Seahawks at Vikings

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NFL Preseason Week 2 Preview
Seattle at Minnesota

A pair of NFC teams coming off SU and ATS wins in Week 1 of the preseason meet in Minnesota on Sunday night, as it's a high-profile, under the lights preseason contest for the Seahawks and Vikings.

Minnesota's 34-25 win last week was arguably the more impressive of the two, as they managed to put up 35 points against the Saints in New Orleans. Strong performances by QB's Sean Mannion and Kyle Sloter were a big reason for that result, as both guys managed to throw a TD pass and were a combined 13-for-20 throwing the ball. Kirk Cousins did his thing as well in one drive going 4-for-4 for 65 yards and a TD, and he'll likely cut into a bit of the playing time for Mannion and Sloter in this one.

From Seattle's perspective, their 22-14 win at home was fueled by a strong all around effort from QB Paxton Lynch. Lynch went 11-for-15 throwing the ball for 109 yards and a TD, but it was his four rushes that totalled 38 yards and a TD that helped Seattle grab the lead in the 3rd quarter for good. Lynch is a guy that's looking to revitalize his career after his failed stint in Denver as a 1st round pick, and based off one performance, his dual-threat ability is something that Seattle covets.

Doing it at home is one thing though, as can Lynch and company get it done on the road in prime time?

NFL Odds: Minnesota (-4.5); Total set at 41.5

As is the case with NFL preseason lines every week, there is significant line movement early on in the week and this game is no different. Bettors have already shown their hand in terms of backing the Vikings and the 'under', given that this line originally opened up at Minnesota -3.5 and a total of 42.

An average of 28 points put up between them on offense last week makes the 'under' look a little puzzling to some, especially given the QB battles both teams seemingly have going on for that backup role. But without question both sides would like to tighten things up defensively – especially in Minnesota's case, and I do suspect that's what we see to a degree form both sides in this one.

Seattle and Minnesota also have a recent history of preseason games finishing with 41 or fewer points, as they've met in August each of the past three years, and last year's 21-20 Minnesota win was the highest point total of the three. It was also the only one played in Week 3 of the preseason – typically the dress rehearsal game for starters – as the previous two years they met in Week 2 as they are this season, and those games finished with 33 and 29 points respectively.

So the 'under definitely makes a lot of sense here, and typically you'd better have a few good reasons to go against line moves in general during the preseason, and outside of last week's offensive performance by both sides, there really isn't a lot to suggest otherwise this week. Given that Seattle's 2nd preseason game has cashed 'under' tickets in each of the past four years, it would be that side of the total where I believe you can only look.

However, it's actually the side that may present a slightly better betting opportunity as there is at least one strong enough reason to go against the line move that's gone Minnesota's way already.

Going back to the start of the 2011 NFL season – essentially a year before the Russell Wilson era started there – the Seahawks have not minded travelling for preseason games at all. In road games outside of the Pacific Time zone (PST), Seattle has gone 7-1 ATS overall, and 5-0 ATS when lined as an underdog. That's an ATS run that has significant weight to stand on for this game, especially when you consider that QB Geno Smith will be looking to up his performance after what he saw from Lynch a week ago.

And for as much as Minnesota would like to see improvement on defense, it may be hard to completely flip that around in just a week. Mike Zimmer's defense have also been built around getting pressure and being physical, and those are two things that can be very limited in August action. At the same time, Mannion and Sloter are two guys I wouldn't count on lighting up the stat sheet again, which makes it very tough to back Minnesota at anything over a FG in this case.

The early money may have got the best of the number on Minnesota now, but I wouldn't be surprised to see some buy back come Seattle's way the closer we get to kickoff. Remember, as a stand alone, SNF game, most of the action here has yet to hit the board, and I'm looking to stay ahead of the curve.

Best Bet: Seattle ATS

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