Vikings vs. Raiders Betting Analysis & Pick 12/10/23
Minnesota Vikings (6-6 SU, 7-4-1 ATS) vs. Las Vegas Raiders (5-7 SU, 6-5-1 ATS)
Date/Time: Sunday, December 10, 2023 at 4:05PM EST
Where: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada
Point Spread: MIN -3/LV +3 (BetUS – Deposit $100, get $100 FREE w/code PREDICTEM)
Money Line: MN -160/Vegas +135
Over/Under Total: 40
The Minnesota Vikings come down to Sin City for a week 14 showdown with the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday. Both teams had last week off and hope they can attack this last handful of games with some energy, with both teams’ margin for error having shrunk to nothing. The Vikings last played on Thanksgiving, dropping their second straight to Chicago, 12-10, to sink to 6-6. The Raiders last played on the following Sunday, falling to the Chiefs 31-17. Who can get us the cover on Sunday? Let’s break it down!
Getting a Lay of the Land
Out of sight for two weeks, both teams have been difficult to get a bead on this season. Since week one, the Raiders dropped three, won two, lost two, won two, and have now lost two in a row. A streaky bunch, the Raiders looked to be on a little roll getting back to .500, but we’ve seen continued uneven results on offense sidetrack them the last few weeks against the Dolphins and Chiefs. Maybe at home against an easier opponent will be where we start to see the things they do well again.
The Vikings have also been streaky. A five-game win streak had them back on their feet at 6-4, an amazing feat considering some of the issues they’ve had this season, personnel and otherwise. We saw their offense continue to produce, even with Joshua Dobbs behind center and Justin Jefferson out of commission. And their defense really improved in the last few months under the stewardship of coordinator Brian Flores. But their last game was a real pity, with four picks by Dobbs leading to a terrible result they could ill-afford to sponge going into the bye-week.
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Matchup Issues for the Vikings
They should get Justin Jefferson back this week, though nothing is certain as of press time. Kirk Cousins was playing well and so was Dobbs, who gave this team an initial spark when he joined the team from Arizona. But after the last game, head coach Kevin O’Connell was noncommittal as to whether Dobbs would continue to start. The options: with Jaren Hall waiting in the wings and still questionable after a concussion several weeks ago, it is not very exciting that Dobbs might be the best option. In either event, having dicey QB play puts a major wrench into the offensive firepower they do possess. So, how much will getting Jefferson back really matter in this context? In their last game in what seemed like a decently advantageous spot, they laid an egg against Chicago.
The Vikings’ defense has shown greater energy lately, and the bye-week should offer some relief as they get stronger in their secondary. But they’re crossing into a different conference going into foreign territory at Allegiant Stadium, taking on some compelling offensive talent with guys like Davante Adams and Joshua Jacobs. And if they’re having issues on offense, whether with turnovers or just in an overall sense, it might put some pressure on an imperfect Vikings defense to be too perfect.
Problems for the Raiders
While Jimmy Garoppolo remains benched and deserves it for the way he played to a certain degree. It’s not clear they’re in better hands with rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell behind center for the Raiders. We’ve seen less production from Davante Adams as the season carries on. Joshua Jacobs has only recently started to warm up after being in a funk for a large part of the season. But all told, this is a hit-and-miss offense that, in their last six games, has surpassed 17 points just once and topped 21 points this entire season also just one time. You see their talent with Jacobs and Adams, along with Jakobi Meyers and others, but waiting for their engine to truly turn over has been a futile task.
There has been increased effort and results with the departure of head coach Josh McDaniels, as players seem to be playing hard for interim Raiders coach Antonio Pierce. The defense has in fact, been better, and even in their two losses of late, giving up 51 total points in two games with the Chiefs and Dolphins perhaps isn’t so bad. Leading up to that were some other strong showings, with Maxx Crosby and the Raiders’ pass-rush kicking it up another notch. Maybe taking on a mistake-prone Minnesota offense with their own issues might suit the Raiders’ defense well.
This is still a challenging pairing to weed through between two teams who never really play each other, both coming off the bye after each hitting the skids after going on a run. It makes it hard to gauge which version of each team to expect, who was helped more by the extra time off, and who can deliver as we approach the homestretch of the season. And with Jefferson back, the secondary in better shape, and Dobbs (presumably) taking the time to get more familiar with the Minnesota playbook and approach, maybe it’s the Vikes who have a slightly better chance to come off the break with a little edge to them.
Lay the Points on the Road Favorite
Minnesota backers this week may have had hopes for some slightly better value, at least where winning by a FG would equal a cover. Still, between an improving defense that got stronger with the extra time off, along with the return of Jefferson, I think some optimism on the Vikes this week might be well-placed. Still squarely in the NFC playoff picture, I’d expect some urgency to surface on both sides of the ball as the Vikes get the win and cover in Vegas on Sunday. I’ll take Minnesota in this one.
Loot’s Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Minnesota Vikings minus 3 points.