The NFL Wild Card Round takes center stage this weekend and the Minnesota Vikings (10-6) travel to the New Orleans Saints (13-3) for a first-round NFC matchup. The winner will play at either the top-seeded 49ers or second-seeded Packers in the Divisional Round.
The Saints are making their fourth Wild Card appearance this decade and have won three straight first-round playoffs games. New Orleans has won 7 of its last 8 playoff home games, with the sole loss coming to the Rams in last year’s controversial NFC Championship.
The Vikings are making their third Wild Card appearance since 2012 and have lost the previous two contests. They’ve dropped three straight playoff games on the road. The Vikings beat the Saints in the 2017 Divisional round and lost, 31-28, in the 2010 NFC Championship. The Saints are 4-1 in regular season meetings between the teams, including a 30-20 win in Minnesota last October.
Below, we’ll make our picks for the moneyline, spread and over/under between the Bills and Texans. We’ll also look for the game’s best prop bet at DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook. Actionable betting advice on each bet type will be provided as either a “pick” or a “lean”. Picks can be made at any point in the week based on the odds and lines at the time of publishing, matchup advantages or a perceived advantage over the sportsbooks. Leans are reserved in anticipation of the lines shifting toward a more desirable number as a result of public betting action.
While researching for your Vikings at Saints picks, be sure to check out my Wild Card Football Preview at TheLines. It breaks down the statistical and betting trends of both teams and highlights the key on-field matchups.
Vikings at Saints picks: Point Spread
The Saints opened as 6.5-point favorites and sharps quickly bet that line until it moved up to Saints (-8). While it’s difficult to expect a double-digit win in the playoffs, this could be a potential mismatch given how each team has fared lately.
New Orleans has won three straight by an average of 23 PPG and the Vikings lost their final two games, including a meaningless Week 17 game in which they rested their starters. Minnesota has had trouble protecting Kirk Cousins in key matchups and the immobile QB has been awful when consistently pressured.
The Saints defensive line ranks seventh in adjusted sack rate (7.1%) and New Orleans has tallied 24 sacks at home this season. New Orleans has been nails against the run and the Vikings have struggled to run the ball since Dalvin Cook (shoulder) suffered an injury.
Drew Brees is absolutely shredding opponents at the Mercedes Benz Superdome with a 119.7 passer rating and 17:3 TD:INT ratio and the Vikings have allowed 93.9 passer rating and 7.2 yards per attempt on the road this season.
The Pick: Saints -8 (-110 on FanDuel Sportsbook)
Vikings at Saints picks: Moneyline
The Saints are not getting much value at -345 on the moneyline (DK sportsbook), but are a virtual lock to win this game at home. It makes sense to parlay the Saints on the moneyline with other bets on Wild Card weekend or potentially with the point total or prop bets in this game.
The Pick: Saints -345 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Vikings at Saints picks: Over/Under
The point total is 48 on FanDuel Sportsbook and 47 points on DK sportsbook with -125 odds. Either way, this game should go north of 50 combined points on the fast track at the Superdome. The Saints have gone over the assigned point total in five of their last seven games and their defense, while stout, has given up 4.6 YPC and a 96.1 passer rating at home this year. Brees and the offense has been lights out, so we’d expect New Orleans to top 30 points and the Vikings to get close to 20 points in a high-scoring affair.
The Lean: OVER 48 (-110 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
Vikings at Saints Best Prop Bet
If you’re not sure about the Saints covering a big number in a playoff game, you can get great odds on predicting the estimated winning margin. On DraftKings Sportsbook, the Saints are +340 to win by 1-6 points and +400 to win by 7-12 points. Both are likely outcomes in a game that New Orleans should control, but likely yield a handful of points to a talented Vikings team. We’re leaning towards the 1-6 margin as a way to hedge bets against the spread.