In one of this week’s intra-conference battles, the Minnesota Vikings (3-5) head to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers (5-3).
While the teams currently have inverse records, Minnesota could easily be 5-3 or better after losing four of its five games decided by four points or less. Meanwhile, Los Angeles has come out on top in some of its close contests, winning four of its six games decided by a touchdown or less.
Most recently, the Chargers scored a last-second 27-24 victory over the Eagles in Week 9, while the Vikings are licking their wounds after a 34-31 overtime loss to the Ravens.
With the playoffs still a realistic possibility for both the Chargers and Vikings, this game could be a breaking point for one of these two teams.
Let’s take a look at how each team’s recent trajectory and injuries will play into this latest matchup in the NFL pick of the day series.
Please note that all Vikings vs Chargers odds are current as of Friday, November 12.
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Vikings vs Chargers Prediction
After starting off the season looking like one best teams in the NFL with one of the league’s top new coaches in Brandon Staley, the Chargers have started to look like, well, the Chargers.
Justin Herbert came out of the gates hot, but struggled on both sides of the bye week against the Ravens and Patriots. However, he threw for 356 yards and two touchdowns last week against the Eagles, so he’s showing signs of breaking out of his mini sophomore slump. With a relatively healthy cast of offensive weapons, Herbert will look to build on last week’s success against a mediocre Vikings defense.
On the flip side of the ball, the Chargers’ defense has started to show some wear and tear as it’s currently the worst run defense in the league. That’s partly by design as the Chargers try to dare teams to run in order to limit big passing plays, but that could come back to bite them against the Vikings’ strong rushing attack.
Similarly to Herbert, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins came out of the gates blazing hot, but has cooled off as the season has progressed. He still has a full slew of weapons in Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, but Minnesota is likely to rely on running back Dalvin Cook quite a bit this week after his big game against the Ravens.
Both defenses in this game have given up a lot of points this year, so I don’t think we’ll see that change this week. However, the Vikings haven’t shown enough consistency to make me think they can go on the road and steal this one from the Chargers.
Prediction: Chargers 31, Vikings 24
Vikings vs Chargers Best Bets
Nick Raducanu’s 2021 NFL Team vs Team Betting Record: 8-2, + 7 Units
Best Bet: Chargers -3 (-115) at Caesars
Wager: 0.5 Units
The Vikings have done a good job keeping games close as five of their eight games have been decided by four points or fewer, with two of those eight games going to overtime. Minnesota has also not lost on the road by more than three points in non-overtime games this season, so we should see a close one this week, as is reflected in our NFL gameday odds.
The Chargers have found themselves in a similar pattern as four of their eight games have been decided by four points or less — including each of their last two games that were decided by a field goal.
However, the Chargers’ wins have been by an average of 6.4 points and they have the better team and home-field advantage in this one.
Best Bet: Chargers Moneyline (-170) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
The Vikings have had some heart-breaking losses (including last week), but they’ve yet to beat a team currently with a winning record this season. While it might be a moral victory to come close to beating good teams, close doesn’t show up in the win column.
The Chargers have looked fantastic at times in beating the Chiefs and Browns, but have also looked mediocre at times in losing to the Ravens and Patriots. That said, their three losses have all come to teams with winning records, and the Vikings don’t fit that bill.
Best Bet: Over 53.5 Total Points (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
It’s hard to tell which Chargers team is going to show up from week to week. Los Angeles is currently averaging more points against (25.1) than points for (24.9), however, the Chargers have yet to score less than 17 points at home this season and have put up totals of 28, 47, and 24 in their last three home games.
The Vikings, meanwhile, have been all over the place as they’re currently averaging 24.3 points scored per game while allowing 23.9 to opponents. They’ve scored 31 and 34 points in two of their last three games, but failed to top 20 points in three of their last five.
With each defense struggling to stop opponents combined with the firepower on both offenses, I think we should see a high-scoring game this week, making the over our NFL bet of the day.