NFC Wild Card Gambling Pick For Giants At Vikings

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The 6-seed New York Giants (9-7-1) stop by U.S. Bank Stadium Sunday for an NFC Wild Card showdown with the NFC North and 3-seed Minnesota Vikings (13-4) at 4:30 p.m. ET.

Minnesota won 11 one-score games this season and Kirk Cousins led the NFL in both game-winning drives (8) and fourth-quarter comebacks (8). Vikings WR Justin Jefferson led the league in catches (128) and receiving yards (1,809).

NYG has won their share of one-score games as well under first-year coach Brian Daboll who appears to be a QB-whisperer. Giants QB Daniel Jones has gone from a lame-duck QB to decent starter at worst, franchise QB at best.

New York Giants coach Brian Daboll talks with QB Daniel Jones before a game against the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
New York Giants coach Brian Daboll talks with QB Daniel Jones before a game against the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

The Vikings eked past the Giants 27-24 in Week 16 thanks to a game-winning 61-yard FG from Vikings PK Greg Joseph as time expired.

This season, Minnesota is 7-9-1 against the spread (ATS) despite all the one-score wins and 11-6 Over/Under (O/U). While NYG is 13-4 ATS and 6-9-2 O/U.

Giants-Vikings Betting Board (DraftKings)

  • Moneyline: GIANTS (+135), Vikings (-155)
  • Against the spread (ATS): GIANTS +3 (-110), Vikings -3 (-110)
  • Total — 49 — Over: -110, Under: -110

Before we breakdown this matchup, let me out myself as a “New York Giants fan”. Usually, I recuse myself from betting NYG games because of the bias. But, if I didn’t have an objective opinion about this game, I wouldn’t be handicapping this game.

‘Fading’ the Giants-Vikings part I result

NY out-gained Minnesota in yards per play (6.7-5.0) and choked the game away. The Giants had 7 penalties for 63 yards, lost the turnover battle 2-0, dropped at least two would-be Cousins INTs, and NYG had three WR-drops themselves.

Jones had a better on-target rate than Cousins and the Giants’ defense pressured Cousins on 28.8% of his dropbacks. To put that into context the Philadelphia Eagles lead the NFL in pressure rate at 25.5%.

Jefferson and Vikings TE T.J. Hockenson combined for 25 catches for 242 yards and 3 TDs and were targeted a combined 32 times out of Cousins’ 48 pass attempts. However, there are two major changes from that game …

NYG’s defense is healthier and Minnesota’s O-line is banged up

The Giants were missing two starters in their secondary when they played the Vikings. NYG S Xavier McKinney and their No. 1 CB Adoree’ Jackson were both sidelined with injuries.

Make no mistake Jefferson could still light the it up but Jackson’s top-rated cornerback, according to Pro Football Focus (PFF). McKinney’s return allows NYG S Julian Love to focus on Hockenson.

Furthermore, Minnesota could be without two starting offensive linemen. Vikings RT Ryan O’Neill is out for the rest of the season and C Garrett Bradbury missed the final five games of the season with a concussion.

New York Giants DT Dexter Lawrence in action against the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
New York Giants DT Dexter Lawrence in action against the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

These absences loom large for the Vikings. Giants DT Dexter Lawrence wreaked havoc on Minnesota’s offensive line in Week 16 and will play a major role for the Giants in this game.

He is PFF’s top-ranked defensive linemen out of 126 charted and named to The Players’ first-annual All-Pro Team. Lawrence could be in Minnesota’s backfield all afternoon facing a second-string center.

Giants rookie pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux has started to demonstrate why NYG drafted him with the fifth overall pick in this past draft. Thibodeaux will have a plus-EV matchup, lining up against a backup right tackle.

Furthermore …

The Giants wins the quarterback battle

One of my favorite betting angles in football is betting against Cousins in a big spot. Cousins’ is having a career-year season but that dude is going to turn back into a pumpkin in one of these playoff games.

A healthier NYG defense and Giants defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale matchup well against Cousins. NYG have the highest blitz rate in the NFL and play a lot of man coverage behind it.

Cousins has the best completion percentage vs. zone coverage but 18th against man coverage. Also, Cousins gets skittish when facing the blitz and throws errant passes.

Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins looks on against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins looks on against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. (David Berding/Getty Images)

According to PFF, Cousins is 28th in both passing grade vs. the blitz and pressures turned into sacks, 24th in turnover-worthy plays and 34th in adjusted completion rate.

Aside from Cousins winning all these coin-flip games, Jones is the higher graded QB. Jones has a better completion percentage over expectation blended with EPA/play, a better QBR and better deep ball, per PFF.

More cash at DraftKings is coming in on the Giants while more bets have been placed on the Vikings, per VSIN. Typically, it’s wise to follow the money when it’s counter to the public since professionals wager a lot more dough.

BET: Giants +3 (-115) and ‘sprinkle’ on NYG’s ML (+130) at DraftKings Sportsbook

The New York Giants’ odds at the Minnesota Vikings from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Friday, Jan. 13th at 11:10 a.m. ET.

Giants-Vikings Player Props

Giants QB Daniel Jones OVER 40.5 rushing yards (-115) at DraftKings Sportsbook

This is a fair price for Jones’ rushing yards prop even though he ran for just 34 yards on four carries vs. the Vikings earlier this season. Jones averages 44.3 rushing yards per game and 5.9 yards per rush.

But, there’s value in this number under 50 rushing yards because of how Daboll will most likely use Jones. Daboll called more Bills QB Josh Allen runs during the playoffs when Daboll was Buffalo’s offensive coordinator from 2018-21.

New York Giants QB Daniel Jones runs with the ball against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
New York Giants QB Daniel Jones runs with the ball against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. (David Berding/Getty Images)

Allen averages 8.5 rushes in six playoff games, all in Daboll’s offense. He rushed for at least 50 yards in five of those six games. Given NYG’s lackluster WRs, I’m literally betting Daboll runs Jones more in this game.

If Jones attempts eight rushes against the Vikings, Jones will gain roughly 47 rushing yards based on his yards per rush season average. Finally, Jones was given a rest in Week 18 so he has fresh legs for the playoffs.

New York Giants QB Daniel Jones’ rushing yards prop vs. the Minnesota Vikings from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Friday, Jan. 13th at 11:15 a.m. ET.

Vikings WR Adam Thielen UNDER 37.5 receiving yards (-115) at DraftKings Sportsbook

This season, Thielen is averaging his fewest yards per target and is a shell of his former self from a WR-production standpoint. He had just five targets vs. the Giants in Week 16 for 1 catch and 6 yards.

Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen lines up against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen lines up against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

NYG’s heavy-blitz defense will force Cousins to make quick decisions and Thielen just doesn’t separate from coverage fast enough. PFF gives Thielen a 42.8 grade in his WR-CB matchup this week vs. the Giants also.

DraftKings lists Thielen as a heavy favorite to go UNDER his 3.5 reception prop at -155. Thielen averages just 10.2 yards per reception so if he only catches 3 balls, that’s roughly 30 receiving yards i.e. UNDER 37.5.

Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen's receiving yards prop vs. the New York Giants from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Friday, Jan. 13 at 11:30 a.m. ET.
Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen’s receiving yards prop vs. the New York Giants from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Friday, Jan. 13 at 11:30 a.m. ET.

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Written by Geoff Clark

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