Minnesota Vikings vs. Philadelphia Eagles (10/13/19): NFL Betting Picks, Lines

Last Week’s Results: 4-6
All Time Results: 36-29, +6.4 Units

Minnesota Vikings -3 vs. Philadelphia Eagles – .8 Unit

Minnesota Vikings -4.5 vs. Philadelphia Eagles (+143) – .1

Minnesota Vikings -6.5 vs. Philadelphia Eagles (+163) – .1

Sometimes the best picks are the hardest to make.  As one of the few fans and defenders of Kirk Cousins left out there, I face double embarrassment should the Eagles put on their dog masks this Sunday and again maul the Vikings, like they did famously in the 2017 NFC championship game.

“How could you take the Vikings? Kirk Cousins is 7-25 against teams with a winning record!”  I am acutely aware.  Not only of Cousins’ lack of success against good teams but about just how good these Eagles are.  Not only does Philadelphia have a winning record, but Philly is a recent SB champion who recently beat maybe the best team in the NFC on a short week in Lambeau Field.

I have no doubt: The Eagles are for real.  That’s why this number is so low.  That’s the other side.  I’m betting the Vikings are real as well.

minnesota vikingsMuch healthier than the Eagles, and talent-ladened at every position group, the Viks boast a coach that thrives in this exact spot.  “What about their quarterback?!?” More on him in a moment.  First the coach.

Mike Zimmer has proven over and over again to be an elite NFL coach.  He has the best ATS record in the league since he started in 2014, hovering around 65%.  He has been even better when coaching at home and when coaching as a favorite.  Minnesota almost never has a flat spot under Zimmer, last year’s loss to Buffalo being the exception.

The Vikings Under Mike Zimmer are:

  • 33-12-4 ATS (73%) as a favorite, including 3-0 this year and 8-1 dating back to last year.
  • 23-6-3 (79.3%) at home as a favorite, including 2-0 this year and 9-2-3 dating back to last year.
  • 13-3 ATS (81.3%) as a home favorite of fewer than 4 points.
  • 9-0 ATS (100%) as a home favorite of fewer than 4 points against a non-division opponent.

“But!” – cry Eagles backers this week – “most of those numbers came before Zimmer was saddled with the likes of Kirk Cousins!”

True.  And, again, it’s such a big number it’s worth repeating, Cousins is 7-25 against winning teams for his career.

Unlike, most, however, I think Cousins is the best quarterback Zimmer has had.  What explains Cousins Jeckel & Hyde performances, epitomized by the see-saw of the past three weeks where the Vikings crushed two bad teams and lost badly on the road in Chicago?

Is it that Cousins is a choker? Like the tin man, does he have no heart? Maybe.  If you believe that, you’re entitled to that opinion.

Here is another consideration.  According to reports I first heard from former NFL QB, Brady Quinn and his Fox Sports Co-Host Jonas Knox, Cousins has a very regimented schedule.  He has most if not all of his daily life down scheduled down to the minute on an excel spreadsheet.  His poor performance in primetime and other games may have as much to do with him feeling uncomfortable outside of his schedule as it does with playing superior competition.

The numbers back up this theory.  Cousins is 39-37 ATS for his career as a starter.  However, if we just look games played at 1PM ET, Cousins is 30-17-1 ATS for his career, good for 63%.  In all games he’s played that don’t start exactly at 1 PM, Cousins is 9-20-1 ATS, a paltry 31%.

Moreover, with the Eagles enduring cluster injuries in their secondary – three starters likely out – I don’t need Cousins to be Aaron Rodgers to win this game.  I need him to be a rich man’s Case Keenum.

Despite having the same record, the Vikings have an edge in almost every statistical category over the Eagles.  Minnesota is 3rd in Net Yards per play.  Philadelphia is 23rd.

While the Eagles have been strong in run defense, I think the Vikings have a more balanced offense than most perceive.  I think the Cousins to Thielen drama has inspired both to play harder and better develop their chemistry.  In a comfortable home spot here, I’m betting Cousins will silence the critics.  Now, I’ve said that before – and lost badly.  But that’s my two cents, anyway.  We will see on Sunday.

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Born in Chicago, born for Las Vegas, Mackenzie is a graduate of Yale University with a BA in English & Creative Writting. Mackenzie runs AlternativeStats.blog, which seeks to by-pass the minutiae of commonly cited sports statistics and expose the heart of what drives athletic success. After several successful years investing in Las Vegas real estate, Mackenzie is excited to transition in 2019 into betting on sports full time, as well as documenting his thought process as he further learns the craft.

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