The Minnesota Vikings haven’t been slowed by losing their starting quarterback and No. 1 running back, vaulting themselves into top spot in the NFC North heading into this weekend’s showdown with the winless Cleveland Browns at Twickenham Stadium in London. Minnesota has reeled off three consecutive wins on the strength of a sensational defense allowing just over 14 points per game over that stretch. And the Browns are … well, the Browns.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Cleveland Browns
Point spread: Browns +9.5 Date: Sunday, October 29, 1 p.m. ET Location: Twickenham Stadium, London, England
Point Spread and Betting Analysis
As 9.5-point underdogs with a game total of 37.5, oddsmakers believe the Browns won’t spend much time on Minnesota’s side of the field. And the trends certainly support this; Cleveland is 1-11-1 against the spread in the last 13 games when facing teams with winning records, and has covered just six times in the previous 30 games following a straight-up defeat. So it’s no surprise that 78 percent of Sports Interaction bettors are laying the points.
Nearly an identical share of bettors are leaning toward the over, though there is plenty of evidence to suggest that this could be a low-scoring affair. The Vikings have gone under in eight of their last 11 games following a straight-up victory, while the Browns have gone under the total 10 times in the last 13 contests after losing the previous week. Minnesota has played to the under in both road games in 2017, while all four of the Browns’ “home” games have gone under.
The Browns haven’t done many things particularly well, but they have been especially bad at holding on to the football. Cleveland has turned the ball over 19 times – five more than any other team in the NFL – while its 17 interceptions against are already three more than they had all of last season. Like the Vikings, the Browns might move on to their third-string quarterback, with Cody Kessler a possibility to start over DeShone Kizer and Kevin Hogan.
The Vikings have covered in nine of their last 12 games against a losing team, and are in prime position to extend that trend given how they have played over their last three games. Part of that has to do with the team philosophy that exercises caution on both sides of the football; third-string quarterback Case Keenum has been an ideal game manager, resulting in Minnesota retaining possession for no less than 31:26 over the course of the winning streak.
Vikings vs. Browns prediction
Vikings 23, Browns 10