There has been a lot of wild NFL line-movement for Week 11.
The Dallas Cowboys began as slight favorites against the host Detroit Lions, but word from Motor City that Matt Stafford’s injury is as bad as initially feared has helped the point spread shoot in the Silver Star’s direction. Arizona opened as a 2-TD + 2 XP underdog vs the San Francisco 49ers, but the spread has narrowed to (+10). Over/Under lines have been flying high or sinking low after opening at what felt like logical numbers.
But the action is cautious on a number of other games, starting with the Denver Broncos’ trip to visit the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday afternoon.
Not that speculators don’t like the favored Norsemen to beat a 3-6 Denver team. But the point spread has actually tightened by half of a point at some books. Will the contest at U.S. Bank Stadium be as close of a scrum as high-rollers are expecting?
Who: Denver Broncos at Minnesota Vikings
When: Sunday, November 17th, 1 PM EST
Where: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN
Lines: DEN (+10) at MINN (-10) / O/U Total: (40.5)
On the surface, it would appear to be among the more lopsided match-ups of Week 11. Mike Zimmer’s club is at a W/L record of 7-3 and coming off of an impressive 28-24 win in Dallas last Sunday night.
Minnesota was able to pull off the victory despite missing 3 key starters. Adam Thielen is still nursing a hamstring injury. On the defensive side, the Vikings will be without DT Linval Joseph for at least another week as he recovers from meniscus surgery, though CB Trae Waynes (who also missed last week’s) tilt looks set to return to action:
The Vikings on Friday ruled out WR Adam Thielen (hamstring), Linval Joseph (knee), Anthony Harris (groin) and Josh Kline (concussion). Minnesota also listed Andrew Sendejo (groin) as questionable.
Thielen, Joseph and Sendejo are continuing to rehab injuries that already have sidelined them from games. Kline suffered a concussion during Minnesota’s game at Dallas last week, Harris did not practice Thursday or Friday after being limited on Wednesday. Trae Waynes, who missed last week with an ankle injury, is likely to make his return.
Jaleel Johnson will be ready to start a second straight game – and third of his career – for Joseph against the Broncos on Sunday.
The Broncos ruled cornerback Bryce Callahan (foot) out for Sunday and listed tight end Jeff Heuerman and tackle Ja’Wuan James (knee) as doubtful. Receiver DaeSean Hamilton, who was added to Thursday’s injury report as a limited participant with a knee injury, is questionable. Broncos Head Coach Vic Fangio said that cornerback Duke Dawson (foot), Lindsay (wrist), safety Will Parks (hand) and defensive end DeMarcus Walker (shoulder) will go.
Minnesota has now won 4 out of 5 games running, and last week’s outing could have been what Kirk Cousins needed to get a proverbial monkey off of his back. The knock on Cousins has been that he folds under pressure and cannot win big games, but a road victory in prime-time against America’s Team has quieted his critics at least for the time being.
The power-and-speed combo of Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison is opening up the passing game, and has allowed Cousins to post a 112 QBR with an 18:3 TD/INT ratio. With the 28-24 win last week, Minnesota is now 21-1-1 since 2015 when scoring 28+ points. Cousins is 3 TD’s short of 150 for his career heading into Sunday.
Denver heads into the week off of a 24-19 win against the Browns, snapping a 2-game losing skid. Brandon Allen was an effective game manager in the victory, completing 12-20 passes for 193 yards and 2 TD’s. It looks like we will see Allen under center for the Broncos once again this week with Joe Flacco sidelined with a neck injury and on IR.
Rookie QB Drew Lock was activated off of IR and is finally practicing. There is a very good chance Denver will want to see what they have in the teams 2nd round pick in last years draft if the 2019-20 season continues to go south.
Allen hooked up with rookie TE Noah Fant for a 75-yard touchdown in last week’s win, but other than that the Denver passing game was rather quiet. Phillip Lindsay rumbled for a 30-yard touchdown and added another 40-yard run, and was able to rush for 92 yards on just 9 carries.
Lindsay continues to share the load with Royce Freeman in the Broncos backfield, but Vic Fangio is likely considering a move to make Lindsay his feature back. In games in which Lindsay is active and gains under 70 yards on the ground, the Broncos are 0-13.
Both defenses rank in the top-10 in the NFL in points allowed, helping lead to the cautious O/U total.
Minnesota is a solid pick to cover (-10). Also, O/U bettors are looking at the overall scoring numbers in the league and must consider that a domed stadium will be a welcome relief for skill players plagued with weather – especially when they’re coming from Mile High.
Take the Over or the Norsemen minus 10, or both.