January 10, 2016 (9:32 AM ET)
Sports Profit System clients have won 62% of their NFL picks thanks to an unrivaled 39-24 seasonal record!
Take Minnesota Vikings at +5 spread against Seattle Seahawks for 3% of the bankroll.
Despite a superior record (11-5) and having won the tough NFC North division, public perception is still skewed in favor of the Hawks in this matchup. The average NFL bettor sees back-to-back Super Bowl participants, looks at the previous result when these two sides met and quickly pulls the trigger on them even though Seattle is laying more points it should today and has several disadvantages in this spot. Sharps are all over Minnesota and we wouldn't be surprised to see this line go down to +4 by game time!
The Vikings have the healthiest squad coming into this Wild Card weekend. They have all of their key players back from injuries while Seattle has to go battle without some of its most important assets. Marshawyn Lynch did not fully recover from his injury and has been ruled out. He was a proven commodity in the post-season and the added pressure it can bring and the man nicknamed 'Beast Mode' will surely be missed not only because of his ability to bulldoze through tackles but because of the inspiration, energy and swagger his teammates derive from him, while serving as an intimidating and menacing presence for opponents across the field. It should be noted that Thomas Rawls who had performed very well as Lynch's replacement for much of the season is also out. That leaves Christine Michael (no TDs this season) to get the bulk of the hand-offs on a cold night in Minnesota and the man with limited playoff experience is just as likely to break out as have a costly fumble.
The last time these two met, Seahawks won in blowout fashion! To expect the same this afternoon however would be naive as a lot has changed since then. First and foremost, insiders will recall that the Vikings were missing 3 of their most important defensive players in Linval Joseph, Harrison Smith and Anthony Barr in that game! That is a key member of each line of the defense in what was the team's first game without them. They actually made great adjustments and played well without those three later on but in that game without 3 starters, miscommunication was evident. That won't be the case today as all three are healthy and have re-integrated with a group that has allowed just an average of 18.9 points per game! Mike Zimmer's defense is truly stout and very hard to breakdown but has not received much media attention because they don't force as many turnovers as some other defensive units in NFL. They do their primary job which is keeping teams out of the end zone extremely well however and we wouldn't be surprised if this game was decided by 4 or less points which bodes well for us regardless of which team wins.
What many are quick to forget about the Seahawks is that they rode excellent home field advantage by the '12th man' at CenturyLink field to consecutive Super Bowls! This year, they don't have that important edge. Many are surprised to learn that Pete Carroll, while an excellent coach is just 1-4 on the road in playoffs in his career and has been at his best when he's been able to get his players pumped up in front of their passionate home crowd. Seattle is still a very good team but they aren't as flawless as the last 2 years and are now having to play on the road at less than 100% against a much improved Minnesota side! The fact that they easily won their last game of the season, a blowout of division rivals, Arizona, also puts them in somewhat of a letdown spot today as it may give certain players a false sense of security and complacency, leading them to incorrectly believe that they can walk all over the Vikings again.
Minnesota already got its revenge from Green Bay last week after an ugly previous result against them earlier in the season and will be determined to do the same with the Seahawks. They are better prepared and ready for the big stage than they were earlier this season as they had some nerves to shake off in previous prime-time appearances. This is an afternoon game of course but the world will be watching and Teddy Bridgewater and company are now more comfortable with everyone's eyes on them than they were just a couple of months ago. Their prime-time appearance on Sunday night two weeks ago when they crushed the NY Giants gave them confidence! Then their composure, will to win and most importantly 'discipline' in clutch moments was tested in another prime time contest, this time for the division crown, something they hadn't won for years and they again passed with flying colors as their quiet confidence displayed throughout. The bottom line is that this squad believes in itself more than ever before and is now battle-tested in high pressure games! They were a bit unsure of themselves the last time these two teams took the field but their level of comfort in the spotlight has much improved since then while Seattle's injury woes have not.
As if missing their big off-season acquisition and huge red zone target Jimmy Graham was not a loss, they are also missing their second choice TE in Luke Willson, a truly under-rated player and one of Russell Wilson's primary go-to-targets on 3rd downs! The fact that Seattle is missing its top two tight-ends and best two running backs against a healthy and stout defense that is playing with supreme confidence means Russell Wilson will need to scramble all game to make plays on his own and while he's single-handedly won Seattle games this season, it may finally prove too much. The Seahawks may of course somehow pull out a win at the end but even if that's the case, the points are likely to come to play in this one as the betting public gets another one wrong while sharps cash their winning tickets at the counter. Take the precious points with the capable underdogs.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Vikings are 6-1 ATS as underdogs this season.
- Vikings have covered the spread 13 times this season!
- Vikings are 13-2 ATS after a division game over the last 3 seasons!
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