Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions: betting odds, preview and prediction

Adam M. Bettcher - Getty Images

Was that the real Minnesota Vikings in Week 3 or a one-time-only fluke Minnesota Vikings? Regardless, they got the attention of Vegas oddsmakers with their upset of the 49ers and they are smaller underdogs in Week 4.

With the Green Bay Packers off to a 1-2 start, the division race is wide open, and the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions will jostle for position in the NFC North when they meet at Ford Field in Detroit this Sunday.

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The Lions were a 4.5-point favorite early in the week and they face a team that has lost 11 straight divisional games. But the Vikings upset the 49ers in Week 3 and bettors are wondering if that was a fluke or if the people making football picks should be nervous in Week 4.

In a week full of upsets last week, not many surprised bettors more than the Minnesota Vikings upsetting San Francisco as a 7-point home underdog.

The defense played great in the 24-13 win, and Christian Ponder threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another as he continues to put together a strong start to the 2012 season. Off to a 2-1 SU start (1-2 ATS), the Vikings might need to be taken seriously.

46 points were scored in the fourth quarter of a wild game last Sunday between the Tennessee Titans and the Detroit Lions. The Lions scored two touchdowns in 18 seconds two tie the game at 41-41, but lost in overtime to fall to 1-2 SU and 0-3 ATS on the season.

In the loss, Matthew Stafford left the game with a hip injury, and his status for Sunday is still currently up in the air. Shaun Hill played well in his limited time in the game.

Both of these teams have been awful at covering spreads recently. Detroit is 1-9 ATS over its last 10 games while Minnesota is 3-7-1 ATS over its last 11 games. The Lions have won each of their last three games against the Vikings (1-1-1 ATS), but the Vikings are 3-1-2 ATS over the last six meetings between these two division rivals.

Detroit's only win this season was by four points, and Minnesota's only loss was by three. With Stafford's status in doubt (and the fact that he'll be less than 100% even if he does play), this one should be close right down to the finish, leaving us leaning towards taking the points.

PICK: Minnesota +4.5

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