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Best Bet in Lions-Vikings: Lions to lean on their ‘A’ back, Vikings to keep airing it out

Both teams are hurting without their top running backs, but it shouldn’t change their respective approach on offense.

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions will face their NFC North rival Minnesota Vikings and are still in search of their first win of the 2021 season. But we’re not here to concern ourselves with the Lions getting off the schneid; we’re here to get you, dedicated gambler, a win of your own.

Both teams are without their top running backs this week. The Lions without D’Andre Swift for at least this week, and the Vikings without Dalvin Cook for at least the next couple of weeks with a dislocated shoulder he suffered against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 12.

While the Vikings have an offense capable of running the football—mostly because of the talent Cook brings to the table—the team is also without rookie starting left tackle Christian Darrisaw up front. Besides that, Minnesota is a football team loaded with talent at wide receiver and a quarterback who mostly gets the job done in getting them the football. Justin Jefferson is Pro Football Focus’ sixth-highest rated receiver in the league, and Adam Thielen is no slouch either—he’s snagged ten passes for touchdowns, which is tied for first in the NFL.

We’ve all taken notice of coach Dan Campbell’s tendencies as a play-caller, and it’s clear he thinks Detroit’s path to success on offense can be found on the ground and through the team’s running backs. In the past three weeks, Detroit running backs have combined for a hefty workload of 98 rushing attempts and receptions combined.

Here’s the same-game parlay I’ve put together that is equal parts “safe” and profitable.

Jamaal Williams OVER 54.5 rushing yards
Justin Jefferson OVER 69.5 receiving yards
Detroit Lions OVER 0.5 total touchdowns
Minnesota Vikings OVER 0.5 total touchdowns

This group of props nets you +160 odds over at DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook of SB Nation. Williams has more than 54 rushing yards in a game four times this season, most recently last week against the Chicago Bears when he took over for the injured Swift and totaled 65 yards on the ground.

For Jefferson, he’s been getting a ton of attention from Kirk Cousins lately. In his past three games, Jefferson has 30 targets—11 against the Chargers, 10 against Green Bay, and 9 last week against the 49ers. And his receiving numbers in those three contests more than meet the threshold he’ll need to eclipse in order to cash-in on this bet:

9 receptions for 143 yards vs. Los Angeles Chargers
8 receptions for 169 yards vs. Green Bay Packers
4 receptions for 83 yards vs. San Francisco 49ers

With both defenses at less than full strength, we should see each team score at least a touchdown to add a little dash of cash on top of this wager.

Bet responsibly, y’all.