Monday Night Football betting primer: Cousins, Vikings look to reverse poor prime-time records

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings, November 2019
Kirk Cousins is 0-7 SU and ATS on Monday Night Football in his career (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
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The Seahawks are 2.5-point favorites against the Vikings on Monday Night Football (8:15 p.m. ET/7:15 p.m. CT/ESPN) in an important battle between two of the NFC’s top contenders.

Seattle (9-2 straight up, 6-5 against the spread) has moved between -3 and -2.5 throughout the week, with most shops offering -2.5 (-120) at the time of this Sunday writing. The total sits at 50 in a contest featuring two squads that are top five in DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) for total offense.

Both teams enter Monday night’s contest on a roll. Seattle has won four in a row and seven of its last eight, while Minnesota (8-3 SU, 6-5 ATS) has been victorious in two straight and six out of its last seven.

The Vikings enter Week 13 off their bye week, but coach Mike Zimmer’s teams have not lived up to market expectations in recent years with an extra week of rest. Minnesota is 2-7 both SU and ATS in its last nine games coming out of the bye.

To say that Vikings QB Kirk Cousins has underperformed in primetime games throughout his career would be an understatement. Monday nights in particular have not been kind to the eight-year veteran. Cousins is 0-7 SU and ATS on Monday Night Football in his career, continually struggling on the big stage. His 0-7 mark is the worst by any quarterback in Monday Night Football history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Contrast that with Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, who is 23-8-2 ATS in primetime games. Largely thanks to their star gunslinger, the Seahawks have the league’s all-time winningest record on Monday Night Football at 25-10, with their most recent victory coming on the road against a then-undefeated 49ers team in Week 10.

Wilson has thrived in big moments throughout his career, especially in close games. Over the past two seasons, the Seahawks are 9-3-2 ATS in games with a spread of a FG or less. The Vikings are 1-6 ATS in those spots during the same span.

Seahawks-Vikings player props: Three plays to consider for Monday night

Cousins is known to be one of the leagues quirkier quarterbacks who prefers to stay on a routine. But despite his lack of success in primetime, he is currently on one of the best stretches of his career. Entering Week 13, the 31-year-old was No. 1 in the NFL in passer rating at 114.8 among quarterbacks with at least 200 passing attempts. He hasn’t thrown an interception in his last five games.

Despite Cousins’ recent success, the Vikings offense runs through RB Dalvin Cook, who has scored 11 touchdowns in 11 games. Minnesota’s ability to move the ball on the ground against a Seattle defensive front ranked No. 17 in rush DVOA according to Football Outsiders will go a long way in determining Monday night’s outcome.

New England and New Orleans are the only other teams besides Minnesota to rank in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive DVOA heading into Week 13. The Vikings are also ranked No. 4 in yards per play on offense.

Seattle is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings between these two teams. Long accustomed to enjoying one of the NFL’s strongest home-field advantages, the Seahawks are surprisingly 1-5 ATS in their last six home games.

But Wilson and Co. have developed an identity as the NFL’s top road team in 2019 with a perfect 6-0 away record. Their Monday night opponent has not fared as well on the road, especially against teams that are above .500. In their last four seasons, the Vikings are 3-13-1 ATS on the road against teams with winning records.

OVER bettors have cashed their tickets in six of Minnesota’s last seven trips to CenturyLink Field.

Vikings at Seahawks betting trends

• The Vikings are 1-6 SU and ATS in their last seven games as an underdog.

• The total has gone OVER in five of Minnesota’s last six games.

• The total has gone UNDER in five of Seattle’s last six games against NFC North opponents.

• The Seahawks have covered the spread in their last 10 Week 13 contests.

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