The Minnesota Vikings are expected to be without two Pro Bowlers, running back Dalvin Cook and receiver Adam Thielen, when they face what is essentially a must-win game for their playoff hopes on Thursday night against the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers. The Vikes are field-goal favorites on the NFL odds.
How to Bet Steelers at Vikings NFL Odds & TV Info
- When: Thursday, 8:20 PM ET
- Where: US Bank Stadium
- TV: FOX and NFL Network
- Radio: http://www.siriusxm.com/nfl
- Stream Option: Fox Sports Go, NFL Network app
- Opening NFL Lines: Vikings -3 (total 44)
The Vikings lead the all-time regular-season series, 9-8, with the home team winning each of the past three meetings. Pittsburgh also defeated Minnesota in Super Bowl IX, 16-6, following the 1974 season. In their last contest, Week 2 of the 2017 season, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger passed for 243 yards and two touchdowns for a 104.8 rating as Pittsburgh earned a 26-9 victory.
Why Bet on Pittsburgh?
The Steelers got a huge win last Sunday, 20-19 over Baltimore when the Ravens went for a two-point conversion in the final minute and failed. Ben Roethlisberger completed 21-of-31 attempts for 236 yards and two touchdowns in one of his best games of the season. Diontae Johnson was his favorite target, catching eight balls for 105 yards and two TDs. He actually dropped a 37-yard TD in the first half but caught a wide open touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter and the game-winning touchdown grab against Ravens start CB Marlon Humphrey with less than two minutes to go.
In six of his past seven starts, Roethlisberger has not thrown an interception and recorded a rating of 90-or-higher. In his past three starts on Thursday Night Football, Roethlisberger has 12 touchdown passes with no interceptions for a 142 rating. He enters the game with 2,758 passing yards and can become the sixth player ever with 3,000 passing yards in 15 career seasons. Johnson aims for his fourth game in a row with at least 95 receiving yards and his eighth in a row with at least five catches.
TJ Watt was spectacular on Sunday with 3.5 sacks. Watt, who despite missing two games is the league leader with 16 sacks and 16 tackles for loss, is the clear frontrunner to win Defensive Player of the Year. Roethlisberger, however, feels that Watt should be in the running for league MVP as well.
“T.J. is seriously one of the best players I’ve ever played against, and I’ve played against some really good defensive guys,” Roethlisberger said. “He truly is a special player. I’m glad I’ve haven’t been sacked by him. He is a game-changer and a game-wrecker. I’ve been a part of guys like that — Troy Polamalu — who can change a football game. It doesn’t happen on defense that often. To be a literal game-changer on defense is something completely special.”
Watt is the only player in the league with at least three sacks in multiple games this season (three sacks in Week 9). He and Reggie White are the only players with at least 13 sacks in four consecutive seasons since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic. Watt needs one more sack to surpass James Harrison (16 sacks in 2008) for the single-season franchise record.
Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick recorded nine tackles (seven solo) and an interception on Sunday. Fitzpatrick was unable to haul in any interceptions across the first nine games of the season, but he’s now recorded picks in back-to-back weeks. He has recorded a career-high 82 tackles (56 solo) with two interceptions, three pass defenses and a forced fumble across his first 11 appearances of the season.
Why Bet on Minnesota?
The Vikings (5-7) were shocked by winless Detroit on Sunday 29-27 on a walk-off 11-yard TD pass. The Vikings trailed for much of the game before taking a lead with under two minutes only to allow a 75-yard touchdown drive to end it. The Vikings talked all week about how they needed to play well in order to win. Minnesota didn’t, and allowed Detroit to snap a 15-game winless streak. The Lions recorded their first win in 364 days.
Justin Jefferson’s lone touchdown gave the Vikings a lead they eventually couldn’t hold. He set a career-high with 182 receiving yards and 11 receptions. He stepped up after the offense lost Adam Thielen, who departed the game after just six plays with an ankle injury.
Jefferson also recorded his 12th career game with at least 100 receiving yards, which broke a tie with Randy Moss and JuJu Smith Schuster for the second most in a player’s first two seasons during the Super Bowl era. According to NFL research, only Odell Beckham, Jr., had more with 15. Jefferson boosted his career total to 2,609, passing Josh Gordon (2,451) and Jerry Rice (2,497) for the third-most by a player in his first two seasons. He’s got a shot at overtaking Beckham, Jr., (2,755) for the most in NFL history and Moss (2,726) franchise history as early as Thursday.
Kirk Cousins passed for 340 yards and two touchdowns for a 116.7 rating last week and has 25 touchdown passes this season. He is the fifth player ever with at least 25 touchdown passes in seven consecutive seasons. He currently ranks second in the league with a 106.3 rating in 2021. Running back Alexander Mattison had 124 scrimmage yards (90 rushing, 34 receiving) last week and has rushed for a touchdown in each of the past two games.
Defensively, Minnesota played Sunday without five starters — Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen, Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr and Patrick Peterson — a group that has made 19 collective Pro Bowls in their respective careers. It wasn’t pretty early for the Vikings, who allowed 20 first-half points to the Lions, a team that hadn’t hit that mark since Week 1.
Thielen, the Pro Bowl receiver, remained sidelined for Tuesday’s practice and is not expected to play on Thursday night with his ankle injury. Cook, the Pro Bowl running back, is expected to miss another game. Barr, the Pro Bowl linebacker, said “he’s playing” in Week 14 against the Steelers. Peterson, a Pro Bowl cornerback, also should play as he was activated off the COVID list.
- Steelers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
- Steelers are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS win.
- Steelers are 0-5 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.
- Vikings are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 home games.
- Vikings are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games as a favorite.
- Vikings are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games as a home favorite.
- Vikings are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games in December.
Expert Prediction: Steelers 23, Vikings 22
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