Minnesota Vikings (6-2) at Oakland Raiders (4-4)
I love fading significant week-to-week line movements whenever it makes sense, as they tend to be overreactions to one week of play. This line was a pick ‘em a week ago, but now favors Oakland by 3, pretty significant, considering about 23.3% of games are decided by 3 or fewer points and 15.6% by exactly a field goal. The Raiders are a solid squad, ranking 13th in rate of moving the chains differential, but the Vikings rank higher, ranking 10th. On top of that, the Raiders are expected to be without talented center Rodney Hudson, while, on the other side, talented defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd is expected to return for the Vikings.
The Vikings have had one of the easiest schedules in the NFL (San Francisco, Detroit, San Diego, Denver, Kansas City, Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis) and could be distracted with an upcoming home game against the Packers, which will be easily their biggest game to date. They are expected to be 3 point home underdogs and teams are 75-113 ATS since 2012 before being 3+ point home underdogs, including 43-80 ATS over that same time period before being 4+ point home underdogs. The Vikings aren’t guaranteed to be home underdogs of that many, but the logic holds either way. This could be a look ahead game for the Vikings, while the Raiders face one of the worst teams in the league, the Detroit Lions, next week. It’s still tough to get excited about the Raiders, so this will be a no confidence pick, but they should be the right side. This game has a very good chance to be a field goal game though, so if the line moves to 3.5, I’d probably take the Vikings.
Oakland Raiders 20 Minnesota Vikings 16
Pick against the spread: Oakland -3