Tonight’s Thursday night game features two teams coming off impressive wins last week in the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers. The Packers finally unleashed the offense we thought we were going to see all season, while the Vikes had an impressive win against the Falcons in Teddy Bridgewater’s first start. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Bridgewater will play tonight, which means that Christian Ponder will be the 3rd Vikings starting QB in as many games. While that may be bad for the Vikings long term, I think it makes provides us a great opportunity to take them tonight.
You would think that missing a starting QB is a bad thing, and for the long run I would agree with you. But when a starter is only slated to miss one game, the rest of the team tends to rally around the backup and play their best football. Unfortunately, I don’t have any stats to support this, but let’s just look at a few examples so far from this season. Last week, Mike Glennon replaced the injured Josh McCown and led his team to a straight up victory on the road against a Pittsburgh team that had been very impressive the week before. Austin Davis replaced Shaun Hill and led the team to a win against the Bucs (as an underdog) and probably should have led them to a win against the Cowboys. Derek Anderson led the Panthers to a straight up victory as an underdog in week one while filling in for Cam Newton. You get the picture.
The Packers also may be a little overrated after last week’s offensive explosion. They’ve really only had success against teams with bad secondaries like the Jets and the Bears, and even against the Jets they struggled before halftime. The Vikings defense is not that bad, and should be able to at least keep this offense in check; they did a pretty good job against an equally impressive Falcons offense last week.
Finally, I think the spread movement on this game is a heavy indicator that the Vikings are the right side. Despite the fact that approximately 75 percent of the action is on Green Bay, the spread continues to move in Minnesota’s favor. The fact that the spread moved from 9 to 7.5 by itself would be a positive note for the Vikings. Add in the Bridgewater/Ponder situation, and it makes it even more alarming.
The Bottom Line: Minnesota is better than you think and Green Bay is probably worse. They should be able to keep it close, and the spread movement tells me they’re the right side.
The Pick- Minnesota Vikings +7.5 @ Green Bay Packers
Thursday Night Record (3-1)
Last Week’s Pick- New York Giants +3- Win
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