NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Vikings-Chargers, Jags-Colts Spreads We Bet Based On Week 10 Opening Lines
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images. Pictured: Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook, left, and Justin Jefferson.
The playoff races are heating up as Week 10 approaches and some teams have completed more than half of their season. This past weekend proved no team is a truly safe pick as the Jaguars beat the Bills straight up.
Week 10 isn’t short on what should be competitive matchups, highlighted by games like the Saints visiting the Titans, the Seahawks taking on the Packers at Lambeau Field and the Chiefs and Raiders capping off Sunday night.
Four teams are off with a bye — the Bears, Bengals, Giants and Texans.
With lines already out, our experts have jumped on some early action to grab the most value before the lines inevitably change closer to the weekend.
NFL Odds, Picks, Predictions
Vikings at Chargers
Raheem Palmer: The Minnesota Vikings continue to implode week after week, but that still doesn’t prevent them from being able to cover spreads as they did in their 34-31 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday afternoon.
Oddsmakers have opened the Vikings as three-point road favorites against the Los Angeles Chargers, who are coming off a 27-24 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in a game in which Justin Herbert returned to form, completing 32 of 38 passes for two touchdowns.
Nonetheless, my model makes this game closer to a pick’em, and given the issues defensively for the Chargers, this feels like yet another spot to back the Vikings on the spread. For starters, the Chargers have a decimated secondary with injuries to Asante Samuel Jr. (concussion) and Michael Davis (hamstring), which won’t bode well against Justin Jefferson and Adam Theilen.
Even more problematic is the Chargers run defense, which is dead last in rushing EPA and rushing success rate, allowing 51.7% of rushing plays to grade out as successful. I’m expecting Dalvin Cook to have a big day with Mike Zimmer lucking into a winning strategy given his conservative nature.
The Vikings have their own set of struggles defensively, but this is still a Chargers team that is just 25th in early down success rate and has made its living on third and fourth downs. As a whole, these are two evenly-matched teams. With a total lack of home-field advantage for the Chargers, I like the Vikings at +3 and will be adding this to six-point teasers.
Jaguars at Colts
Brandon Anderson: This game looks awfully familiar for Colts fans in all the right ways.
Last Thursday night, the New York Jets were coming off a shocking underdog win over the AFC 1-seed Cincinnati Bengals, led by Mike White. That kept the line a bit shorter on Thursday even though the Colts were the far better team, and Indianapolis ran away with things once the game got started. It didn’t help that White got hurt, but the Colts were just much better. The defense never let the underdog get going, and Jonathan Taylor ran wild all game.
Now fast forward a week and it looks like the exact same thing. The Jaguars were this week’s big upset winner after the shocking 9-6 win over the Bills. Consider that Jacksonville closed as 16-point underdogs in a game that didn’t even end up seeing 16 points total. This was less of a dominant Jaguars’ performance and more of a complete egg laid by the Bills. Urban Meyer’s guys got the big win but have been mostly embarrassing all season, and I’m not about to let one game change that.
The Colts are built to dominate bad teams with their strong defense and outstanding run game. Those Carson Wentz brain farts tend to come when games are close or when his team is trailing. He’s great at managing the game when his team has a positive game script, and that should be the case here. It doesn’t help that Trevor Lawrence left the game Sunday hurt for bit or that the Jags are coming off an emotional win while the Colts have extra rest after Thursday’s victory.
According to Action Labs, when a team ekes out a close one as a double-digit underdog, they’re just 15-28-1 ATS the following week as underdogs again. That’s just a 35% cover rate, meaning the underdog is earning a little too much respect. When said dog is a double-digit underdog again like the Jaguars, that drops to 1-7 ATS. And remember, the Colts literally just showed why this trend is strong against the Jets, dominating all the way before the weird late collapse obscured things.
The Colts are way better, and I expect this line to slowly rise as the week goes on, maybe even get to two touchdowns by kickoff. I’ll trust Indy to get another comfortable win.