Best bets: Vikings-Bears, Raiders-Browns

By VSiN Staff  (VSiN.com) 

December 19, 2021 06:00 PM
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Due to COVID-19, Week 15 of the NFL season has two games on Monday, one between the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears and one between the Cleveland Browns and Las Vegas Raiders

Our team of experts at VSiN has the games covered from all angles, with a market report from South Point oddsmaker Chris Andrews, along with a pick on the game from VSiN's Adam Burke and Ben Brown from Pro Football Focus.

Minnesota Vikings (-6.5, 44) at Chicago Bears

Market Report from Chris Andrews: The Bears are dealing with some COVID-19 issues right now. Sharps took the Vikings at my opener of -3.5, I went directly to -4.5 and sharps kept betting. I had to go all the way to Minnesota -7 to find a roadblock. The wiseguys did take Chicago at the key number. I’m back to Minnesota -6.5, waiting to see if any other personnel news develops. I have a feeling we’ll be at Minnesota -7 again on game day. My opening total of 44 hasn’t budged. I do see some 44.5’s out there. Current forecast is for cold (but not frigid), and breezy conditions. 

Burke: The Windy City will live up to its name during the day, but the breezes should calm down by kickoff for Monday Night Football. That should benefit the Vikings, who bring a top-10 passing offense by DVOA to the table. Kirk Cousins is having an outstanding season and draws a Bears defense that came into Week 15 ranked 23rd by DVOA against the pass.

The Bears have been dealing with some COVID issues as well and both of their coordinators are questionable for the game. There is a lot of familiarity between these two teams, but the lead-up to this game has been much more challenging for the Bears – and that could present a big problem.

This line has already gone up to Vikings -6.5, but it is hard to lay numbers with a team that has led by seven or more in 12 of 13 games and still only has a 6-7 record. For whatever reason, Minnesota needs to have a flair for the dramatic at the end of the game. This is a situation, though, where the Vikings should get out to an early lead.

The first half line is Minnesota -3.5. The Vikings are averaging 14 first-half points per game this season, which came into this week tied for fourth in the NFL. The Bears have only scored 9.1 points per first half, which ranked 24th. Both teams have allowed 11.5 first-half points per game.

With a more promising forecast than expected, and with such a huge passing game edge for the Vikings, Minnesota looks like a good first-half bet before the team finds a way to make it interesting at the end of the game.

Pick: Vikings -3.5 1H

Brown: Cole Kmet has held to his high on-field usage, running a route on 75 percent of dropbacks, while playing almost 82 percent of offensive snaps. The target share has started to drop off, with Kmet at a 16 percent team share the past four weeks. 

The issue for Kmet on Monday night is the matchup, as the Vikings grade as a top-five coverage unit against the tight end position. They are vulnerable on the outside and now have Cameron Dantzler filling in for the recently cut Bashaud Breeland. This means that the success for the Bears passing offense will come on the outside, with Kmet operating as the third-best option in this offense.

Three-quarters of Kmet’s targets have come on first-read throws, but if Chicago’s game plan moves at all away from that matchup, Kmet will see an even further drop in his opportunities. PFF’s betting model points toward the under in this matchup, as we may not see any offensive fireworks until the fourth quarter. By then, Kmet should be an afterthought and an easy sweat for an under victory.

Pick: Kmet Under 30.5 receiving yards

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