It’s a trend that started long before Sam Bradford surprisingly became the Minnesota Vikings’ new franchise quarterback. Bradford was supposed to spend this season in Philadelphia wearing green.
Instead, he’s wearing purple, which has become the color of money for those who ride NFL betting trends that work week after week and rarely fail.
In their past 20 regular-season games, the Vikings are 18-2 against the spread. Including a playoff game in January, the trend is 19-2. Bradford is 4-0 in his starts for Minnesota, so he’s played only a small role in the big picture.
Every strong trend eventually ends, but it’s especially important to Bradford to extend this one at least one more week. He’s not getting a warm reception Sunday in his return to Philadelphia, where Santa Claus was once booed, pelted with snowballs and probably even ripped by fans on the postgame radio show.
The Eagles wanted to dump Bradford, and he desperately wanted to be dealt, so the August trade that sent him from Philadelphia to Minnesota was a win for both sides. Bradford is helping turn the Vikings into Super Bowl contenders.
Bradford leads the league in completion percentage (70.4) while passing for six touchdowns with no interceptions. And he’s not looking over his shoulder at the Eagles’ new franchise quarterback, Carson Wentz, who won his first three starts.
We still are not sure if the Eagles are the real deal, especially after their offense produced only six points in a loss at Washington last week. In two losses since a bye week, Wentz has started to resemble a rookie.
The Vikings are off a bye, which is not always a good thing for a hot team. But with extra time to prepare, coach Mike Zimmer, one of the league’s sharpest defensive minds, will game-plan something Wentz has not seen.
Minnesota’s success is mostly due to its defense. The Vikings rank No. 1 in scoring defense (12.6 points per game) even after facing a few quarterbacks — Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton and Eli Manning — with Super Bowl experience.
This play is too popular with the public, and the best line (2½) is long gone, but I’ll ride the trend and side with Bradford to beat his former team mainly because his current team is better in all phases. The Vikings, as 3-point favorites, should leave Philadelphia in a purple haze.
Four more guesses at an ugly Week 7 lineup (home team in CAPS):
Rams (+3) over Giants: Case Keenum is gaining confidence after completing 27 of 32 passes in Los Angeles’ 31-28 loss at Detroit last week. The Rams are 3-2 in their past five games. The Giants go to London surrounded by distractions, and they rank 30th in rushing offense at 76 yards per game.
Saints (+6½) over CHIEFS: Running back Jamaal Charles has a sore knee and might miss the game for Kansas City, which leans to the conservative side on offense. New Orleans has been in each game despite its weak defense, and that’s because of Drew Brees, who’s on a 9-3-1 ATS run as a ’dog. The Chiefs have failed to cover seven straight times in their next game after playing division rival Oakland.
Chargers (+6½) over FALCONS: Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is in his preferred role as a road ’dog (20-9-1 ATS in the past 30.) Atlanta is 2-9 ATS in its past 11 as a favorite. Rivers should be able to keep San Diego within striking distance in a shootout with Matt Ryan.
BRONCOS (-8) over Texans: Von Miller and the Denver defense will be focused for the return of quarterback Brock Osweiler, who had trouble dealing with a much weaker Indianapolis defense last week. Houston is off a lucky win. The Broncos’ anemic offense is a concern, but after back-to-back losses, this is their bounce-back spot on Monday.
Last week: 1-3-1 against the spread
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports betting columnist Matt Youmans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2907. He co-hosts “The Las Vegas Sportsline” weekdays at 2 p.m. on ESPN Radio (1100 AM). Follow on Twitter: @mattyoumans247