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NFL Preseason Betting: Vikings’ Defense Needs To Learn Lessons Against The 49ers

Posted by Stan Simmons on 8/21/2013 10:24:42 PM

For a preseason game, this matchup between Minnesota and San Francisco is particularly intriguing. The Vikings need to gather information for the upcoming regular season.

Keep An Eye On: Minnesota’s linebackers

When the best online betting sites tackle this clash, they will acknowledge that this is an important test for the Vikings’ linebackers, who will have to make timely and quick reads as they decide whether to come up to the tackle box to support the run, or drop back in pass coverage. Ben Goessling of ESPN.com explained why in this story excerpt from Aug. 20:

“Desmond Bishop remembers it well: how helpless he felt sitting out of the Green Bay Packers' 45-31 loss in the NFC divisional playoffs, watching as Colin Kaepernick shredded the Packers' defense for 579 yards with an offense that Bishop, now a member of the Minnesota Vikings, said his old team wasn't ready to face. 

"’I remember a lot of confusion,’ Bishop said. ‘We really weren't prepared for it. That was really his coming-out party.’" 

“Kaepernick's performance against the Packers sent talk about the read-option offense to a fever pitch around the game. And even if Bishop didn't get the experience of facing Kaepernick -- he missed all of last season with a torn hamstring -- the game ensured he and the rest of the league would be studying it plenty before this season. The Vikings haven't played San Francisco since Week 3 last season, when Alex Smith was still the quarterback. And other than a Week 6 loss to the Washington Redskins -- where Robert Griffin III passed for 182 yards and ran for 138 more -- the Vikings' defense has yet to see a heavy dose of the read-option. 

“That will change this season, when Minnesota faces four teams in a nine-week span that are all likely to run some form of the read-option. That means their third preseason game against the 49ers and Kaepernick -- a game in which both teams' starters will likely play the entire first half -- might double as a refresher course on the NFL's trendiest offense. Coach Leslie Frazier visited with Chris Ault, Kaepernick's college coach at Nevada, this offseason to learn more about the offense. The Vikings can study their game against the Redskins last season, in which Griffin broke loose for a 76-yard touchdown, and the few instances they saw Seattle's Russell Wilson running read-option plays against them last November.”

Watch The Progress Of: Desmond Bishop (Vikings), LaMichael James (49ers)

Sport betting lines fluctuate based on the performance of team units, but also individual players. The importance of Bishop was explained in part by the story excerpt above. The Vikings’ linebackers need to answer the bell in this game, and Bishop is very much at the center of Minnesota’s efforts to defend the read-option offense. As for San Francisco, with receiver Michael Crabtree out for at least the first 10 weeks of the season, other playmakers need to emerge. LaMichael James made some key late-season contributions to the 49ers last year, and he’ll need to become even more of a factor this season.

Outlook:

This is a tricky betting play at any sports book, but the sense here is that San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick will play well, given extended playing time in the third preseason game of August.

Odds: 49ers -5
Pick: 49ers -5


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