanding 5.5 yards per carry and has eclipsed 100 yards on five occasions over seven games. He also has six runs of 20 yards or more, including two of 40 or greater. On paper, there seems to be little doubt that Cook and Alex Mattison should largely be able to help the Vikings control this game on the ground and essentially erase the effect of Thielen’s absence.
The Vikings are undefeated at home and simply have too much talent on either side of the ball for the Redskins to contend with here. Case Keenum and Adrian Peterson will find their respective returns to Minnesota soured by the final gun due to a Vikings win in this spot.
TNF Point Spread
Thielen or no Thielen, the betting public is on the Vikings. This line has moved from 14 points to 15.5-16 points in favor of Minnesota, even with Thielen now considered doubtful to play. The Redskins gradually increased their margin of defeat over the first five games before scoring the one-point win over the Dolphins and then leveraging the monsoon-like conditions in Week 7 as their 12th man to only lose by nine to San Francisco.
The Redskins are 2-5 (28.6 percent) against the spread this season, including 1-1 (50.0 percent) as an away underdog.
The Vikings are 5-2 (71.4 percent) against the spread this season, including 3-0 as a home favorite.
Given the Redskins’ pattern of losses described above and the ability of the Vikings to hit Washington through both the ground and air, I’m leaning toward a Minnesota cover.
The Lean: Vikings -15.5 at DraftKings Sportsbook
TNF Over/Under Total
This is a stingy total overall, but it accounts for Thielen’s likely absence and the Redskins’ general lack of offensive firepower. A Vikings defense that shuts down the run and is excellent at limiting scoring at home is also part of this projection. Then, consider the ‘Skins have averaged just over eight points per game over the last five contests.
The Over is 3-4 (42.9 percent) in the Redskins’ games this season, including 1-2 (33.3 percent) in their away games. The Over is 3-4 (42.9 percent) in the Vikings’ games this season, including 2-1 (66.7 percent) in their home games.
Thielen’s absence and Minnesota’s defense have me leaning toward the Under despite the low 40s number.
The Lean: Under 42 points at FanDuel Sportsbook
Best TNF Prop Bets
Vikings (-14.5) & Under 41.5 Points: (+300 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
This prop lines up with my predictions of a Vikings cover and the Under hitting. If Minnesota’s defense handles its business the way it typically does against an inferior opponent at home, the Redskins will be challenged to score more than 14 points. The red-hot Kirk Cousins and his teammates won’t have to keep their foot on the gas for all four quarters if that comes to pass, making this a viable prop bet at a solid price.