- Current Lines
- ATS: Seattle Seahawks -2 (Opened Seattle Seahawks -1.5)
- Moneyline: Seattle Seahawks -128 / Minnesota Vikings +108 (Opened same)
- Total: 55.5 (Opened same)
- *Breakeven %
- **ATS: 51.1% either way (as always for each team)
- Moneyline: 56.1% Seattle Seahawks, 48.1% Minnesota Vikings
- Total: 52.4% (either way)
- Last meeting: The home Seahawks beat the Vikings 27-26 in 2020
*Reminder: “Breakeven %” equates to, informally, how confident/probable you would need to be to bet that side, and get a fair/even bet (i.e. it helps bettors understand the pricing/payout/odds all at the same time).
**That extra 1.1 percentage points is the price you pay for a fair ATS bet
|When the Vikings have the Ball|
|When the Seahawks have the Ball|
This is a matchup between two teams coming off 1-point losses. However, when looking objectively you can see both those losses were very different:
Seattle outplayed the Titans last week and SHOULD have won. As a matter of fact, Seattle “out-DVOA-ed” the Titans 15.4 to -14.8, and controlled the entire game. Take a look at the ESPN Win Probability Model (highlighted here are 13:06 left in the game), which was still as high as 63.8% in favor of the Seahawks with only 42 seconds left in the game.
On the flip side, the 0-2 Vikings (who many had projected as a 9 win team this year) lost their game “fair and square” to the Cardinals. Well, that’s not entirely fair. Mike ZImmer lost the Vikings the game. According to the EDJ Win Probability Model, which offers an objective value to coaching decisions based on historical data, Zimmer made 3 of the 5 worst decisions of any coach in the NFL in week 2:
- Q2 – 1:54 – 4th and 1 on MIN 34 Mike Zimmer chooses to punt, leading 20-14 ( -4.7% GWC. Game Winning Chance Percentage Points)
- Q3 – 6:29 – 4th and 1 on MIN 40 Mike Zimmer decides to punt, trailing 31-30 ( -5.8% GWC)
- Q4 – 2:52 – 4th and 6 on MIN 29 Mike Zimmer decides to punt, trailing 34-33 ( -12.4% GWC)
Put another way, the HC’s conservative nature on 4th downs (granted in a vacuum) literally took 22.9% chance to win away from the team’s on-field performance.
When the Vikings have the ball (SEA Defense)
**Key NEW Injuries:
-MIN OFF: None
-SEA DEF: None
Thus far the Vikings Offense has been led by the very under-rated Kirk Cousins performance, currently listed as the 13th rated QB by SIS Points Above Replacement. However, The story coming into the preseason was about personnel. A perennial “heavy team” that used a lot of 12 and 21 personnel, with very little 11, had to figure if that would be feasible with all the turnover at TE. Thus far, its clear the direction HC Zimmer is going (possibly reluctantly):
|Personnel||Last Year Usage Rate||This Year Usage Rate so far|
|3 or More TE Set||38%||74%|
Note, when you include all the 10, 02, etc. personnels, that’s just about a 2x increase in the usage of “light/3WR+” sets. Clearly, the Vikings are a different looking offense this year. Beyond personnel, one of the biggest tactical opportunities many analysts called for in the off-season was for the Vikings to lower their early down run rate. Last season Minnesota ran on 51% of first downs. Thus far, that number is at 44% for 2021.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Seahawks are a heavy Base Personnel team, which matches up worst with “light offenses” (Seattle gave up 5.9 yards/play against 12 vs. 5.3y/p against 11 in 2020). Also of note, likely because of all the Single-High Safety looks they give, the Seahawks tend to see a lot of deep shots (#1 in NFL with 13.3 attempts of 10+ DOT the past 2 years). Coincidentally, the Vikings have thrown the 6th most passes this season over 10 yards.
**Note that Injuries considered are ONLY for players that have played the majority of snaps for their side of the ball WITHIN the DVOA rating/PFF Grade we are using as our base (i.e. only players that helped/hurt performance that we are taking into account, that will NOT/confirmed will NOT play this week
When the Seahawks have the ball (MIN Defense)
**Key NEW Injuries:
-SEA OFF: Brandon Shell (IF out, according to SIS ON/OFF Report) would be a major hit, dropping SEA -.56 EPA/play between him and his backup (likely Jemarco Jones)
-MIN DEF: None
A lot was mentioned in the offseason about the Seahawks increasing their tempo, and thus far we have seen a marginal decrease in time/snap.Beyond that many analysts called for an increase in usage of 12 personnel. Take a look at the splits from last year according to Sharp Football Stats.
|12 Personnel||11 Personnel|
|Successful Play Rate||48%||62%|
This performance split has almost completely been matched this season, yet the split too has stayed the same. It’s hard to get down on coaching staffs that have had success, and clearly add subjective value, but it’s simply infuriating when you see such a clear advantage a team can have by a tiny change in tactics.
Either way, once most concerning for the Seahawks offense this week is the health of Tackle Brandon Shell. As noted about his on/off splits are pretty telling, and will likely leave the OL susceptible to pressure if he ends up out for the game (keep yourself posted before making a decision).
On the defensive side we had marked the VIkings to likely be a surprise team given all the bad injury luck (30th in Adjusted Games Lost on defense last year) they had last season. However, thus far in 2021 they’ve been mainly disappointed. Thru 2 games their highest graded unit (by PFF Grade) is the Pass Rush, and they are sitting at 59.6.
- Seattle is 7-0 SU the last 7 games vs Minnesota
- Seattle is 1-6 ATS in the last 7 road games
Believe it or not, but Mike Zimmer has the second best ATS record since becoming HC in Minnesota (59%). Additionally, I think they have a stronger Home Field advantage (ala the refs through the fan noise) than your typical NFL team, that was absent in 2020, as Sharp Football notes in their Preseason Magazine:
“there was the home field element during COVID. Since 2016, Minnesota had a 24-9 record and was 21-9-3 ATS (70%) at home, which was the best home cover rate in the NFL. The lack of fans would mean a lack of reflection of their noise waves off the acoustically designed roof back down onto the playing surface. I forecast this would absolutely hurt the Vikings’ home field. And while the Vikings had the best cover rate in the NFL at home since 2016, they were just 16-17-1 on the road, covering only 15 of 34 games”.
This being their first home game of the season, I’m not sure if the market has considered this relative advantage. Finally as we saw last week, the Seahawks still have some negative regression coming their way in the form of (not) winning close games.
Pick: Vikings +2