A pair of NFL preseason contests are on the schedule for Thursday. The Hall of Fame Game kicked the preseason off in Canton a week ago, but the rest of the league begins its preseason run over the next handful of days. The second game of Thursday’s doubleheader pits the Minnesota Vikings against the Seattle Seahawks. The NFC foes will meet at Lumen Field in Seattle.
Kickoff is at 10 p.m. ET. The Seahawks are 4.5-point favorites, while the over/under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 36.5 in the latest Vikings vs. Seahawks odds. Before you make any Vikings vs. Seahawks picks or bets, you need to see the NFL predictions and betting advice from proven SportsLine expert Josh Nagel.
Tonight, we’re returning to the same philosophy that brought us a win last week. Preseason NFL games are largely a crap shoot and cannot be predicted, so taking points when you can get them is generally the advisable option. It becomes even more enticing when you get more than a field goal like we are tonight.
You have to remember: While the starters decide regular-season games, early preseason games are more often decided by third- and fourth-stringers who won’t be on the roster when the real games start. We saw this play out last week. The Jets jumped out to an early lead, and then the reserves came in for the second half and the Browns “depth” won out.
Why the Vikings can cover
The Vikings likely won’t have Justin Jefferson and Kirk Cousins on the field in the preseason-opener, but there are position battles to monitor. Minnesota has a proven backup quarterback in Nick Mullens, with the 28-year-old from Southern Miss posting 16 starts for the 49ers before backup roles in Cleveland and Minnesota. Mullens appeared in four regular season games and completed 84% of passes in 2022 for the Vikings and is flanked by rookie Jaren Hall.
Hall has impressed in camp since arriving from BYU, and the fifth round pick threw for more than 3,100 yards with 31 touchdowns and only six interceptions in 2022. Minnesota also has a talented running back room behind projected starter Alexander Mattison, and that leans toward the Vikings deploying a quality ball-carrier like Ty Chandler, C.J. Ham, or Kene Nwangwu for large portions of this game. See which team to pick here.
Why the Seahawks can cover
Quarterback play is often key in preseason results, especially in the opener amid overall uncertainty. Seattle is expected to use both Drew Lock and Holton Ahlers in this matchup. Lock is the incumbent backup behind Geno Smith and had 21 starts with Denver before landing in Seattle. Lock threw for three touchdowns and more than 270 yards on 36 attempts during the 2022 preseason.
Ahlers, a rookie from East Carolina, is the all-time record holder in completions, passing yards, and total yards for any player in the American Athletic Conference. He threw for 3,708 yards and 28 touchdowns with only five interceptions in 2022. Seattle is also facing a Minnesota team that struggled in the 2022 preseason, losing all three games and scoring only 40 points. With the Seahawks also projecting to use first round pick Jaxon Smith-Njigba and second round pick Zach Charbonnet, it is easy to see why Seattle is installed as the betting favorite. See which team to pick here.
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