Fans betting on NFL favor the Minnesota Vikings to win their regular season opener against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on Sunday, September 11th. The NFL betting odds for the game are:
Vikings -2½ (-110) 41 (-105) -130
Titans +2½ (-110) 41 (-115) +110
As we all know by now, the Vikings acquired QB Sam Bradford in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles, following a season-ending injury to their former quarterback starter Teddy Bridgewater. The news of this transaction immediately improved the Vikings’ standing in the eyes of people betting on NFL. Bradford has never started against the Titans in regular season play, and that may not necessarily change this Sunday. As it turns out, Shaun Hill is listed as the starting QB – and Bradford as his backup – on the Vikings’ “unofficial” depth chart. And that’s perfectly understandable; while Minnesota didn’t give away a first-round pick in the 2017 Draft and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2018 draft just to make Bradford a second-string QB, the fact remains that no two NFL teams are alike, and Bradford will need time to acclimate to his new surroundings.
As ESPN staff writer Ben Goessling put it, Bradford would have to learn very quickly in order for him to start versus the Titans. None of the above matters too much in the here now, though; as fans betting on NFL can see, the Vikings are the favorites over the Titans and those odds must admit of the very good possibility that Hill starts. Hill – who coincidentally was Bradford’s teammate in 2014 in the then-St. Louis Rams – has completed 738 of 1190 (62%) attempts for 8053 passing yards with 49 TDs and 30 interceptions in 46 games (34 started) in 10 seasons spent with several NFL teams. The 36 year old veteran is a dependable reliever and could very well handle starting a couple of games.
As for the Titans, their QB situation is pretty clear pertaining both strengths and weaknesses. Second-year quarterback Marcus Mariota had a strong debut season in 2015, throwing 230 of 370 (64.2%) for 2018 passing yards with 19 TDs. He also rushed 252 yards on 34 carries for another 2 touchdowns. On the other hand, Mariota threw 10 interceptions and lost 6 fumbles in a dozen games. The Titans need to improve in defense too. What with the Vikings’ current revolving door at QB, they need not concern themselves overly with the passing game, but Minnesota’s running game could cause them trouble – especially running back Adrian Peterson, who rushed 1485 yards on 327 carries for 11 TDs (an ability he no doubt picked up while running from the ‘switch’ during his childhood in Palestine, Texas). And speaking of running game, that seems to be the most improved aspect of the Titans’ offense, at least if the preseason is anything to go by – they averaged an NFL second-best 161 rushing yards per game in the four exhibition games (8.1 yards per carry for DeMarco Murray, and 6.4 per carry for Derrick Henry).