Minnesota Vikings vs. San Francisco 49ers 2020 Divisional Round Preview
NFL fans gear up for a game few thought we’d be getting, as the Minnesota Vikings head to the Bay Area to battle the San Francisco 49ers. This unlikely showdown kick-starts the 2020 NFL Divisional Round of the playoffs, as Kirk Cousins and his “You like that?” mantra are alive and well.
I personally didn’t picture Minnesota upsetting the Saints in New Orleans, but here we are. Suddenly, bettors everywhere have to wonder if the Vikes have the goods to stage another unlikely upset.
Even if they can’t, can they beat the spread or do enough to push this game over a light 44.5 total?
On the other side are the Niners, who went 13-3, won the NFC West, and own the top seed in the NFC. Is this the powerhouse that did all of those things, or will Kyle Shanahan’s crew come out flat after the week off?
To answer all of that, I’m joined by Michael Wynn to dissect Saturday’s first Divisional Round contest. I’ll kick things off with the Vikings vs. 49ers odds.
Vikings vs. 49ers Betting Odds
All of the most reputable football betting sites have the 49ers as a pretty hefty favorite. I won’t even cite the point spread specifically, though, as it could change by tomorrow. This game opened with a line of +9.5, but it’s come down since, which could suggest that there has been a lot of action on the Minnesota side, or the top football sportsbooks are attempting to incentivize that wager.
My guess is the former, seeing as 45% of the money has gone on the Vikings to beat the spread. The spread has come down, though, so we should understandably see that wager cool a bit.
The Vikings remain a very fun upset pick to try. They made some people big money last week and obviously have the chance to do that again. Betting on the Niners straight-up is pretty pointless, but the shrinking point spread does make wagering on them to cover a little more palatable.
Lastly, this is a very low total, so I’ll be interested to see how it moves as the week carries on.
Useful Vikings vs. 49ers Betting Data
Does any one piece of data sway you when preparing to bet on NFL playoff games? I’d say no, but gathering up as much useful information as possible is rarely a bad idea.
Kirk Cousins had never won a playoff game before last week, and yet he went into New Orleans and did just that. Narratives, records, and all kinds of data can be misleading and/or fit our personal agendas.
Before formulating your bets for the 2020 Divisional Round, consider some of this data.
- Vikings are 11-6 on the year
- Vikings are 5-4 on the road
- Vikings are 10-7 ATS
- Vikings are 2-3 SU as underdog
- Vikings are 3-2 as underdog ATS
- Vikings are 5-4 on the road ATS
- Vikings are 2-2 on the road as underdog ATS
- Vikings are 8-5 against NFC
- Vikings are 8-5 ATS against NFC
- Vikings are 9-2 against non-NFC North teams
- Vikings are 7-4 ATS against non-NFC North teams
- Over is 9-8 in Vikings games
- Over is 8-7-1 in 49ers games
- 49ers are 13-3 on the year
- 49ers are 6-2 at home
- 49ers are 9-6-1 ATS
- 49ers are 9-2 as favorite
- 49ers are 4-6-1 ATS as favorite
- 49ers are 3-4-1 at home ATS
- 49ers are 3-4-1 at home as favorite ATS
- 49ers are 10-2 against NFC
- 49ers are 6-5-1 ATS against NFC
- 49ers are 8-2 against non-NFC West teams
- 49ers are 7-3 ATS against non-NFC West teams
- Vikings won last meeting in 2018, 24-16
- Series is tied 23-23-1
- Vikings are 1-2 in playoffs under Mike Zimmer
- This is Kyle Shanahan’s first playoff game with 49ers
- Shanahan’s last playoff game was in Super Bowl LI collapse
- Vikings haven’t reached the NFC title game since 2009
- 49ers are playing first playoff game since 2013
The main takeaway for me here is that the Vikings have done a great job keeping games competitive, while the 49ers have actually performed below expectations at times when favored by the sportsbooks.
That doesn’t mean the Vikings will for sure beat the spread here, of course. Outside of their crazy road win last week, Minnesota has been a pretty pedestrian team away from home.
San Francisco, meanwhile, has been very good at home all year and has been especially dominant inside their own conference.
The coaching issues are likely a wash, too. There has to be some type of mental aspect for Shanahan, seeing as his last playoff game saw him coach his Atlanta Falcons out of a title.
I doubt he does that here, but it’s always possible. There’s also the issue of Minnesota having quality teams under Mike Zimmer but always failing to take it to that next level.
Vikings vs. 49ers Pick: Who Will Win?
Kirk Cousins executed the game plan perfectly in the first round, and for the most part, he’s been that guy during Minnesota’s second half of the year.
Dalvin Cook is also healthy and showcased his ability to come out on top in a negative matchup. What the Vikings did by taking down the Saints was show that they’re a legit team the 49ers cannot take lightly.
That isn’t even touching on their defense, which is capable of stopping the run up front. Their secondary is far from elite, but they showed last week that they can get pressure on the quarterback and be extremely disruptive.
All of these things should worry the 49ers, but San Francisco has a very good defense of their own and one of the deepest backfields in all of football. Jimmy Garoppolo is a lot like Cousins in that he thrives when his running game and defense are clicking.
Garoppolo benefits from playing at home here, while he has the much better matchup on paper. On top of that, Jimmy G has one of the quickest releases in football, and the 49ers ranked 20th in sacks given up.
That should be good enough to largely beat Minnesota’s pressure and set up the ground game. Minnesota’s run defense can be tough, but they did get worked by Aaron Jones a couple of games ago, and they’ll be facing the second most explosive rushing attack (16 runs of 20+ yards) in all of football.
Ultimately, the 49ers are going to be very tough to beat in their own backyard. There isn’t much value in going hard at the Niners, but they’re the play if you’re betting on Vikings vs. 49ers straight up.
San Francisco 49ers to Win-325
Michael Wynn’s Pick
Noah brought up some extremely valid points. The idea that Jimmy G can get the ball out of his hands quickly bodes well when you consider how ferocious of a pass rusher guys like Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen can be.
Nevertheless, I’m going with the underdogs to pull this one out on the road.
The confidence gained and the momentum garnered from beating the Saints in the Superdome can easily be carried over into Santa Clara.
Adam Thielen hauled in seven balls for 129 receiving yards last week, proving his hamstring officially isn’t an issue. Dalvin Cook rushed 28 times and reached pay dirt twice, so it’s safe to say the Vikings stud tailback isn’t being hindered by his shoulder, either.
“Captain Kirk” needed a big-time performance to get over the hump, and he delivered in a huge way last weekend in the Big Easy. While I don’t see any value in laying -325 to find out if the 49ers can win this game, I see a ton in backing Minnesota to emerge with the upset.
Minnesota Vikings to Win+255
Best Bet for Vikings vs. 49ers
While I see the Niners winning this game, I do think it stays close, and I also think we get a fair amount of points. The problem is we’re still being forced to trust Kirk Cousins if we do anything that backs Minnesota, and I can’t do that.
Cousins surprised me last week, but he’s otherwise done nothing of merit in the NFL in terms of big-time games. Going on the road and taking out a very talented Niners defense just doesn’t strike me as likely from where I’m sitting.
Offensively, though, the Vikings do have the firepower to at least put up some points. As good as the 49ers have been defensively, they still have been burned a few times this season.
Ultimately, I am most game for attacking what feels like a low total.
The Niners ranked second in scoring on the year (29.9), and Minnesota was inside the top 10 (25.4). The defensive ability is not weak in this game at all, but the offenses are efficient and explosive enough to hit a low 44.5 over.
Vikings vs. 49ers Over 44.5-110
Michael Wynn’s Top Bet
Minnesota is getting hot and healthy at the perfect time. I’m bullish on the Vikings winning this game outright, but not everyone is going to want to extend themselves out on a limb when it comes to betting NFL games online.
That’s why my recommendation is to lock the Vikes in at BetOnline now and grab the touchdown worth of insurance.
As sound as the 49ers are, they don’t really have the firepower to win this game going away. Even if San Fran gets out in front, I envision Cousins and the Vikings at least having an opportunity to tie the game late.
There’s a chance this line dips to San Francisco -6.5 by the time Saturday’s kickoff arrives, so anyone who fancies Minnesota’s chances should do what I’ve already done.
All aboard the Vikings bandwagon — here we come!
Minnesota Vikings (+7)-115
Talk about dueling perspectives. The fact that Michael Wynn and I are waging war on the moneyline and picking completely different wagers tells you just how badly the Vikings messed with our minds last week.
If Minnesota is legit like Wynn suggests, you’re getting a steal in round two. Even if they’re not going to win, you can still rest easy if you roll with them against the spread, per Michael.
I won’t fight him on that second play, but I personally prefer the Over given two very capable offenses.
Overall, there is a lot of uncertainty heading into the second round of the 2020 NFL playoffs. Hopefully, two voices did enough to nudge you in the right direction. For more NFL betting advice all year long, check out our NFL Betting Headquarters.