Daily Bet: Vikings (-3 1/2) vs. Chargers

There’s a lot in this world I simply cannot explain: The deifying of celebrities. People’s love of mushrooms. A woman’s obsession with shoes … and purses … and Target. And the spell Barry Zito has cast over the Atlanta Braves. Zito last night held the Braves scoreless for eight innings, and though he got into a little trouble in the ninth, his bullpen bailed him out, and the Giants prevailed 5-2. With that, Zito improved to 5-1 with a 2.06 ERA in seven career starts against Atlanta—which is batting just .176 against the otherwise mediocre lefty—and killed my perfect week.

Now, it’s my turn to snap a streak—my NFL preseason losing skid.

In case you don’t recall, I’ve whiffed on all three of my exhibition selections so far, and frankly, thesehave been Adam Dunn-like whiffs. But before you race to the book and put your next mortgage payment on the Chargers, understand my very simple logic behind this selection: Philip Rivers isn’t going to play for San Diego. Why? Because three-fifths of his offensive line is injured and won’t play. And neither will No. 1 running back Ryan Mathews, he of the broken collarbone on his very first carry of the preseason (and by the way, without him, the Chargers have averaged 2.2 yards per carry this summer). And since Rivers, Mathews and the bulk of the offensive line aren’t likely to see the field, neither is tight end Antonio Gates.

Now is when I mention that the Vikings’ defense last week held the Bills to 317 yards (including just 68 rushing yards) in a 36-14 victory, improving to 5-2 straight-up and against the spread in their last seven preseason home games.

Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Thursday’s Result: Braves (-115) at Giants (Loss)

Record: 37-31