Upcoming Match-ups

NFL Week 9 Betting – Gurley, AP Meet as Rams Visit Vikes

Sascha Paruk

by Sascha Paruk in NFL Football

Updated Jan 17, 2018 · 9:39 AM PST

St. Louis Rams at Minnesota Vikings (-3)

If you’re a fan of running the football, Week 9 has the must-see game of the year. Arguably the two best (surviving) backs in the NFL (sorry Le’Veon Bell) will go head to head on Sunday as Todd Gurley and the St. Louis Rams (4-3, 1-2 road) head to Minneapolis to face Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings (5-3, 4-0 home) at TCF Bank Stadium (1:00 PM Eastern).

Long considered the best running back in the league, “AP” has seen his stats go down a bit this year behind a Minnesota o-line reeling from injuries. The former NFL MVP, who is also coming back from nearly a year off due to off-field issues, has shown that he still possesses the speed and power that led him to over 2,000 yards in 2012, breaking off a 75-yard run in a 28-19 Week 7 win over Detroit (in addition to touchdown scampers of 43 and 48 yards in Weeks 3 and 4, respectively).

Not to be outdone, the rookie Gurley busted out his own 71-yard TD in last week’s 27-6 win over the Niners. Though he missed (most of) the first three games of the season, Gurley is still top-five in the league in rushing, piling up 566 yards in just four games. His 6.1 yards-per-carry average is far outstripping Peterson’s 4.5.

Gurley figures to have the better matchup on Sunday, too, going against a Minnesota D that has – at times – looked vulnerable to the run, allowing 4.4 yards per attempt. The Rams on the other hand are holding opposing backs to just 3.7 yards per carry.

Neither team possesses much in the way of a passing game, although the Vikes’ own rookie superstar Stefon Diggs has emerged as a threat out wide. That said, Diggs has been hampered by a hamstring injury of late and may be somewhat slowed in this one.

Add in the fact that Teddy Bridgewater is likely to be under constant pressure from St. Louis’ formidable D-line, which includes the likes of Robert Quinn and Aaron Donald, and don’t expect much in the way of an aerial attack from Minny. Add in the additional fact that St. Louis is quarterbacked by Nick Foles, whose top pass-catching options are the 5’8 Tavon Austin and unheralded TE Jared Cook, and you can pretty much write off both passing games.

Given that this one should boil down to which team can run the ball better and control the pace of the game, look for the Gurley and the Rams to at least cover the three-point spread.

Pick: St. Louis +3. 

(Photo credit: Mike Morbeck (Flickr: Adrian Peterson) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)

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