Vikings +3 vs Saints in London – Betting the NFL international series – Odds, pointspread, pick

You gotta love getting that extra time slot’s worth of NFL football this coming Sunday; we’re talking the first of this season’s three “International Series” games to be played in England. So get ready to fire up that bankroll and do some early betting on

New Orleans Saints +3 vs Minnesota Vikings, over/under 41½ points

(Given British history, choosing the “home” side for this game must have proven quite the poser. While the Anglo-Saxons spent a couple of centuries falling prey to marauding Vikings, King Henry VIII made Catholicism – the authority on naming dead martyrs saints – an afterthought in England when he didn’t to just, you know, make his own church so he could get a divorce.)

In 2021, favorites – or mayhap that should be “favourites” – in England-based NFL games were an unhelpful 1-1 SU/ATS, with the Atlanta Falcons (ultimately 7-10) winning against the New York Jets (4-13), and the honorary home team Jacksonville Jaguars (3-14) notching one of Urban Meyer’s two career wins as an NFL head coach by beating the Miami Dolphins (9-8).

Nevertheless, favourites have gone an impressive 20-8-1 SU/18-11 ATS since the regular fixture began in 2008 – but the statistics begin to flip as point spreads decrease: Underdogs of 3 points or fewer have gone 6-8-1 SU/7-8 ATS in all England games.

Based on sheer statistics, the Saints plus a field goal feels like the correct choice, but NFLbets tends to err on the side of experience in these games. Teams playing in London for the first team in franchise history versus teams *that played in England at any point in their history* are 7-9 SU – but five of these wins came against usually-hapless Jacksonville, and the Jaguars also lost their first UK game to the San Francisco 49ers in 2013. Thus, previous experience in London games, if the Jaguars are not involved, betas inexperience, 8-2.

Additionally, a first-timer to London hasn’t won in an “International Series” game since 2016.

The problem with this Vikings-Saints game is that, while the institutional memory may be there for the UK game, neither head coach has done the GMT time shift for a game. NFLbets gets the feeling we’re just going to have to bet the trends thus far in 2022.

The standout trends say that New Orleans is 0-3 ATS (and 1-2 SU), while Minnesota has also underperformed against the spread at 2-1 SU/1-2 ATS. Not very helpful, but with a point spread of just minus-3 on the Vikings with a much better roster, we’re leaning toward the Purple and Gold on the line. The Saints still don’t have Michael Thomas back, Jameis Winston is unlikely to play, and Alvin Kamara is dinged-up at best. By contrast, the only Vikings stud of concern, Dalvin Cook, will suit up.

The over/under may provide some nice betting opportunity as well.

At 41½ points (down from 42 or 42½ on opening), the oddsmakers are figuring on an even lower-scoring game than even the reputation of these UK games: Just eight of the previous 29 London games kicked off with a spread of lower than 42 points – and overs are 7-1 in those games. Beyond this, 42 points or more were scored in 20 of the 29 London games. The moral appears to be If the public continues to believe these games are low-scoring, then we’ll keep setting these over/unders low. And for this game, it's working, with the handle causing the sportsbooks to shed a whole point of this line.

Covering the over may be a slightly risky proposition with the Saints so holey (get it?) on offense this week but of all possible results, we’d be least surprised at an accidental Vikings blowout here. Take the Minnesota Vikings -3 against New Orleans, and fade the public to take the over on an O/U of 41½ points.

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