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Week 11: Arizona Cardinals vs. Minnesota Vikings Total Score Value Bet

Arizona Cardinals (4-4-1) vs. Minnesota Vikings (5-4)
Where: U.S. Bank Stadium. Minneapolis, Minnesota
When: Sunday, November 20, 2016. 1:00 PM (EST)
Over/Under: 40.5 at the Bovada Sportsbook

Two teams that were predicted to do great things this past offseason but haven’t quite lived up to expectations are set to face off this Sunday: it’s the Cardinals at the Vikings.

Last season, both of these two teams won their divisions outright, and both of those divisions featured a wild card team with 10 wins. The Cardinals and the Vikings had impressive seasons in 2015/16, and were expected to take positive steps forward the following year.

However, this season has seen just the opposite. The Cardinals have struggled on offense, and the Vikings have been so riddled with injuries that it’s hard to say it’s even the same team.

Odds-makers find these two teams so evenly matched right now that the game is a pick’em, with even odds, even action on both sides, and even moneyline odds. But while the outcome of the game might be a toss-up, the over/under bet shows promising value for this matchup. Let’s review the two teams.

Arizona Cardinals: Is Carson Palmer Over the Hill?

The Arizona Cardinals may have found a new franchise running back in David Johnson, whom they utilize more effectively and with greater variety than almost any team in the league. This fresh life comes at an opportune time, as their quarterback situation is once again becoming uncertain.

After Kurt Warner’s retirement in 2010, the Cardinals struggled for a few years to find a suitable
replacement. Carson Palmer seemed to be the answer, and played well for a few years. But now, after 14 seasons in the league, Palmer appears to be running out of juice. Even near the end of last season the Cardinals began taking fewer and fewer shots downfield, even though they had solid receivers.

Despite having good passing yardage numbers this season, it’s important to remember that over 1600 of their passing yards have come against the Buccaneers, Rams, Panthers, and 49ers (twice). Without much presence in the passing game, defenses are able to put more men in the box against the Arizona Cardinals. Their prolific rushing attack allows them to get by, but makes them one dimensional.

Norsemen Decimated by Injuries

It’s been the tale of two seasons for the Minnesota Vikings. Three seasons, really, if you count the vision that Vikings had for the year before preseason injuries to both their franchise quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and franchise running back Adrian Peterson. After spending a first round draft pick to bring in serviceable back-up Sam Bradford, a 5-game win streak to start the season had fans convinced that they could still make a run.

However, everything went south after their Week 6 bye, and the Vikings have dropped their last four games. They now sit at 5-4. The biggest change was in the trenches: injuries to three starting offensive linemen have left Minnesota completely unable to block, on the offensive side of the ball.

Similarly, the defensive front seven is no longer getting any push up front. The run defense has suffered, and without any pressure on the quarterback, the Vikings have only two takeaways in their last three games, after getting 9 in the first three games.

Why I’m Taking the Under

Vikings are a team in absolute free fall. It’s possible that with some time to develop continuity, the new cast of characters that has taken over in light of the injuries can right the ship for the Vikings. But while momentum may help you win games, you need playmakers to make plays in order to score points.

The Cardinals, on the other hand, are a well-coached team that can run the ball and play defense. The Vikings may come out firing in order to save their season in front of the home crowd, and it’s possible that the Cardinals won’t be able to weather the storm.
But regardless of who wins, there is no reason to suspect that either of these quarterbacks will be taking shots down the field and leading quick scoring drives. These two defenses are well coached, and currently rank 2nd and 3rd in yards allowed.

In the last analysis, the ineffectiveness of these offenses is supported by the fact that the O/U for
match-ups featuring these two teams has historically favored the under. I predict the punters for both teams getting a lot of action in this game, and a final score of 13-10 Vikings.

I recommend that interested parties take the under at 40.5 at the Bovada sportsbook.

David HeinenThis article was written by David Heinen

David Heinen is a freelance psychology writer by day, inveterate NFL junkie by night. Born and raised on the Green Bay Packers, David is a die-hard Cheesehead, not to mention a cheese enthusiast in his spare time.

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