ESPN betting and fantasy analysts5 minutes of reading
Week 7 of the 2023 NFL season will conclude Monday night with the San Francisco 49ers (-7, 43.5) on the road against the Minnesota Vikings.
What can we expect in terms of betting?
Betting Analysts Eric Moody, Tyler Fulgham, Seth Walder and Aaron dear are here to provide their thoughts.
Note: Lines from Caesars Sportsbook unless otherwise noted.
How do you bet on this match and how much do you account for injuries?
Schatz: Deebo Samuel is out and Trent Williams is questionable and could also be out. Doubtful players very, very rarely play. But Christian McCaffrey is available, and he really is the straw that stirs the drink. The 49ers are still the best team in the league against a Vikings team that has been average with little luck this season. One particular stat I’ll point out: We know the Vikings like to shoot, but their defense is actually worse when they do. They allow 6.75 net yards per pass versus 4.89 net yards on other passes. I think Brock Purdy can run the 49ers offense even under pressure, especially if he has McCaffrey by his side. I’ll take the 49ers -7.
Moody: My recommendation is to bet on the 49ers (-7). Despite dealing with injuries, the 49ers are considered one of the most well-rounded teams in the league. They also have extra motivation after last week’s surprising loss to the Browns. In that game, San Francisco’s receivers faced man coverage on about 70% of the snaps, which caused problems for their offense, especially after Samuel and McCaffrey left the game. Regardless of whether McCaffrey plays, the 49ers’ offense should fare better against a Vikings defense that is no match for the Browns’ D. The 49ers have a strong track record, going 13-4 against the spread in their last 17 games, and they are 4-2 against the spread in their last six games against the Vikings.
Fulgham: I’d still play the 49ers -7 at this spot, and also the total under 44.0. I have full faith in Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco offense to maintain enough efficiency even without Williams and Samuel. The Vikings defense is far from impressive. Brandon Ayuk and George Kittle are very capable of pitching. Minnesota’s offense only put up 19 points last week without Justin Jefferson, but that was against the Chicago Bears’ defense. Monday night’s task will be much more formidable.
Walder: I’ll close my eyes and go Vikings +7. What stands out in my mind is this measure of luck from Tom Bliss of the NFL Analytics Group — based on punts, interceptions, punts and all fumble recoveries — that shows the Vikings were the most – the unluckiest team in the NFL. That doesn’t make them due, but it makes me think Minnesota is a little underrated.
The 49ers are without Deebo Samuel, so there could be more touches for Brandon Aiyuk. How interested are you in playing Aiyuk for receiving yards, which is set at 70.5 yards.
Moody: Given that the Vikings play a fairly even spread of zone and player coverage, I’m very interested in betting over Aiyuk’s receiving yards. Aiyuk is one of the best receivers in the league against both types of coverage. His market share of aerial yards is also the highest among wide receivers. That suggests Aiyuk is the focal point of the 49ers’ vertical passing game. There’s a good chance he tops 70.5 receiving yards against the Vikings, as he’s averaging 7.1 targets, 5.0 receptions and 90.8 receiving yards per game this season.
Fulgham: All systems go for a big game from Aiyuk. I would run this prop to beat the total. I’d also play his TD prop anytime (+130) and even an alternate prop line of over 100 receiving yards (+270). He goes to eat.
Kirk Cousins is quietly tied for the league lead with 14 touchdown passes. Which way will you go with his 1.5 touchdown ratio? (The top is +159 and the bottom is -224.)
Schatz: San Francisco’s defense is very good, especially against the pass, but Minnesota’s passing game has struggled this year and I think the Vikings will be flying when they get to the goal line. Add to that the high chance of a small touchdown if the 49ers take an early lead and the juice here, and I’m happy to go over 1.5 passing touchdowns for Cousins.
Moody: Although Cousins’ matchup against the 49ers is suboptimal, this bet has plus odds, so I am very open to betting over. The only other teams that average more pass attempts per game than the Vikings (39.2) are the Saints (39.3) and Panthers (40.2). The Vikings are expected to fall behind in this game, which makes this bet even more intriguing. Cousins has averaged 1.94 passing touchdowns per game since arriving in Minnesota in 2018.
What is your favorite bet for this game?
Moody: Brock Purdy over 236.5 yards. My guess is that the 49ers will want to get their passing game back on track, suffocating the Vikings through the air with Aiyuk, McCaffrey and Kittle. Purdy is averaging 233 yards passing per game this season. He will likely surpass that number; you don’t need to expect a 300-yard passing performance, but 250 to 260 yards is more realistic.
Schatz: Jawan Jennings over 29.5 receiving yards. The Vikings are 32nd in Defensive Adjusted Value Above Average (DVOA) against WR2s and 27th against Other WRs. Whoever you think of Jennings, he will be an important option without Samuel active, and the Vikings’ defensive scheme will be focused on stopping Ayuk, McCaffrey and Kittle.
Walder: Nick Bosa under 0.75 sacks (+120 at DraftKings). My sack pattern gives under 57% chance to hit and you get plus money. To make it even better, the model doesn’t account for individual blocking matchups, and Bosa will face Brian O’Neill, who entered Week 6 ranked second among tackles in pass blocking percentage.
Is there anything else you’re playing for on Monday night?
Walder: Camryn Bynum under 7.5 rebounds + assists (-143). I’m only projecting 6.3 rebounds + assists for Bynum on Monday night, so I’m willing to pay -143. Like most safeties, Bynum’s board share is much higher on passes than on squishes, and the 49ers have the lowest projected pass rush rate in the NFL.