VIKINGS (8-4) AT CARDINALS (10-2), 8:25 p.m.
TV: NFL; Radio: WCBS (880)
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Cardinals by 8.5; O/U: 46.5
Thursdays used to be so much fun for me. Back in high school, it was my favorite day of the week, and not just because of my after-school bowling team. I’ll spare you the details, only to say that our team name was “Lightning Strikes.” Nights were spent watching must-see TV, headlined by “Seinfeld.”
Now, Thursdays have become must-look away TV. Yes, I had the Lions last week, and I’m still not over it. There’s nothing worse than making the right call only to see something like that happen. I’m 4-8-1 against the spread (ATS) on Thursday nights, but the show (about nothing) must go on.
Thursday’s matchup features the NFC’s current No. 2 and No. 5 seed. Everything about this game says take the Cardinals and bank on the fact that Carson Palmer continues to stay hot in the desert. Since joining Arizona in 2013, Palmer is 14-3 straight up at home, including winning eight of the last nine. But despite being 4-1 at home this year, Arizona is just 2-3 ATS. Two of those ATS losses were in prime time. My point is that even though the Cardinals are on a six-game winning streak, they have a tendency of playing close games. Four of those six wins were by 8, 7, 3 and 6. This spread feels like it’s too high.
After starting 7-2, the Vikes have lost two of three, including home losses to the Packers (30-13) and Seahawks (38-7). Yikes! It got ugly after last week’s game, too, when Adrian Peterson said Minnesota was outcoached. Peterson had only eight carries for 18 yards. When he doesn’t get the ball, the Vikings lose: Averages of 12 carries for 44 yards in four losses compared to 25 for 126 in eight wins.
I think Peterson will have a big game, and the fact that Minnesota is coming off such a bad loss and getting a chance for redemption in prime time is motivation. Making the obvious pick is easy, but sometimes you have to pull a George Costanza and go with the opposite approach.
The pick: Vikings
BOB GLAUBER Vikings
KIMBERLEY. A. MARTIN Cardinals
TOM ROCK Vikings