Chargers vs. Vikings NFL Picks: Take 'Under' 44.5 as Minnesota's Running Game Will Eat the Clock

Jason Lake

Friday, September 25, 2015 6:03 PM UTC

Friday, Sep. 25, 2015 6:03 PM UTC

Who are the real San Diego Chargers? And are the Minnesota Vikings what we thought they were? Our Week 3 NFL picks depend on the answers to these questions.

Jason's 2015 record as of Sept. 26: 11-6 ATS; 0-1 ML (–1.00 units); 4-5 Total

Sometimes the things we see in Week 1 continue through the course of the regular season. And sometimes they don't. We've seen very different results from both the San Diego Chargers and the Minnesota Vikings this year, but at least there was one island of consistency: Both of Minnesota's games went UNDER the posted total on our NFL odds board.

Can the Vikings make it three in a row this Sunday (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS) when they welcome the Chargers to TCF Bank Stadium? Our early consensus reports showed 60 percent support for the UNDER on the opening total of 45 points; as we go to press, the total has dipped to 44.5, with 53 percent of bettors sticking with the UNDER for their NFL picks. We might be inclined to join them.


You're Gonna Make It After All
Since we're dealing with a temporary outdoor venue in Minneapolis, the first thing we need to check on is the weather report: Sunny, with temperatures in the low-to-mid 70s and a 10-mph crosswind. Nothing to get too worked up about. The Vikings will play here until they move indoors to U.S. Bank Stadium for 2016, assuming things go as planned.

Back to the football. In Week 1, the Vikings failed to show up in a 20-3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers (UNDER 41.5). Then they made their home debut against the Detroit Lions, and the offense woke up – only to go UNDER once again in a 26-16 victory (UNDER 44). This is what can happen when you let RB Adrian Peterson run the ball 29 times. Minnesota's defense did its part by tenderizing Lions QB Matthew Stafford and forcing three turnovers.


Eat the Clock
Who knows what you're going to get from the Chargers from week to week. They also beat up Stafford and the Lions in a 33-28 win (OVER 45.5), only to come up flat and lose 24-19 to the Cincinnati Bengals (UNDER 47.5) in Week 2. San Diego's offense was missing RG D.J. Fluker (high-ankle sprain) in that game; he made it back to practice on Thursday, but Fluker is doubtful to face the Vikings.

Maybe things will improve on offense now that TE Antonio Gates has served his two-game suspension. Just in time, too, as TE Ladarius Green suffered concussions in each of the first two contests. And yet San Diego let Green practice on Thursday. What a wonderful world we're living in.

A 44.5-point total doesn't offer much room for betting value, but we're going to recommend the tiniest of bets on the UNDER for Monday's matchup. While Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings might end up running directly through the San Diego Chargers and into the end zone on a regular basis, at least they'll be chewing up the clock in the process. Nom nom nom.

NFL Pick: Take UNDER 44.5 (–102) at Pinnacle 

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