Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:45 AM EST odds are subject to change.
Washington +3 over Minnesota
1:00 PM EST. The Commanders are winning, but they are still not getting any respect. Maybe it’s because Washington is winning “ugly.” That would include last Sunday’s 17-16 win in Indianapolis, where the winning score was taken home by Taylor Heinecke's 1-yard sneak with 22 seconds left. That was Washington’s second win in a row with Heinecke at the helm, but that 23-21 final over the Packers was ugly, too.
In light of Green Bay and Indianapolis's current woes, those wins just are not resonating. That’s what happens when your franchise is a laughing stock for nearly 30 years. That owner Dan Snyder is openly looking to sell this team further deflates its standing in the market, as there appears to be no stability at the top of the organizational food chain.
The Vikings are 6-1 and in a market that values winning over all else, that matters. The Vikes are getting much love from the market, as they lead the NFC North by 3½ games over both Green Bay and Chicago. To help cement their place atop the division, Minnesota added another big name offensive weapon with the acquisition of star tight end T.J. Hockenson from the Lions.
That was one of the bigger trades on deadline day, and it was a rare one between division foes. We love “Hock,” but it’s not reasonable for him to make a big impact here. In fact, it might be difficult for him to find a role in an offense whose tight ends had just 244 yards before his arrival. First-year Vikes coach Kevin O'Connell has already said he isn't sure how much use the team will get out of Hockenson this week. With Justin Jefferson, Adam Theilen and Davlin Cook, there are many mouths for Kirk Cousins to feel.
The offense might get the glory, but it’s not what the Vikings needed. Minnesota sports the NFL’s 22nd ranked defense according to our friends over at Football Outsiders. That unspectacular mark comes against some weaker competition, too, as the Vikes have played a strength of schedule (SOS) that ranks just 21st.
If one needed further proof the Vikings are living a charmed life, their expected win through seven games is four, two full games lower than their posted total. To that point, during its current five-game winning streak, Minnesota has won those games by an average of just six points. A slim margin. Had a bounce or two gone the other way, the Vikes could be 1-4, 2-3, or 3-2 during that five game run.
As far as 6-1 teams go, you won’t find a bigger fraud than the Vikings. They have played one quality team this year and lost by 17. Its other wins came against Green Bay in Week 1 and then after losing by 17 to Philadelphia, the Vikes beat the Lions by four and needed a 14-0 fourth quarter to do so. That lucky win was followed by another lucky win over the Saints by three. They then beat the Bears by 7, 29-22, the Dolphins minus Tua and finally last week’s very unimpressive win over the Cardinals. The Vikes are playing with fire and the books know it, as they made a 6-1 team a very small road favorite against a team with very little street cred. We also love that the Vikes play Buffalo next week, which is another small/large nugget in our back pockets.
Washington +3 +102 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.04)