The Minnesota Vikings are a chic Super Bowl pick of some experts in the NFC this season. They open defense of their NFC North title in Week 1 this year at Tennessee, which was one of the worst teams in the NFL last year but has a bright future behind franchise quarterback Marcus Mariota. The Vikings are one of the few Week 1 road favorites at -3 on NFL betting lines.
Analysis on the Vikings at Titans Week 1 Lines Report, Expert Pick & TV Info
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) July 10, 2016
Minnesota vs Tennessee Historic Betting Trends
It’s the first meeting between Minnesota and Tennessee since 2012. The Vikings won that day 30-7 at home. Percy Harvin, now out of the NFL, had a touchdown rushing and receiving. Christian Ponder finished 25 for 35 for 258 yards and two scores. He’s no longer with Minnesota. Adrian Peterson had 88 yards rushing on 17 carries. Matt Hasselbeck, since retired, went 26 for 43 for 200 yards, one touchdown and one interception for the Titans.
Why Bet on Minnesota?
The Vikings will be very run-heavy again this year behind Peterson, a likely future Hall of Famer. Last year, he rushed for a league-best 1,485 yards to become the second-oldest player in history to win an NFL rushing title, at the age of 30 years and 289 days. The only older was Hall of Famer Curtis Martin, who was 31 years old when he won the rushing title in 2004 with the New York Jets. It was Peterson’s third career rushing title. Peterson’s other two rushing titles came in 2008 (1,760 yards) and 2012 (2,097 yards), when he was named the NFL MVP and came up just short of Eric Dickerson’s single-season record of 2,105. The Titans weren’t great at stopping the run last year.
The Vikings also can get a good scouting report on the Titans from safety Michael Griffin, who was signed away from Tennessee in free agency. Griffin spent the first nine years of his career in Tennessee after being a first-round draft pick out of Texas in 2007. Griffin has made two Pro Bowls in his career and was coached in Tennessee by Vikings defensive backs coach Jerry Gray from 2011-13.
Why Bet on Tennessee?
One of the few teams that might run more than Minnesota this year would be the Titans. With Mariota, DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry in the backfield, Tennessee Titans coach Mike Mularkey will likely go old-school and operate an offense that should run 35 to 40 times a game. However, it’s an offense that works best when games are close or when playing with a lead so the Titans have to get better defensively (27th in scoring defense at 26.44 points per game) for it to be effective.
The Titans now have the past two Heisman winners in Mariota and Henry. Last year, Henry at Alabama broke Herschel Walker’s single-season SEC rushing record. Walker’s 1,891 yards in 1981 stood as the record until Henry (2,219) and Leonard Fournette of LSU (1,953) surpassed it in 2015.
The Titans landed Murray, the 2014 rushing king with Dallas, from Philadelphia this offseason. Murray was given permission to find a trade partner, and he identified and sought out Tennessee, which he thought to be a good fit and an exciting opportunity. It was the first big move by new Titans general manager Jon Robinson, who was hired in January to turn around a franchise that has gone 5-27 since it released Chris Johnson in April 2014. The Titans ranked 25th in the NFL last season, with an average of 92.8 yards rushing per game.
My Free Pick
This might be the most boring, run-heavy game of Week 1. Go under the total on NFL odds and take Minnesota.