Two teams with playoff aspirations kick off the 2015 NFL Football season on Sunday night from Canton, OH in the Hall of Fame Game. The Minnesota Vikings reacquired the services of running back Adrian Peterson, and with a revamped passing game behind young Teddy Bridgewater they look to improve on last year’s 7-win campaign.
Pittsburgh finished atop the AFC North last year with an 11-5 mark, but fell in the Wild Card round against fellow division mate Baltimore. A consistent rushing attack led by Le’Veon Bell helped the Steelers regain their identity which was lost in the 2013 season, and while they’ll miss him for two games they are still expected to be a major player in the AFC.
Online sportsbook CRSportsBet.ag gives both of these teams a shot at making the playoffs, with Minnesota pegged at a season win over/under at 7.5 wins and the Steelers expected to do one game better at 8.5 wins.
For this first preseason matchup, Minnesota is listed as a 2.5-point betting favorite in the Hall of Fame Game. Pittsburgh is generally regarded as the better team, but in the preseason the strength of both teams’ starters doesn’t mean much.
Pittsburgh went 1-3 last preseason and lost all four of their August tilts in 2013. Some head coaches have tendencies on how they approach these meaningless contests, and Mike Tomlin clearly hasn’t put much stock into win/loss results.
The Vikings went 3-1 last August under head coach Mike Tice, outscoring those four teams by an average of 10 ppg. Not sure the Vikings defense can match the 12.2 ppg allowed last August, but they certainly played with a mentality not seen throughout the league.
Three of the last four Hall of Fame Games have seen final scores of less than 30 points – not that surprising considering the small amount of playing time the starters receive. Given Minnesota’s defensive mentality of last August, playing Under the posted total of 35 points should be considered.
We’ll be back next week to break down some of the marquee games of the first full week of NFL Preseason betting action.