NFL Picks: Vikings Streak Ends When Sailing Against Raiders

Jason Lake

Thursday, November 12, 2015 1:51 PM GMT

If you believe the NFL odds, the Minnesota Vikings and the Oakland Raiders are equals. A closer look at the advanced stats tells an entirely different story.

Jason's 2015 record as of Nov. 11: 30-30-2 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 21-27 Total
 

You've probably heard that old saying about how it's better to be lucky than good. The Minnesota Vikings (6-2 SU, 7-1 ATS) have been very lucky this year. Each of their last four victories was by single digits, including last week's 21-18 overtime win over the St. Louis Rams (+2 away). The Vikings have also had the good fortune of playing the softest schedule in the league thus far, according to Football Outsiders.

On the surface of things, it might look like Minnesota's got another cupcake opponent this Week 10 on Sunday (4:05 p.m. ET, FOX) in the Oakland Raiders. But the Raiders (4-4 SU, 5-3 ATS) are on the ascendancy, and they're the home favorites this week at -3 on the NFL odds board. Not only that, our advanced consensus reports at press time show Oakland pulling in over 60 percent of the action, despite Minnesota enjoying a slight lean from 51 percent of bettors.
 

Purple Pastry Eaters
The sharps know what they're doing. It's always tricky when you're dealing with a team like Minnesota that's been beating up on bad opponents – how good are the Vikings, really? Football Outsiders has them ranked No. 26 overall (No. 27 offense, No. 22 defense, No. 8 special teams) in terms of efficiency, well behind Oakland at No.12 (No.6 offense, No.18 defense, No.11 special teams).

The gap between the two teams shrinks considerably when you look at the Simple Rating System at Pro-Football Reference. However, the Raiders still come out ahead at +1.8 SRS, with Minnesota a shade below average at –0.3 SRS. Margin of victory is a big part of both evaluations, but there are only so many possessions in a football game, and so many opportunities to break open a big lead, even against an over-matched opponent.
 

Get Into My Carr
Having said that, we're still confident here at the ranch that the Raiders are the right team to put in your Week 10 NFL picks. Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater looks like he's going to be cleared to play Sunday despite taking a forearm shiver to the head in last week's win over St. Louis. Bridgewater appeared to be knocked unconscious before leaving the game; he was limited in practice Wednesday, as part of the league's concussion protocol.

Bridgewater is already an overvalued commodity, at least at this point in his career. He ranks well below replacement level at -58 passing DYAR, or No. 27 out of 32 qualifying quarterbacks. Oakland sophomore Derek Carr, on the other hand, ranks fourth overall in passing at +639 DYAR, ahead of guys like Aaron Rodgers (+574 DYAR) and Drew Brees (+571 DYAR). It's going to take some more Luck for Minnesota to make up that difference on Sunday.

Free NFL Pick: Take the Raiders –3 (+100) at JustBet

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