Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins
- The Minnesota Vikings are 6.5-point favorites against the Arizona Cardinals for Saturday's (1 p.m. ET) NFL preseason Week 3 matchup.
- Using Bet Labs, we analyze just how rare favorites of this size are in the NFL preseason and how these teams perform against the spread.
Because of varying agendas regarding playing time for starters, positional battles, play-calling and more, few NFL preseason games are projected to be blowouts by oddsmakers.
Saturday’s NFL preseason Week 3 game between the Cardinals and Vikings lists Minnesota as a 6.5-point favorite. Points spreads this large are quite rare in the preseason.
Since 2004, just 40 preseason matchups have closed with a spread of at least 6.5 points, according to Bet Labs.
On the other hand, 91 games finished with closing spreads of at least 6.5 points during the 2018-19 regular season alone. That breaks down to 5.4 per week.
The Denver Broncos were the last favorites to reach a closing spread of at least -7 in an Aug. 23, 2014 preseason game against the Houston Texans.
In fact, the most recent favorites of larger than seven points were the New England Patriots (-9) in a 2011 preseason game against the New York Giants. That is also the largest preseason point spread tracked in Bet Labs’ NFL database.
While the sample is small, favorites of this magnitude have not performed well in the preseason, posting a 15-25 (37.5%) against-the-spread (ATS) record since 2004.
Overall, favorites have been losing bets in the NFL preseason, going 462-504-30 (47.8%) ATS over that span.
Interestingly, bettors have not been scared off by the large number as 65% of wagers are laying the points with the Vikings.