One-score games are a sign of good but not great teams, and these two fall into that category over the last few seasons. Last year the Chargers were involved in 11 one-score games while the Vikings had 10 such matchups. This year things have continued for the Vikings with 3 OT games so far this year meaning that 7 of their 8 games have been decided by 7 or fewer points.
So it’s no shock to see the spread line here at around a field goal in favor of the home team and it seems the top-rated sportsbooks are expecting something similar to the Vikings vs. Ravens game they just played with a total of over 50.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Sunday, November 14, 2021 – 04:05 PM EST at SoFi Stadium
Can the Vikings Stop Beating Themselves?
The Vikings have scored are sitting 4th in first-quarter points on the season so far, and while that’s obviously a good thing it does seem to be hurting them for the remainder of the game as head coach Mike Zimmer plays a more conservative game-plan when they have a lead.
It’s something you would hope they work on over the week but it’s been going on for seasons now so it seems unlikely. It means that while Kirk Cousins keeps on putting up decent numbers, keeping the ball safe, and sitting just outside the top 10 in yards, TDs and QBR, the game-plan just keeps it all a little too safe.
Last weekend was a good example against the Ravens as sophomore stud Justin Jefferson scored early on, getting wide open on a deep shot, but then received just two targets for the remainder of the game as they tried to run the ball and use shorter passes to Adam Thielen and Tyler Conklin at tight end.
They do have one of the best running backs in the league but they’re getting predictable and other than a 66-yard run, his other 16 carries went for under 3 yards per carry. They need that area of the game to be firing for the rest to work. Surprisingly given how they started their defense ranks top 10, with the pass defense 3rd best according to DVOA, attacking them on the ground seems to be the way to go.
Will the Real Chargers Team Please Stand Up?
The Chargers changed their head coach over the summer after Anthony Lynn only won 4 of their 11 one-score games last year and Brandon Staley had success early on before variance hit with defeats to the Ravens and Patriots, but they bounced back last week with a win against the Eagles to put them atop the NFC West where the leading bookmakers have them as favorites.
Justin Herbert goes as the team goes, he started the season well, wobbled a bit but returned last week with his best performance of the year, 356 yards with an 84% completion percentage, 2 TDs, and a 93 QBR. It was a game-plan using his mid-range ability with Keenan Allen and the three tight ends getting the majority of the yards on the game, the tight ends picking up both the scores in that game with Mike Williams again struggling a little as they go away from the deep shots which supplied him so well early on.
Austin Ekeler will want to get the run game a little better but the offensive line doesn’t make that easy. Still, he’s racked up 8 TDs this season and is equally adept through the air as on the ground which could be useful in this game.
Will It Be Close Scoring?
It seems somewhat inevitable that this will be decided by one score, as well as 7/8 of the Vikings games, the Chargers have been involved in 6 of 8 games coming down to the final plays of the game. I like both of these teams, they’re fun to watch and each can keep score with the other, I don’t see either getting out to an unassailable lead.
For my NFL pick, I would actually lean just under on the total, but my bet is going to be going against Kirk Cousins on the road, outside of a 6 pm Eastern start time. It’s a weird trend but it stacks up.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.