2021 NFL Preseason Week 2: Don't Buy the Lowly Vikings as Chalk-Layers
Updated: Aug 5, 2022
Indianapolis Colts +2.5 @ Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota finished last season 7-9 straight up and 6-10 ATS. In fact, thank goodness for the 5-11 SU Detroit Lions, otherwise the Vikings would have ended dead last in the AFC North Division in 2020-21. In contrast, at 11-5 straight up, the Colts ended last year tied for the best tally in the NFC South. Indianapolis also finished with a winning (9-8) ATS record last year.
The Colts activity in the 2021 NFL Draft earned passing grades by covering pundits. Acquiring defensive end, Kwity Paye, at number 21 is regarded as theft by more than one analyst. However, opinions appear much more mixed regarding the Colt's other six picks. In aggregate though, as best as we can tell, the Colts earned a composite grade of around B- in this year's draft. We indicate below the inputs baked into this classification.
Touchdown Wire: B-
NBC Sports: B
However, Frank Reich intimated last week that starters could get some action in Minnesota, so the burden of securing the road cover in week 2 might not entirely fall on the shoulders of Indy's lower tier players.
In preseason week 1 the Vikings reserves managed only six points as hosts to the Denver Broncos (Mike Zimmer sat all starters for that affair). Resultantly, Denver blew Minnesota out by a gaudy 27 point margin, from the position of 2.5 point favorites. Our guess is that, in contrast to the open-ended potential for the Colts' starters, Coach Zimmer will want to get Minnesota's backups plenty of additional reps in week 2, in an effort to get them better acclimated to the game at this level, after the egg the Vikings laid last week.
Additionally, the broad environment for this game suggests the present represents a solid spot for the Colts. Generally speaking, formerly bad teams laying short, preseason chalk to formerly solid, relatively unfamiliar competition have proven GREAT fades.
Betting against home favorites of less than a field goal in non-conference NFL preseason play has proven exceedingly profitable when the team laying the chalk DID NOT appear in the previous playoffs, while their opposition did earn a seed in the prior post-season...
This angle's 68% cover rate back to 2004-05 proved statistically significant at better than a 95% confidence level, conveying a high level of conviction in its predictive ability. Further, this approach delivered hit rates below 50% in only four seasons, and has been good for a hypothetical, long-term 30% return on investment, including a 4-2 ATS run last week.