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Minnesota has won consecutive games as an underdog and now returns home in the rare role as favorite. They lay 5.5 points against the visiting Tennessee Titans Sunday in Week 5 betting action.
The Minnesota Vikings have not been favorites very often lately, but when it happens, they seldom cover the spread.
So despite their surprising spot atop the NFC North, bettors are nervous laying points when they host the Tennessee Titans at the Metrodome. Minnesota is a 5.5-point home favorite at most sportsbooks tracked by OddsShark.com.
"The Vikes are just 1-7 ATS the past eight times in this position, but the betting public seems to have warmed to the idea of backing them," said Scott Winstone of Top Bet.
"It could also prove to be a letdown spot after two big upset wins."
After winning just three games over the entire 2011 season, the Vikings have already matched that total here in 2012 with a surprising 3-1 SU (2-2 ATS) start. Minnesota stunned the football world with a 24-13 upset win at home over San Francisco in Week 3, and followed that up with another upset on the road against the Detroit Lions 20-13 last week.
Christian Ponder is making the necessary plays at quarterback, and the defense is playing very well.
No team has done less on defense this season than the Tennessee Titans. Off to an ugly 1-3 start both SU and ATS, the Titans have allowed 37.8 points per game through their first four games, allowing no less than 34 points in any of them.
With Jake Locker out with a shoulder injury, Matt Hasselbeck will take over quarterback duties for the Titans this Sunday.
Hasselbeck is a solid backup, and the offense shouldn't take too big of a step backwards with him in instead of Locker. But does it really matter who is in under center if the defense continues to play this badly?
On the other hand, Tennessee has gone up against four tough offenses in New England, San Diego, Detroit and Houston; maybe Minnesota's less explosive offense (averaging 22.5 points per game will help).
Both of these teams have ugly recent ATS stats as Tennessee is 1-7 ATS over its last eight games and Minnesota is 4-7-1 ATS over its last 12 games. Tennessee could keep this one close with a big day from Chris Johnson, who finally had a big day rushing for 141 yards in last week's loss.
But Minnesota's defense has been strong all season, and the Titans just haven't shown enough on either side of the ball to feel confident in their side.
PICK: Minnesota -5.5