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Minnesota Vikings vs. Cleveland Browns Point Spread - Pick

Minnesota Vikings (5-2 SU, 4-3 ATS) vs. Cleveland Browns (0-7 SU, 2-5 ATS)
Week 8 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, October 29, 2017 at 9:30PM EST
Where: Twickenham Stadium, London, England
TV: NFL Network

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: MIN -9/CLE +9
Over/Under Total: 37.5

The Minnesota Vikings take on the Cleveland Browns in Twickenham Stadium in London on Sunday. Cleveland is hoping that maybe the change is scenery will give way to their first win. They came close last Sunday, losing 12-9 in overtime to the Titans. They will need to upend a Vikes team that has been very resolute in the face of injuries, going to 5-2 on Sunday with a 24-16 win over the Baltimore Ravens. They can go to 6-2 this week and they've really gotten a lot out of what they have.

The Vikings' depth is really coming in handy. They are without their starters at running back and quarterback. Case Keenum has been suitable, while they are getting good play from different running backs. Their defense continues to be a thorn in the side of opponents, with Baltimore not getting in the end zone until the last play of the game on a meaningless score. It was a close battle for a half as Minnesota and Baltimore traded field goals. A long run by Latavius Murray and some more field goals by Kai Forbath, who had six, gave the Vikings some breathing room and they cruised to the win, a good home triumph for them.

Case Keenum is definitely a downgrade at the quarterback position from Sam Bradford or even Teddy Bridgewater, but he is at least capable. He's thrown picks the last two games, but other than that he is a steady manager of this offense. Maybe it's because Stefon Diggs has been missing time, but he's been getting only so-so production out of the receiving crew, with Adam Thielen and others very quiet. But they have found answers in the run-game, first with Jerick McKinnon and on Sunday with Latavius Murray, who had 113 yards and a TD on the day. Offseason moves like signing Murray have really paid off so far.

The Minnesota defense is a big part of the Vikings' winning formula. In their last five games, the most a team has scored against them is 17 points. On Sunday, they kept the Ravens to just three field goals with a late garbage TD with time running out. They are more-solid against the run, but are also good against the opposing pass and can make a lot of plays. DE Everson Griffen has been huge this season and had two more sacks on Sunday. The middle has been tough, with Anthony Barr also adding a sack and Danielle Hunter up-front also getting to Flacco on the day. In the middle, Eric Kendricks, Barr's former running-mate at UCLA, has been big. This is one of the best defenses in the league and they appear to be in good form heading into this week.

Cleveland gave it a good go against the Titans. They were also pretty clutch late in the game, getting in position for a 54-yard boot by Zane Gonzalez to get it to OT. But late in the extra period, the Titans connected on a kick to drop the Browns to 0-7 and just 1-22 under Hue Jackson. And not to pile on, but those betting on the Browns haven't had it much better than their fans, as Cleveland has scored just seven covers in their last 33 games! And that's with them covering the spread on Sunday against the Titans.

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Turnovers and bad quarterback play didn't help the Browns' cause on Sunday. DeShone Kizer started the game and was pulled for Cody Kessler. Kizer threw two picks and Kessler threw one. Kevin Hogan has a rib injury and may have started if not for that. They have no identity on offense, with the direction in which they are headed being murky. They didn't get in the end zone on Sunday. They had 66 yards on 26 carries and Isaiah Crowell has been very quiet. And after 10000+ straight snaps, LT Joe Thomas had to leave the game and is out for the season, which is a bad blow. They have a growing weapon in rookie TE David Njoku, but their receiving corps hasn't really stepped up, with RB Duke Johnson leading the team in receiving.

If looking for silver lining, the Cleveland defense was good on Sunday, even though they were missing two starters in their secondary with Jabrill Peppers and Jason McCourty out. They also had little support on the opposite side of the ball and still thrived. They kept the Titans out of the end zone, with the strong Tennessee run-game held to 80 yards on 32 tries. Marcus Mariota was quiet on the day, as the Titans were held to 5-for-17 on third down conversions. Rookie defensive end and the first-pick in the last draft, Myles Garrett, had another sack, with Jamie Collins also adding one. LB Christian Kirksey was also very active on the day, with running-mate Joe Schobert all over the field. They have given up 30 or more points in three of their last five games, but in the right spots, they can be pretty effective.

These London games can throw an analysis into a funk. It's been a feast-or-famine type scenario across the pond this season with some really lopsided results. But both teams should give a good effort with the bye coming up the following week. The Browns can be gritty and the Vikings offense isn't all that bankable. We think the odds have been adjusted to make the Browns more appealing and we like them in this role as the 9 point-dog.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Cleveland Browns plus 9 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Vikings vs. Browns game by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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