Take underdog Vikings to cover inflated point spread vs. Cardinals

In one of the biggest line moves of the NFL season, the Arizona Cardinals have climbed from 7-point favorites to 11-point favorites over the Minnesota Vikings at some Las Vegas sports books in today’s “Thursday Night Football” matchup.

Minnesota was whipped 38-7 on Sunday by the Seattle Seahawks and will take on Arizona’s NFL-leading offense (31.8 points per game) on a short week without its top four safeties. Westgate Las Vegas sports book director Jay Kornegay said those are some of the factors that affected the line, which was still in single digits at most places early Thursday morning before rising to between 10 and 11 around town.

“Sometimes you just can’t explain them. We knew (the Vikings) were having some defensive issues but (the line) was kind of pushed up all of a sudden,” Kornegay said. “Someone starts betting it heavily somewhere and the whole market moves up. If we have a sense we’re not going to get Vikings money, the market will move through these dead numbers fast — 7½ to 9½ is pretty much the same.”

Kornegay added that the Thursday night road team is at a huge disadvantage and that there was probably an overreaction to the Vikings (8-4) getting blown out at home by Seattle.

“A lot of people were thinking highly of them going into the Seattle game, then they lay an egg so now they’re trash?” he said.

The Gold Sheet handicapper Bruce Marshall doesn’t think so. He’s recommending a play on Minnesota.

“I would’ve taken 7½ (points). Eleven’s a gift,” said Marshall (goldsheet.com). “Something has really pushed this (number) up. Minnesota has a couple defensive guys out but I don’t buy it. I don’t care if it’s Dick Butkus to move the number that much.

“I think there’s value on Minnesota. They lost last week but they’ve covered five in a row on the road and they’re 14-4 against the spread their last 18. Arizona hasn’t covered a spread of more than 7. Minnesota’s not chopped liver. They’re not giving up, like everyone thinks. They’re going to fight.”

Marshall isn’t convinced that the Cardinals can shut down Adrian Peterson and agrees with Kornegay that people are overreacting to the Vikings’ loss to the Seahawks.

“Everyone’s dumping on them because they got ripped,” he said. “That game got out of hand but I think it’s unlikely they’ll get boat raced two weeks in a row.”

The total is between 46 and 47. Arizona (10-2) has gone over the number in eight of its 12 games this season, but the Thursday night trend has been under. Before Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ Hail Mary TD pass pushed last week’s game against the Lions over the total, the under had cashed in the previous seven Thursday night games.

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