The Minnesota Vikings hope to make it two straight home wins and send the San Diego Chargers to their seventh loss in nine games as underdogs when they meet on Sunday. The Chargers are also 2-6 against the spread in their past eight as dogs, while the Vikings have gone 9-3 versus the line in their last 12 overall.
Point spread: Vikings opened as two-point favorites; the total was 45.5 early in the week, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)
NFL pick, via Odds Shark computer: 22.9-21.8 Vikings
Why the Chargers can cover the spread
First of all, San Diego is 9-1-1 ATS in its last 11 September games. The one loss took place last week in a 24-19 setback on the road to the Cincinnati Bengals, but otherwise the Chargers have thrived during this month under head coach Mike McCoy.
This will be the second NFC North opponent in three weeks for San Diego, as the team defeated the Detroit Lions 33-28 as 3.5-point home favorites in their season opener. The Chargers have performed well against NFC foes overall recently, going 7-2 straight up and ATS in the last nine, including four consecutive wins following the Detroit victory.
Why the Vikings can cover the spread
Minnesota played poorly in a 20-3 season-opening loss to the San Francisco 49ers, but the team rebounded nicely last week with a 26-16 win over the Lions. The Vikings knew they needed to get running back Adrian Peterson more touches after he carried the ball just 10 times against the 49ers, and he responded with his best game since 2013.
The more effective Peterson can be, the less pressure there will be on second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. While Bridgewater has shown flashes of brilliance at times, he appears more comfortable playing at home. Minnesota’s defense also performs better there as well, which could be the difference in a close game.
The Vikings were hyped as a sleeper team to take the next step this year, and possibly make the playoffs with Peterson back from his personal conduct suspension. They looked good last week against Detroit after a terrible game at San Francisco.
Meanwhile, San Diego will be playing on the road for the second week in a row and have trouble dealing with the defensive pressure of Minnesota, just like the last game at Cincinnati. Look for the Vikings to come through with another home victory and cover.
The Chargers are 9-1-1 ATS in their last 11 games in September.
The Chargers are 2-6 SU and ATS in their last eight games as underdogs.
The Vikings are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games.