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Reply To: ♦ NFC Wild Card Playoffs ♦ Sunday 1/10/16

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Sunday’s NFC Wildcard doubleheader betting preview

Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings (+4.5, 39.5)

The Minnesota Vikings absorbed their worst loss of the season to Seattle just over a month ago and now must figure out a way to turn the tables when they host the Seahawks in an NFC wild-card game on Sunday afternoon. The Vikings may get an assist from the weather, with temperatures at game time expected to be near zero with a wind chill of minus-20 degrees.

“The first thing is, we need our fans to make it an advantage for us,” Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer said of the frigid forecast. The Vikings were limited to 125 total yards by Seattle in a 38-7 mauling on Dec. 6, but they recovered to win their final three games to secure the NFC North title and No. 3 seed. The Seahawks, who are coming off back-to-back Super Bowl appearances, closed the season by winning six of their last seven games. Sixth-seeded Seattle also has won five in a row on the road while surrendering a total of 34 points in that span.

TV: 1:05 p.m. ET, NBC.

LINE HISTORY:
This line has opened anywhere between Seahawks -4 and -6 and has seen plenty of movement since. It has settled around Seahawks -4.5 at most books. With frigid temperatures in the forecast the total has been bet down from 42 to 39. Check out the complete line history here.

INJURY REPORT:

Seahawks – DE M. Bennett (probable Sunday, toe), DT J. Hill (probable Sunday, toe), S K. Chancellor (probable Sunday, tailbone), WR T. Lockett (probable Sunday, hip), T R. Okung (probable Sunday, calf), G J. Sweezy (probable Sunday, concussion), CB J. Lane (probable Sunday, ribs), RB M. Lynch (out Sunday, hernia), TE L. Wilson (out Sunday, concussion).

Vikings – DT L. Joseph (probable Sunday, toe), DE E. Griffen (probable Sunday, shoulder), WR A. Thielen (probable Sunday, shoulder), RB A. Peterson (probable Sunday, back), WR C. Johnson (questionable Sunday, ankle), C J. Sullivan (doubtful Sunday, back), DT K. Ellis (out Sunday, ankle).

WEATHER REPORT:
As has been widely reported, it will be a frozen wasteland in Minnesota, with temperatures hovering around zero degrees. To make it evn frostier, there will also be a 7-10 mile per hour wind gusting towards the eastern end zone.

POWER RANKINGS:
Seahawks (-6) – Vikings (-2.5) + home field (-3) = Vikings +0.5

ABOUT THE SEAHAWKS (10-6, 8-7-1 ATS, 7-9 O/U):
Quarterback Russell Wilson has been brilliant during Seattle’s 6-1 run with 24 touchdown passes and only one interception, and he burned the Vikings by throwing for 274 yards and three scores while rushing for 51 yards. A1serviceplays.com While Doug Baldwin has been Wilson’s top target with 11 TD receptions in his last six games, the buzz in Seattle revolves around the availability of running back Marshawn Lynch, who returned to practice for the first time since undergoing abdominal surgery on Nov. 25. The Seahawks rank No. 1 against the run and led the league in scoring defense (17.3 points per game).

ABOUT THE VIKINGS (11-5, 13-3 ATS, 4-11-1 O/U):
Minnesota fell into a 21-0 hole in last month’s meeting and was forced to abandon the run, leaving NFL leading rusher Adrian Peterson grousing about his role after receiving only eight carries for 18 yards. Expect that number of rushing attempts to increase dramatically as the Vikings look to alleviate pressure on second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who was sacked four times and held to 118 yards by the Seahawks. Minnesota’s defense was ravaged by injury in the first meeting but has permitted only 43 points during the three-game winning streak and allowed 18.9 points per contest.

TRENDS:

* Seahawks are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games overall.

* Vikings are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games following a SU win.

* Under is 4-0 in Seahawks last four games overall.

* Under is 4-0 in Vikings last four Wildcard games.

CONSENSUS:
Bettors are giving the Seahawks the slight edge in this NFC with 57 percent of wagers on Seattle. As for the total, 56 percent of wagers are on the total.

PREDICTION: Seahawks 20, Vikings 13