You know what watered-down drinks and NFL preseason football have in common? Neither are great quality, but if you’re thirsty, it’s better than nothing. That’s the bitter-sweet reality of betting on the preseason.
Week 1 of the NFL’s exhibition games caps off with an inter-conference matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and Las Vegas Raiders this Sunday, August 14. Here’s a look at the odds for this preseason contest.
Vikings vs. Raiders Week 1 Preseason Odds
NFL · Sun (8/14) @ 4:25 pm ET
|Allegient Stadium, Las Vegas, NV|
Las Vegas is a 3.5-point favorite against the Vikes after receiving most of the betting handle since the lines opened. The Silver and Black were -135 on the moneyline in early wagering, and have seen their odds grow to as much as -180 at PointsBet.
Raiders Push for 2-0 Preseason Record
The Raiders have already generated some rhythm heading into Sunday’s contest after jagging the Jags in the Hall of Fame Game on August 4. However, given the sloppiness and unpredictability of preseason football, Minnesota still has a puncher’s chance.
The biggest takeaway from the HOF Game was that running back Josh Jacobs saw the field, drawing speculation that the one-time Pro Bowler might be on the trading block. First-year head coach Josh McDaniels recently shut down trade rumblings surrounding Jacobs. Whether or not the rumors are true, though, it’s unknown as of Friday if Jacobs – or any other Raiders starters – will get playing time this Sunday.
Quarterback Derek Carr didn’t play last week, and might not get the green light against the Vikings either, which is no surprise considering he hasn’t played a single preseason snap since 2019. Jarrett Stidham, Nick Mullens, and Chase Garbers should form a three-man timeshare if Carr watches from the sideline.
Vikings Look to Start Season Off With a Win
As for the team in Purple and Gold, it’s unlikely that quarterback Kirk Cousins sees any action in Las Vegas after dealing with an illness that sidelined him for Thursday’s practice. Next man up would be either Sean Mannion or Kellen Mond, neither of whom have had a good camp.
It’s hard to assess head coach Kevin O’Connell’s decision-making in the preseason, considering he’s never been at the helm of a coaching staff in the NFL before. Therefore, the statuses of star skill position players Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson are up in the air. One thing we do know, however, is that O’Connell was the offensive coordinator under Rams head coach Sean McVay for two seasons in Los Angeles, and McVay rarely let his starters see the light of day in the preseason.
The Vikings’ offense may look like a unit fresh from the practice squad, but there’s at least some optimism that we see the defensive starters out there. Minnesota has switched to a 3-4 defense with Ed Donatell now coordinating the defense, so it would be wise for him to let his starters get their feet wet under the new defensive scheme.
Vikings vs. Raiders Pick
With both teams expected to reel out their backup quarterbacks, Las Vegas should have the clear edge to win solely based on who’s under center. The Vikings went 0-3 in the preseason last season, including a 33-6 preseason-opening defeat that Cousins didn’t play in.
The Raiders trampled on the Jaguars with 159 yards on the ground on the way to a 27-11 victory. Georgia rookie Zamir White led the team with 52 rushing yards on 11 carries, while journeyman Austin Walker contributed with 49 rushing yards on eight carries. Both running backs form a quality tandem on the ground that should be able to drag Minnesota through the dirt, even if Jacobs sits this one out.
Pick: Raiders -3.5