NFL Betting – Saints look to stop Minnesota roll

Vikings vs Saints oddsThe Super Bowl line for this week’s NFC championship matchup between New Orleans and Minnesota has fallen a bit since opening, and linesmakers are banking on a close game. Can the Saints prove them wrong to reach their first Super Bowl in franchise history?

Vikings vs Saints odds – Sunday, January 24, 6:40 PM ET

The Vikings stomped Dallas 34-3 at home to end the season 9-0 at the Metrodome, and they even threw in an unnecessary touchdown at the end of the game to shut up the Cowboys, who were talking earlier in the contest. Brett Favre was 15-of-24 for 234 yards and four touchdowns, and of course, his favorite target was Sidney Rice, who caught six passes for 141 yards and three touchdowns that were worth the price per head of admission by themselves. Defensively, the Vikings’ front four dominated, racking up for turnovers while sacking Dallas quarterback Tony Romo six times.

The Saints showed no signs of rust in a 45-14 romp over Arizona, as Drew Brees went 23-of-32 for 247 yards and three touchdowns. Reggie Bush was a force, putting up 217 all-purpose yards, including a 46-yard touchdown run and an 83-yard punt return for a score, and he ran with more purpose than he has, possibly, in his entire career. The defense gave up a 70-yard touchdown run on their first play from scrimmage, and then shut down a high-powered Arizona offense.

Bookmaker odds (bookmaker reviews) have the Saints as a 3.5-point favorite, falling at least a half-point in most sportsbooks, and this may be due to the powerful Minnesota offense, featuring Favre and Rice. The Saints made some big plays against the Cardinals, but they can still be burned. Look for safety Darren Sharper, who tied for the league lead in picks with nine and recovered a fumble against the Cardinals, to be watching Rice over the top because the lanky receiver burned Dallas all day long with big plays. Also, the biggest factor this week will be the crowd, and the Vikings know all about that. The Cowboys crumbled when the Vikings got the Metrdome behind them with big plays, and the Superdome is just as loud. How they handle the crowd will dictate how they play on Sunday, but it just seems like this is the Saints’ year.

NFL picks: Saints -3.5

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