NFL Preseason Week 1 Minnesota vs Cincinnati Free Picks
Two teams that reached the playoffs in 2015 and are looking to improve on their respective one-and-done postseason appearances from a year ago will square off when the Cincinnati Bengals host the Minnesota Vikings in an intriguing Week 1 preseason pairing.
Now, let’s find out which one of these Super Bowl hopefuls will cover the NFL betting odds.
NFL Preseason Week 1 Vikings vs Bengals Free Picks
When: Friday, August 12, 2016, 07:30
Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
NFL Odds: Cincinnati -3
Why Bet on Minnesota +3 Points
Minnesota Vikings (11-6) had a fantastic 11-win season, but it ended miserably when kicker Blair Walsh ‘sold out’ and missed a chip shot of a field goal against Seattle to seal the Vikings’ heartbreaking 10-9 wild card loss.
Minnesota ranked 10th in total defense last season and a stellar fifth in points allowed (18.3 ppg) but needs to improve a passing attack that ranked a dismal 31st overall (179.5 ypg) and hampered their outstanding fifth-ranked rushing offense and made them far too one dimensional en route to finishing just 19th in scoring (22.0 ppg).
To improve their passing attack in 2016, the Vikes drafted gifted former Mississippi wide receiver Laquon Treadwell with their first round pick but are depending on some continued growth from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater if they want to really contend this coming season.
Why Bet on Cincinnati -3 Points
Cincinnati (12-5) was on a red-hot roll that I thought would take them to the AFC title game – before starting quarterback Andy Dalton went down with an injury just before the close of the regular season.
Now Cincinnati looks to pick up where they left off after falling to Pittsburgh 18-16 in their AFC wild card matchup of FC North division rivals. Unfortunately or the Bengals, they will do so without starting linebacker Vontaze Burfict after he leveled Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown with a flat-out cheap shot that will cost the talented, but dirty star the first three games of the regular season.
The good news for Cincinnati is that they finished stellar fifth in scoring (25.5 ppg) and even more impressive second in points allowed (17.4 ppg) and still have a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, not to mention what should be plenty of motivation following five straight first round playoff losses.
Expert Prediction and Betting Pick
Minnesota went 4-1 SU and ATS in the preseason a year ago while winning their first four scrimmage contests and covering the spread in each SU win.
Conversely, Cincinnati went 3-1 SU and ATS last preseason while winning and covering the NFL betting line in both of their home preseason dates.
For this Week 1 matchup, I’m going with the Cincinnati Bengals to win and narrowly cover the NFL betting line, mostly because I believe Cincy backup A.J. McCarron will be the best backup signal-caller in this Week 1 pairing.
McCarron looked solid in limited time with Andy Dalton out last season and he should outplay both Minnesota backups, Shaun Hill, Joel Stave and Taylor Heincke in this affair.
This should be a relatively low-scoring affair, but I’m going with Cincy to narrowly cover.
My Pick: Cincinnati 21 Minnesota 17