This series has always been a back and forth. Minnesota leads the series 7-6 overall. Neither team has won more than two games in a row, the Cincinnati Bengals are coming off a 4-11-1 season, and Minnesota is coming off a 7-9 season. Minnesota lost three of those games by less than three points. These teams have some exciting young players and will use this year to establish them in the league. We will see mistakes by both teams, but that is pretty common for a Week 1 game. These are the things bettors need to think about going into the Week 1 Minnesota Vikings vs. Cincinnati Bengals matchup.
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Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook
- Opening Lines: Minnesota Vikings -3, Total 48.0, Minnesota ML -165
- Current Winning Streak: Minnesota Vikings (1)
- Last Meeting: December 17, 2017, Minnesota (34-7)
Last year, the Cincinnati Bengals faced a devastating injury when they lost rookie QB Joe Burrow in Week 12. Joe Burrow is still working through his recovery but potentially will be starting Week 1. With Joe Burrow behind the wheel, this offense could be explosive this year. Wide Receivers Tyler Boyd, Ja’Marr Chase, and Tee Higgins all look explosive, and they have chemistry with Joe Burrow. Let us not forget the Bengals brought in old teammate Thaddeus Moss to help Burrow build more chemistry. RB Joe Mixon looks to have a breakout year as this offense has lots of weapons. These offensive lines have work to do after last year, and the Bengals draft addressed that by adding two offensive linemen.
Preseason doesn’t mean much these days, but the Bengals’ defensive starters did not give up a single point during the preseason. Grabbing a pair of defensive tackles in Larry Ogunjobi and DJ Reader helped their front seven. This will help in stopping Minnesota Vikings elite running back Dalvin Cook. The secondary for the Bengals will be the big question mark, with Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen being the top wide receivers for the Vikings.
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The Minnesota Vikings have weapons on offense this year. Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen will be the primary targets in the passing game. Running back Dalvin Cook has turned out to be one of the elite running backs in the league. The offensive line has shown struggles in the off-season as Christian Darrisaw, taken 23rd overall in the past draft, has missed time with an offseason core surgery. This has left holes in the left tackle and right guard positions along the line. The offense could prove to be one of the best in the league if they can protect Kirk Cousins.
Minnesota’s defense had a rough 2020 season. Normally a great defensive coach, Mike Zimmer will see if he can fix that to pair his good offense with a good defense this year. Minnesota has brought free agents in this year to address important needs. Everson Griffen re-joined the team. Dalvin Tomlinson was signed. Patrick Peterson joined the secondary. The front four look elite, and the secondary looks like it can hold its own. This defense is going to improve tremendously this year.
Injuries prevented this Minnesota defense from being its best last year. This year Minnesota brought back key contributors. Expect this defense to do better than projected when healthy and coach Mike Zimmerman leading the charge. This offense will score points. The Bengals have Joe Burrow back, but he has been up and down in the preseason. The Minnesota defensive line is going to get to Burrow during this game. He is still coming back into season form after the injury last year. Expect this to be a close game, but Minnesota comes away with it.
Pick: Minnesota Moneyline (-165)
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Cameron Lynch is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Cameron, check out his archive and follow him @captron26.