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NFL Betting: Raiders And Vikings Both Have A Lot To Prove As They Return To Action

Posted by Stan Simmons on 8/4/2014 9:43:02 PM

After offseasons that felt very different, the Oakland Raiders and Minnesota Vikings will take the field once again this Friday night. They’re both going to be picked to finish at or near the bottom of their respective divisions. Can one or both of these teams create a surprise in the coming season?

Oakland Raiders @ Minnesota Vikings – Friday, August 8

Sports betting line: Vikings -1

Why Oakland Will Win

This is a situation in which the Raiders could very easily come out and play with more pride and energy than the Vikings. The Raiders, to be honest, are a mess. They have very little direction or stability as a franchise. It would be a huge surprise if this team did not finish in last place in the AFC West, because the other three teams in the division all made the playoffs last season. The Raiders are going nowhere, and they know how much work they have to do to begin to change people’s minds about their fate this season and in the future. This seems like a team that’s not worth picking at all, but in the preseason, this is exactly the kind of team that can’t be written off. To be more specific, this is the kind of team that, because it is likely to be so bad, will play its starters more minutes than a lot of other NFL teams will in the first game of the preseason. In the third game on a preseason schedule, a lot more teams will play their starters for a full half as a dress rehearsal for the actual season to come, so in those games, you want to pick the team you expect to be fairly good during the regular season. However, in the first game of the preseason schedule, it’s a lot easier and more realistic to pick the bad regular-season team to win. The starters and the second-stringers on the Raiders have more to prove than the starters and second-stringers on most teams in a first game of the preseason. That’s how odd results come about.

Why Minnesota Will Win

When online football betting analysts look at this game, they’re going to point out that while Oakland’s starters have more to prove, it’s not as though Minnesota’s don’t have anything to prove. The Vikings had a terrible season last year. There were some successes at times, but nothing was really sustained from the beginning of the season to the very end. The Vikings also know that they have to do a lot of things to shift perceptions of the franchise and improve the mood in the inner circles of the organization. At quarterback, this pressure is keenly felt, with Christian Ponder battling Matt Cassel and newcomer Teddy Bridgewater for the job. The Vikings are unsettled enough at quarterback that they should get inspired performances from them in the comparatively low-key environment of the preseason.

Who Will Win

The Vikings’ battle at quarterback is probably going to give Minnesota the extra push it needs to play well on offense. Minnesota is weak enough that it will try to win this game, and that’s probably what’s going to make the difference.

NFL Betting Pick: Vikings -1


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