|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|08-30-18||Bills +3 v. Bears||Top||28-27||Win||100||11 h 17 m||Show|
This is a play on the BUFFALO BILLS for our NFLX Thursday Enforcer. The final week of the preseason is here and in most cases, the games are meaningless with deep roster spots being the only remaining factor before the regular season starts. Rarely do we see ant starters on the field, let alone quarterbacks, but because of the situation in Buffalo, that is not the case here. Although the Bills aren't likely to play most of their starters, Buffalo will likely evaluate players competing for starting spots. Entering the preseason finale, the Bills are still evaluating players competing for starting jobs at numerous positions including quarterback which is obviously the big one to look at here. We still do not know who the starter is going to be but all three in competition will be playing all out tonight depending on the time they get. This is a very good situation and one that is rare going into the final week of the preseason. On the other side, Mitchell Trubisky and Chase Daniel are fully entrenched as the No. 1 and No. 2 respectively so it will be Tyler Bray for the entire games tonight as he will be out to try and convince head coach Matt Nagy that the Bears should be keeping three quarterbacks. That likely will not happen though. Much of the Bears, who also played in five preseason games this offseason due to the Hall of Fame game, starters likely will not suit up at all on Thursday. Buffalo falls into a favorable situation as well as we play on underdogs or pickems that are coming off an upset loss as a home favorite, with a losing record. This situation is 47-21 ATS (69.1 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (117) Buffalo Bills
|08-25-18||Chiefs -3 v. Bears||Top||20-27||Loss||-125||5 h 8 m||Show|
**Note 1:00 PM ET Start** This is a play on the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS for our NFL Saturday Enforcer. This is a perfect example of why not to bet preseason games early. We have seen a significant line shift in this games, upwards of five points in some places, but it is justified. The Bears announced late Friday night that they will not be playing most of their first-team players tonight against Kansas City. After their best week of practices so far in 2018, Matt Nagy met with the team to inform them most starters, including Mitchell Trubisky, will not play. Nagy's reasoning is that the Bears have practiced more than every other NFL team, because they began a week early due to their participation in the preseason-opening Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 2. While not fair to the home fans, it makes complete sense. Meanwhile, the Chiefs will play their starters into the third quarter. Since 2007 there have been roughly 20 quarterbacks who have started their careers and played eight or more games in a season and of those 20 teams, Patrick Mahomes offensive personnel is the best according to a report from PFR so this has the potential to be a really powerful offense. According to Gary McKenzie, since the NFL merger, no team has replaced their starting quarterback with a 1st or 2nd year quarterback after gaining more than 6,000 yards of offense in the year prior so Mahomes is walking into the best scenario for a young quarterback in over 50 years. 10* (265) Kansas City Chiefs
|08-24-18||Lions +3 v. Bucs||Top||33-30||Win||100||30 h 34 m||Show|
This is a play on the DETROIT LIONS for our NFLX Friday Enforcer. Detroit is off to a 0-2 start in the preseason and along with Tennessee, they are the only two remaining winless teams that have new head coaches. Matt Patricia certainly brings in a winning mentality from New England and while player evaluations and health are at the top of the list during this exhibition season, getting a winning attitude into the Lions is necessary. Patricia said he plans to give more playing time to his starters, without divulging how much they will actually play, but it will be at least one half and said the Lions have taken a more comprehensive approach to planning for Friday's game against the Buccaneers, scouting an opponent for the first time this summer. Matthew Stafford did not look very good last week but given the fact he and his wife had a baby the night before the game, and he was not exactly playing well-rested, it is only fair we give Stafford a pass. He should see even more time in this game, and it will simply be good to get a sense of where he is at in what is likely his final tuneup before the regular season. Last week for Tampa Bay, Jameis Winston threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns after coming off the bench in the second quarter. Ryan Fitzpatrick had accuracy issues which he will try and overcome as he will get the start and play with the first team to get ready for the season opener. Detroit falls into a great preseason situation as we play against favorites after a win by 14 or more points going up against an opponent after scoring three points or less in the first half last game. This situation is 23-5 ATS (82.1 percent) since 1993. 10* (259) Detroit Lions
|08-23-18||Eagles v. Browns -3||Top||0-5||Win||100||9 h 3 m||Show|
This is a play on the CLEVELAND BROWNS for our NFLX Thursday Star Attraction. Injury info will play a big role on this game as a lot of significant names have been confirmed for the Eagles. While we will not see Carson Wentz tonight, and likely not at all during the preseason, the Eagles are dealing with other significant injuries. Nick Foles is not 100 percent but will play tonight after jarring hos shoulder last week against the Patriots. Left tackle Jason Peters and running back Darren Sproles will sit out Thursday as both are coming off reconstructive knee surgeries. Additionally, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery remains on the physically unable to perform list and is unlikely to make an appearance this preseason while fellow wideout Nelson Agholor and running back Jay Ajayi are dealing with lower-body injuries. Cleveland is pretty healthy, and the starters are expected to play into the third quarter. While the Browns have stunk the last two years and even beyond that, they are significantly improved this season with their roster and they will be out to prove something tonight as their preseason has been pretty solid thus far. Cleveland falls into a solid preseason situation as we play on teams that are coming off an upset loss as a home favorite going up against an opponent off a road loss. This situation is 31-12 ATS (72.1 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (252) Cleveland Browns
|08-18-18||Raiders -1 v. Rams||Top||15-19||Loss||-111||5 h 21 m||Show|
This is a play on the OAKLAND RAIDERS for our NFL Saturday Star Attraction. Like last night, we are going with the sharp line movement again today with the Raiders are they opened as three-point underdogs but are now favored by a point in some places. The move is identical to that of Kansas City last night based on late information coming through that starters would play a full half. In this case, it is the opposite as for the second game in a row, Rams head coach Sean McVay confirmed that he will keep nearly all starters sidelined to avoid injury. The decision to do so was made easier because the Rams play the Raiders again in a few weeks. Oakland will utilize their starters a little bit more but because these teams meet in Week One of the regular season, it will be a pretty vanilla approach. One big factor after the starters depart is that there is a quarterback competition going on for the backup spot. Connor Cook was the first quarterback off the bench last week against Detroit, and he took full advantage. A solid performance did not earn Cook the right to back up Derek Carr as head coach Jon Gruden insists that job remains competitive, and that E.J. Manuel would get more work against the Rams. On the other side, it is imperative that Sean Mannion or Brandon Allen step up their play as neither has looked good and Mannion was downright horrible last week against the Ravens. While both will be playing for the backup spot, comparing the Rams and Raiders quarterback situation gives a big edge to Oakland. Los Angeles looked clueless last week against the Ravens and many will flock to the Rams this week expecting a bounce back, similar to the public riding the Falcons last night but the line movement tells a lot once again. 10* (419) Oakland Raiders
|08-17-18||Chiefs -1 v. Falcons||Top||28-14||Win||100||8 h 2 m||Show|
This is a play on the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS for our NFLX Friday Supreme Annihilator. We obviously missed the good number here as Atlanta opened as a three-point home favorite, but the Chiefs have shifted to the favorite based on information late in the week. We will gladly take new number in this case as opposed to grabbing an early number on the other side which many did based on the Falcons getting shut out last week and expecting a bounce back this week. Andy Reid confirmed to the media that Chiefs starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the rest of the Chiefs starters will get an entire half of play. Reid also said that the second team will get the third quarter and the third team the fourth quarter. This is exactly why we wait during the preseason, so we can get this valuable information and most of the time, the line movement does not even come into play. Mahomes is a special talent with a big arm that we will see more of tonight. Last week, of 44 dropbacks on Thursday night against the Texans, the Chiefs ran only eight route concepts that threatened the Texans vertically. They are expected to open it up more tonight as Reid has already said the first game was simply about getting live game action under their belt. We played against the Falcons last week and they are not only in a tough matchup spot this week, they are not going to counter by going with their starters for long. Head coach Dan Quinn said Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman will be available but implied they will play very little, if at all. As mentioned last week, Quinn has made it clear he does not care about preseason results as Atlanta is now 0-5 both straight up and against the number going back to last season. 10* (409) Kansas City Chiefs
|08-16-18||Steelers +5.5 v. Packers||Top||34-51||Loss||-105||10 h 19 m||Show|
This is a play on the PITTSBURGH STEELERS for our NFLX Thursday Enforcer. Once news came out Ben Roethlisberger was out on injury protocol, this line went from 2.5 to 5.5 which is a huge overadjustment considering he would not have played much to begin with. Additionally, on the same day, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy confirmed that Aaron Rodgers would in fact be starting which helped drive up the line, but the Rodgers info means little. He will see a series, maybe two, as health is the bigger issue for Green Bay. Rodgers played three series and 26 plays last preseason and two series and 26 plays in the 2016 preseason. That is down from five series and 45 plays in 2015, eight series and 69 plays in 2014 and 16 series and 93 plays in Rodgers first season as the starter in 2008 so priorities are changing. Mike Tomlin said that Mason Rudolph and Josh Dobbs will be featured exclusively in the Steelers second game of the preseason and that is not a bad thing after seeing last week. Dobbs went 9-of-13 with a touchdown and an interception against the Eagles while Rudolph, who played the entire second half, went 7-of-12 for 102 yards. This was with no scheming but this week, both quarterbacks got a taste of the Packers defense and they were able to do some gameplanning. The Packers played a vanilla defense last week and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine confirmed they will be doing the same again this week. We will back the value as a line move of three points for a preseason game is absurdly too much. 10* (405) Pittsburgh Steelers
|08-11-18||Chargers v. Cardinals -2.5||Top||17-24||Win||100||13 h 24 m||Show|
This is a play on the ARIZONA CARDINALS for our NFLX Saturday Enforcer. The first-year head coach is always a great angle to play in the preseason if given the right circumstances. I am a fan of playing first year head coaches in their first games as those guys want to infuse a new winning attitude into the team as it is usually the case that the previous season was far from a good one. This season, there are seven new head coaches in the league including Steve Wilks for the Cardinals. When he addressed the media Thursday morning, Wilks said all the quarterbacks will play on Saturday. That would include Bradford, rookie Josh Rosen, Mike Glennon and undrafted rookie Chad Kanoff. Wilks has stated previously that Bradford would be pulled before most of the starters and that Rosen was going to play quite a bit. Rosen said he has progressed each day over the last few weeks and he is playing more reactionary football with his first NFL action finally here. On the other side, if Philip Rivers plays at all, and if he does, it will likely only be one series, Geno Smith and Cardale Jones still will do the bulk of the quarterback work as the battle for No. 2 continues. It feels as if Smith, the more experienced of the two, has the edge because the Chargers know what it looks like when he leads a team. Jones, however, has the physical gifts to win the job if he looks comfortable in game situations. In his first season, Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn indicated player health was more important than wins, as they went 1-3, and we expect the same mindset this season. 10* (282) Arizona Cardinals
|08-10-18||Falcons v. Jets -3.5||Top||0-17||Win||100||8 h 29 m||Show|
This is a play on the NEW YORK JETS for our NFLX Friday Star Attraction. One of the keys to a successful preseason is backing teams that are trying hard as opposed to just going through the motions to evaluate young talent and fill non-starter roster spots. Atlanta is pretty much set on both sides of the ball in its key positions so there will be a lot of second and third string players trying to impress. The quarterback rotation is key on both sides. Matt Ryan will get a series for the Falcons and that will likely be it. After that. It will be Matt Schaub, likely that some people did not know he was still even in the league, and then into undrafted free agent Kurt Benkert and former third round pick Garrett Grayson for the bulk of the game. As for the Jets, there is a three-way battle for the starting spot as Josh McCown is currently listed as the starter but there will be a battle to unseat him between Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Darnold. McCown will see limited action and there likely will be equal reps for Bridgewater and Darnold which is a good thing as both have been very impressive during preseason camp. Falcons head coach San Quinn has made it clear he does not care about preseason results when Atlanta went 0-4 both straight up and against the number. 10* (276) New York Jets
|08-09-18||Bears +2.5 v. Bengals||Top||27-30||Loss||-105||25 h 38 m||Show|
This is a play on the CHICAGO BEARS for our NFLX Thursday Enforcer. The first-year head coach is always a great angle to play in the preseason if given the right circumstances. I am a fan of playing first year head coaches in their first games as those guys want to infuse a new winning attitude into the team as it is usually the case that the previous season was far from a good one. This season, there are seven new head coaches in the league including Matt Nagy who is coaching his second game. The Bears did not come away with a win, although they did cover, and there will be extra effort put forth to get that first win here. The starters did not play in Canton, but Nagy confirmed they will be out there this Thursday including quarterback Mitchell Trubisky for at least a couple series. Offensive line is a concern coming into the season as three of the five expected starters will be playing their first games with the Bengals, left tackle Cordy Glenn, right tackle Bobby Hart and rookie center Billy Price. Head coach Marvin Lewis said he expects the starters on the line to play longer than quarterback Andy Dalton so there could be issues along the line with continuity. Chicago also falls into a great preseason situation where we play on road teams where the line is +3 to -3 off one or more consecutive under. This situation is 50-24 ATS (67.6 percent) over the last five seasons. 10* (253) Chicago Bears
|08-09-18||Browns v. Giants +1||Top||20-10||Loss||-105||25 h 35 m||Show|
This is a play on the NEW YORK GIANTS for our NFLX Thursday Supreme Annihilator. The first-year head coach is always a great angle to play in the preseason if given the right circumstances. I am a fan of playing first year head coaches in their first games as those guys want to infuse a new winning attitude into the team as it is usually the case that the previous season was far from a good one. This season, there are seven new head coaches in the league with one of those being Pat Shurmur for New York. The Giants went 11-5 in 2016, so the 3-13 finish last year led to massive wholesale changes throughout the organization. Shurmur, like other coaches, has not disclosed playing time for any player and while the quarterback in the most important for that information, Eli Manning has not played in the preseason opener the last two seasons but because of the new system, he could play a series or two which would be an added benefit. Backup Davis Webb has had a great two weeks in camp and the Giants know he is a great athlete with a massively powerful arm, what they want to see is him come out and execute the offense efficiently. Baker Mayfield will see a lot of playing time for Cleveland which may not be a very good thing considering this will be his very first NFL game and he could struggle early. Mayfield, who's worked exclusively with the second-team offense, has struggled when pitted against the Browns starters. 9* (258) New York Giants
|08-02-18||Bears v. Ravens UNDER 33||Top||16-17||Push||0||54 h 41 m||Show|
This is a play on the CHICAGO BEARS/BALTIMORE RAVENS UNDER for our Thursday NFL Totals Dominator. The Hall of Fame Game is typically a very low scoring game as in this stage of the preseason, the defenses are a step ahead of the offense. Seven of the last 10 Hall of Fame games have stayed under the total, including four of the last six and while those past outcomes do not predict future results, it does show how defenses are more in sync early in the preseason. Going back to 1984, only seven of the 32 HOF games have eclipsed 40 points and a lot of that is due to fluke plays. This includes an interception return for a touchdown taking place in each of the last five games that have gone over 40 points so simply avoiding that gives us a great opportunity to cash in a low scoring game. The 32 games have seen an average of just over 31 ppg and 14 of the 32 have seem totals of 27 of less points scored including three years ago when Pittsburgh and Minnesota tallied just 17 points combined. Two years ago, the Hall of Fame game was canceled because of poor field conditions and that problem was fixed going into last season. Dallas and Arizona did go over last year but it was just by 3.5 points. According to the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and its players association, teams can't hold training-camp practices more than two weeks before their first preseason game, so preparation has been limited on both sides. That affects the offenses more than the defenses and we will once again see the defenses have the advantage. Additionally, with this being the first game, offensive starters will see limited if any action. A strong situation is in play also as we play the under in NFL Preseason non-conference games. This situation is 238-154 (60.7 percent) to the under over the last five years. 10* Under (241) Chicago Bears/(242) Baltimore Ravens
|08-27-17||49ers v. Vikings -5||Top||31-32||Loss||-110||11 h 18 m||Show|
We are coming off a tough loss last night with the Giants as they imploded in the second half, allowing the Jets to score 28 points and nearly pull off the miracle comeback. That is the risk you sometimes take in the preseason when the backups enter the game but Saturday was a complete anomaly based on the size of the comeback. We hope not to have that issue tonight as we are backing another team in a very similar situation with a very similar line. The Vikings have not looked very good on offense as they have scored only 30 points so they want to use this game as a trigger to get things moving in the right direction. the good news is that for the first time this preseason, the Vikings offense is expected to be near full strength. They started to find a groove last week on the opening series in Seattle, before an 11-play, 76-yard drive was stalled by two red-zone penalties. The 49ers have the daunting task of converting the defense from the 3-4 scheme that they have run the better part of the last decade to a 4-3 and anyone who has seen a transformation from a 4-3 to a 3-4 realizes that players that are good fits in one system are not necessarily a good fit in another. San Francisco is overhauling its offense as well and it will have some issues tonight against a stiff Minnesota defense that needs to show more consistency as well. The Vikings lost a rare game in Seattle last week as Mike Zimmer dropped to 13-2 straight up and 12-3 against the number since taking over as Vikings head coach. He will be out to get it back here playing in front of the home crowd for the first time this season. 10* (282) Minnesota Vikings
|08-26-17||Jets v. Giants -4.5||Top||31-32||Loss||-110||9 h 11 m||Show|
It is no secret that the Jets are going to be in for a long season and despite a 1-1 record in the preseason, the offense has given a glimpse of what to expect during the regular season. They have scored 13 points in total and while most teams use the third preseason game to fix offensive issues, the Jets do not have the talent to fix anything. The quarterback situation is a mess and the offensive line is even worse. Head coach Todd Bowles started three new offensive linemen last week against Detroit so there is a lack of cohesiveness that will also carry into tonight. Then there is the receiving crops that lacks no true No. 1 option. Facing a great Giants defense for the first half will prove troublesome. For the Giants, the game might not count but it does have meaning considering they are expected to be contenders in the NFC. In particular, this will be their last chance to grow confidence in the offensive line before the season starts. The Giants offense has struggled for the most part throughout two preseason games but with the first team likely to be on the field for at least the first half, head coach Ben McAdoo is looking for a clean performance with plenty of opportunities to move the ball down the field. Even though Odell Beckham will not see the field and Brandon Marshall is likely out, there are option for Eli Manning, namely Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram. This is one of the higher lines of the night but for good reason and the Giants sense of urgency will propel them to an easy victory tonight. 10* (260) New York Giants
|08-25-17||Chiefs v. Seahawks -3||Top||13-26||Win||100||10 h 26 m||Show|
We played against Seattle last week as it hosted Minnesota in a matchup of coaches that have been outstanding in the preseason and we were on the wrong end as Mike Zimmer dropped to 13-2 straight up and 12-3 against the number since taking over as Vikings head coach. The Seahawks remain home for their third preseason game and this is the one that counts. Starters will see extended time and it is the defense that needs the extra time. Coming back to play into the second half is an important part of the preseason process, head coach Pete Carroll said, because "it is normal procedure. The process of getting them ready to extend your play time. That is just typically how we have done it." On defense and special teams, that extended game action is particularly important when it comes to tackling, something the Seahawks do not do in practice. The starting defense does not feel like it has demonstrated its highest level of play so far this preseason in limited action. The Kansas City offense has been spot on as the first team offense has scored in all four possessions it has been on the field but this is clearly the biggest test thus far. On the other side, the only factor preventing the team from playing well is its struggling offensive line and offensive improvement is necessary if the Seahawks want to make a run this season. Under Carroll, the Seahawks are 14-1 ATS going up against an opponent that is coming off a win by three or more points. This includes the win last week against Minnesota which was coming off a win at Buffalo by a touchdown. 10* (258) Seattle Seahawks
|08-24-17||Dolphins +3.5 v. Eagles||Top||31-38||Loss||-110||9 h 13 m||Show|
This is the week that most of the starters will be playing into the third quarter and that should be the case for both sides here. For the Dolphins, 10 of the 11 projected offensive starters (left guard remains unsettled) should start, and 10 of the 11 projected defensive starters (middle linebacker is still up for grabs) should start. Considering the NFL is a quarterback-driven league, and head coach Adam Gase is a quarterback-friendly coach, the offense will be under the most scrutiny Thursday. He likes the way things are trending when it comes to quarterback Jay Cutler and his receivers learning each other. Communication among Cutler and the rest of the offense has been going well, which allows them to adjust to each other. For the Eagles, Carson Wentz has only thrown the ball 13 times this preseason and the running game has been a huge question mark. Defensively, a revamped secondary is going to be tested. The Dolphins fall into an exceptional preseason situation as we play on any NFL preseason road underdog of four points or less, that is coming off a straight up favorite loss by 10 points or more, going up against an opponent coming off a straight up and ATS win. This situation is 26-6 ATS (81.3%) since 1980. This system goes right to the heart of what the majority of bettors shortcomings are and that is they see what happened the week before and then overreact. The Chiefs were involved in this situation last week and rolled to a 30-12 victory. 10* (251) Miami Dolphins
|08-20-17||Saints v. Chargers -3.5||Top||13-7||Loss||-115||9 h 5 m||Show|
The Chargers were embarrassed last week in their first game in front of the new fanbase and they will be out to make amends for that tonight on national TV. The first unit offense and the first unit defense did their jobs against Seattle but it was the backups that played horrible with costly turnovers and non-execution leading to a 31-point loss. Head Coach Anthony Lynn is nothing if not direct, which is why he has been quite blunt that the second and third string players must elevate their games. While pleased with the performance of the starters, Lynn did not like what he saw from the depth players and he wants better production. A win prior to hitting the road for the final two preseason games and the first regular season game is a must. As much as there is a desire to win these games, the Saints are keeping the preseason losses in perspective as they approach Sunday's game against the Chargers. "I hadn't really paid too much attention to it," coach Sean Payton said Thursday after joint practices with the Chargers. "Obviously, there are some things that we prioritize in the preseason." This is brought up because Payton could care less as witnessed by the 10-game losing streak in the preseason that the Saints are currently on. The line is not on the side of the Chargers based on typical preseason numbers but the situation overtakes that as they get their first win in their new city. 10* (430) Los Angeles Chargers
|08-19-17||Chiefs -1 v. Bengals||Top||30-12||Win||100||77 h 22 m||Show|
The Chiefs opened their 2017 preseason with a loss against San Francisco and one that did not go over too well. Kansas City allowed 18 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to lose by 10 points against one of the worst teams in the league and while the games do not count, the Chiefs will be out to play better. They were outgained by 247 total yards and they heard about it this past week. Cincinnati meanwhile beat up on Tampa Bay as they outscored the Buccaneers 20-3 following an early 9-3 deficit. The Bengals got a surprisingly good showing from third string quarterback Jeff Driskel who was their best player on offense and it will be interesting to see what happens with him going forward and possibly taking the place of A.J. McCarron whose name continues to be brought up in trade talks. The Kansas City first string looked good on both sides of the ball in very limited action and they will see more action in the second game. While Driskel shined for the Bengals, rookie Patrick Mahomes was nearly as solid as he went 7-9 for 49 yards and a touchdown. Trading up for him in the draft was a risky move and just one game in cannot tell much but it showed that he is a possible replacement for Alex Smith come next season. The Chiefs fall into an exceptional preseason situation as we play on any NFL preseason road underdog of four points or less, that is coming off a straight up favorite loss by 10 points or more, going up against an opponent coming off a straight up and ATS win. This situation is 25-6 ATS (80.6%) since 1980. This system goes right to the heart of what the majority of bettors shortcomings are and that is they see what happened the week before and then overreact. 10* (411) Kansas City Chiefs
|08-18-17||Vikings +3 v. Seahawks||Top||13-20||Loss||-105||56 h 23 m||Show|
We won with this matchup last season in the exact same situation and we are going with it again. Both Seattle and Minnesota opened the preseason with road victories. The Vikings hit the road for a second straight week but that is no issue in this matchup. With the win last week, Minnesota is now 13-1 straight up and 12-2 against the number under head coach Mike Zimmer so while Pete Carroll of the Seahawks is well documented as a coach that likes to win in the preseason, Zimmer has surpassed him. The only loss came two seasons ago in Tennessee which happened to be the final game of the preseason where starters did not see any action. The Seahawks rolled over the Chargers on Sunday as they won 48-17, benefitting from four Los Angeles turnovers. From a scheduling standpoint, Seattle is at a significant disadvantage. The Vikings will have eight days to prepare for Seattle while the Seahawks will be coming in with just half of that preparation time. The Vikings coaches started gearing up Friday morning in hopes of turning around the first team offense that looked bad against Buffalo. Under ordinary circumstances, heading into Seattle is rarely a good recipe to erase previous offensive woes but these are not ordinary circumstances. On the other side, the Vikings will use their defensive depth to wreak havoc on Trevone Boykin and the Seattle offense, nullifying anything that worked this past Sunday. While the overall preseason run for Minnesota has been outstanding, the Vikings have covered nine straight road games in the preseason and getting a field goal is excellent value. 10* (407) Minnesota Vikings
|08-17-17||Bills +4.5 v. Eagles||Top||16-20||Win||100||29 h 24 m||Show|
The Bills were one of two teams, the Chargers being the other, with new head coaches that failed to win in Week One and unfortunately, we were on the wrong side of that Buffalo game. The Bills won the yardage battle in that game by 67 yards but mistakes killed them as they have 10 penalties for 106 yards and that is something that is not going to be tolerated this week. While Sean McDermott wanted to start off his career in Buffalo with a victory, he gets another chance here in Philadelphia. McDermott is very aware that this is his first time going back to Philadelphia as a head coach. His parents, brother, and other family members will be in attendance to watch him lead the Bills in their shared home town as winning here is no doubt special and just as big as winning that first home game which he failed to do. The Eagles are coming off a poor game against Green Bay so they too will want to improve on the field and get that bad effort out of the way. Goal number one however is to establish a running game that was all but non-existent against the Packers last week. They ran the ball just 19 times (for 47 yards) and threw the ball 54 times (42 of them belonging to third-string QB Matt McGloin). This supersedes the importance of a victory and any success will shorten the game which is an advantage for an underdog and the points. Speaking of which, this line is too high to begin with as home teams should not be favored by more than a field goal in the preseason, except for Week Three when the starters get extended playing time. Last week, home teams of more than three points failed to cover two of three games. 10* (403) Buffalo Bills
|08-13-17||Seahawks v. Chargers -1.5||Top||48-17||Loss||-115||11 h 28 m||Show|
With the win by the Rams last night, first year head coaches are 4-1 and this has always been a big angle to play in the first week of the preseason. There is one more opportunity to expand on that tonight and we will take advantage of the situation that is bolstered even more by extra motivation for the home team. Not only is this the first game with new head coach Anthony Lynn but it also is the first game being played outside of San Diego for the Chargers. While the game does not count, the Chargers, who moved from San Diego in January and are trying to carve out a niche in the populated Southern California sports market, want to make a good first impression. "It's super important for us to go out there and look good as a group," said running back Melvin Gordon. "It's our first showing as an offense, as a defense. We've got to be together." He is part of the first unit that is expected to see a minimum of two series. The Seahawks have notoriously been a team that plays hard and likes to win during the preseason and that is keeping most of the action on their side. It has been mentioned that home field does not mean much in the preseason but this case is certainly different and the venue itself will be loud and raucous with the maximum seating capacity set at 27,000 which is half of Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum, the previous low in the league. Come regular season, home games could be at a disadvantage but that is not the case tonight. Plus, we can catch the Chargers at less than the typical field goal home price. 10* (282) Los Angeles Chargers
|08-12-17||Cowboys v. Rams +3||Top||10-13||Win||100||14 h 49 m||Show|
Despite a loss with Houston on Wednesday, road teams have been solid in the NFL Preseason over the last few years as through Thursday, preseason home teams are just 70-65 SU and 60-73-2 ATS so any line that hits a field goal gives the value to the road team. While we are seeing a field goal in this one, it is being given to the home team and in the first two or three weeks of the preseason when the majority of playing time is given to backups, road teams should not be laying points unless there is significant info that justifies it. That is not the case with Dallas which won its first game over Arizona in the Hall of Fame Game and does have an edge with a game under its belt but it is not significant enough. The Rams have the new head coach angle here as Sean McVay will be making his coaching debut and will want to win his first game to get some momentum going especially in front of the home crowd. So far, new head coaches are 3-1 in the preseason. This affects Jared Goff significantly as he got a new offensively-minded head coach in McVay whose work as the Washington offensive coordinator over the last three years has Rams fans enthralled. This was further enhanced on Friday with the trade for Sammy Watkins although he will not be in action for this one. Because several of the starters are young and inexperienced with new systems on both sides of the ball to install, expect them to get more work than most teams throughout the preseason. 10* (276) Los Angeles Rams
|08-10-17||Vikings v. Bills +1||Top||17-10||Loss||-110||79 h 27 m||Show|
The first-year head coach is always a great angle to play in the preseason if given the right circumstances. I am a fan of playing first year head coaches in their first games as those guys want to infuse a new winning attitude into the team as it is usually the case that the previous season was far from a good one. This season, there are six new head coaches including Sean McDermott in Buffalo. He is the opposite of Rex Ryan and that is a good thing as after an NFL-worst 17 straight years without a playoff berth, doing something different is not a bad thing. His attention to detail is felt in every action throughout practice and everything carries a purpose. There has not been a lot of turnover on the roster so there is cohesion entering the season and that even helps in the preseason with a minimal amount of positions looking to be filled. Bills offensive coordinator Rick Dennison wants to see how explosive his offense can be, whoever it is he rolls out. "I wanna see tempo. I wanna see 'em up and down, have a sense of urgency every play," Dennison said of what he is expecting on Thursday. On the other side, the Vikings biggest concern heading into the new season is the offensive line and it will be a work in progress throughout the preseason. A year after using 12 linemen, including five left tackles, the Vikings will start three new faces up front. This is going to be an ongoing process up until the regular season opener so the offense could see some big struggles the next four weeks. The Bills are one of just two home underdogs in the first week of preseason, the hapless Jets being the other, and it is unjustified for Buffalo to be in that spot. 10* (256) Buffalo Bills
|08-09-17||Texans +3 v. Panthers||Top||17-27||Loss||-110||54 h 29 m||Show|
Carolina plays host to Houston in the first game in Week One and the feeling here is that the Panthers are overpriced. Home field advantage is not nearly the same in the preseason as it is during the regular season so giving the host the typical three-point edge based on venue is overaggressive. Over the last few seasons, preseason home teams are just 65-62 SU and 55-70-2 ATS so any line that hits a field goal gives the value to the road team. This cannot be bet blindly however as we must look at advantages and they are in place for the road team here, namely quarterback rotations. This is one of the most important things to look at in preseason games and the fact that coaches disclose their playing time for the quarterbacks can give us a big edge. The quarterback situation is dicey for the Panthers. Cam Newton's throwing shoulder has been sore enough to keep him out of passing drills for a week, so it is highly unlikely he will be spending any time on the field in this game. That means the starting job falls to Derek Anderson, who struggled mightily in 2016 and does not look much better now. According to several accounts at training camp, Anderson has not been sharp and looks out of rhythm with his receivers. Joe Webb and Garrett Gilbert may have a golden opportunity to earn some significant playing time. For Houston, Tom Salvage will be pushed by rookie Deshaun Watson while veteran Brandon Weeden in the third stringer and this rotation is built for better success early in the preseason. Texans head coach Bill O'Brien said that all able-bodied Texans will suit up and play against the Panthers. "Everybody that's able to play in the game, will play in the game," O'Brien said which means all starters will see at least some action. 10* (251) Houston Texans
|08-03-17||Cowboys v. Cardinals UNDER 36||Top||20-18||Loss||-117||56 h 24 m||Show|
The Hall of Fame Game is typically a very low scoring game as in this stage of the preseason, the defenses are a step ahead of the offense. Seven of the last nine Hall of Fame games have stayed under the total, including four of the last five and while those past outcomes do not predict future results, it does show how defenses are more in sync early in the preseason. Going back to 1984, only seven of the 31 HOF games have eclipsed 40 points and a lot of that is due to fluke plays. This includes an interception return for a touchdown taking place in each of the last five games that have gone over 40 points so simply avoiding that gives us a great opportunity to cash in a low scoring game. The 31 games have seen an average of just over 31 ppg and 14 of the 31 have seem totals of 27 of less points scored including two years ago when Pittsburgh and Minnesota tallied just 17 points combined. Last year, the Hall of Fame game was canceled because of poor field conditions and that problem has been fixed going into this season. According to the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and its players association, teams can't hold training-camp practices more than two weeks before their first preseason game so preparation has been limited on both sides. That affects the offenses more than the defenses and we will once again see the defenses have the advantage. 10* Under (241) Dallas Cowboys/(242) Arizona Cardinals
|09-01-16||Seahawks v. Raiders -1.5||Top||23-21||Loss||-115||14 h 44 m||Show|
Oakland will be out to end the preseason on a positive at home after suffering a loss last week against Tennessee at home and closing with a victory against Seattle would be big. The Raiders and Seahawks matchup has become a traditional end to the preseason for both teams and the Raiders will be out to avenge a loss in Seattle last season. The Seahawks closed out their home schedule with a win over Dallas last week and are catching the Raiders at a bad time. Seahawks rookie running back C.J. Prosise made his preseason debut last week after missing the first two games with a hamstring injury, but saw limited playing time both because he was working his way back after a long layoff, and also because Christine Michael saw much of the playing time with the starters playing into the third quarter. This week, however, Prosise will play quite a bit Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said which means a vanilla attack is on the way. Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio hasn't revealed the quarterback rotation for Oakland's preseason finale but Matt McGloin is expected to start while Connor Cook, a fourth-round draft pick this year, is expected to come off the bench late in the first half and play the remainder of the game. The two quarterbacks understand the significance of what playing well could mean in the big picture. Here, we play against road teams, slow starting offensive team that has averaged seven or fewer ppg in the first half. This situation is 64-32 ATS (66.7 percent) since 1993. 10* (132) Oakland Raiders
|09-01-16||Texans -3 v. Cowboys||Top||28-17||Win||100||12 h 45 m||Show|
Dallas suffered a big loss last week when Tony Romo went down and is out for a good portion of the regular season. The Cowboys have been fortunate that a replacement has emerged as Dak Prescott will be the starter until further notice after coming out of nowhere but they are not taking any chances tonight. While getting him more live game reps would be big for the rookie, the risk of injury is too great so he will not be starting tonight nor will any other Dallas starter. Jameill Showers will play the entire game at quarterback to try and make the roster again this season. On the other side, the Texans will not be taking any chances with starters either but there is one position that they have a big edge with and that is at quarterback. Tom Savage will start tonight before giving way to Brandon Weeden. Savage has been sharp in relief of starter Brock Osweiler as he has completed 25 of 47 passes for 318 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 95.9 passer rating. He has not been lucky as his preseason has been highlighted by more decisiveness, faster reactions and a deeper understanding of the offense. Weeden has seen limited action but he will be highly motived to face the team that released him last season despite him filling in pretty solidly. Houston falls into a great situation where we play on teams where the line is +3 to -3 coming off a home win, with a winning record in the preseason playing a losing team. This situation is 21-5 ATS (80.8 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (121) Houston Texans
|09-01-16||Bears v. Browns -5.5||Top||21-7||Loss||-108||12 h 45 m||Show|
Cleveland is pulling off a rarity in the final week of the preseason. After a poor outing in their third preseason game, Browns head coach Hue Jackson decided his starters needed more work to get ready for the Eagles in the regular season opener. So, instead of sitting out the fourth preseason game as would normally be the case, Browns starters get another dress rehearsal. How long the starters will play has not been determined but any time is a true advantage which is a reason the line has spiked an additional two points.On the other side, Bears head coach John Fox has a track record to sit anyone of importance in the preseason finale, so with that in mind, the Bears likely turn their attention to the back end of the roster, where competition is fierce for some the final spots at tight end and wide receiver. Both teams come in at 0-3 and the one team that would like the win more is Cleveland especially with the first year head coach angle of trying to grab a victory in the final preseason game to get some positive momentum heading into the regular season. The Browns will face a very poor Bears defense that will be comprised of backups of backups and that is not a good sign from what we have seen. Cleveland has a situation on its side based on this as we play against road underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points with a defense that is allowing 5.4 or more yppl. This situation is 28-9 ATS (75.7 percent) since 1993. 10* (124) Cleveland Browns
|08-28-16||Cardinals +1 v. Texans||Top||24-34||Loss||-109||101 h 4 m||Show|
This is a play on ARIZONA for our August NFLX Game of the Month. We got burned with Arizona last week as the thinking was that it would be pretty fired up to bounce back from a blowout loss against Oakland. Instead, the Cardinals came out lethargic and let San Diego dictate the game. The offense barely eclipsed 200 total yards while the defense got torched through the air, allowing 239 yards passing and Philip Rivers did not even play. Head coach Bruce Arians talked about how “pissed” he was about the performance and the heat will be on to turn it up this week. The heat coming from general manager Steve Keim who said we need to pick up our level of urgency and there is no doubt even though we internally feel like we have a very good football team, we cannot just go out there when the season starts and turn the switch on. Houston is off to a 2-0 start but it is a misleading 2-0 start as the Texans were outgained by 144 yards against the 49ers and outgained New Orleans by just 15 yards last week. Arizona falls into a superb situation that we won with last week with the Bears. We play on any NFL preseason away underdog of four points or less, that are coming off a straight up favorite loss by 10-points or more, going up against an opponent coming off a SU and ATS win. This situation is 25-5 ATS (83.3%) since 1980. Additionally, we play on any road team getting no more than two points or is the favorite that is off to a 0-2 start in the preseason. This situation is 22-5 ATS (81 percent) since 1983. On the other side, we play against home teams after a game where they forced three or more turnovers. This situation is 31-10 ATS (75.6 percent) over the last five seasons. While the preseason may not matter for some, Arizona will be taking this game pretty seriously. 10* (279) Arizona Cardinals
|08-27-16||Lions +3.5 v. Ravens||Top||9-30||Loss||-110||80 h 40 m||Show|
This is a play on DETROIT for our Saturday Enforcer. After an extremely disappointing season a year ago that was compounded with the loss of quarterback Joe Flacco to injury, the Ravens needed to come out strong and gain some momentum and confidence to get over that nightmare. They have done just that with a pair of wins to open the preseason but they have come by a combined four points and the last one, a one-point win over Indianapolis, they were actually outgained by 75 total yards. Now Baltimore comes in favored for the first time this preseason but it is a tougher than expected spot to be in. The Lions lost at home against Cincinnati last week to fall to 1-1 in the preseason but they have been one of the better teams through the first couple weeks. Despite the loss last week, they outgained the Bengals by 58 total yards and their total yardage differential of 250 yards through the first two games is fourth best in the NFL. The loss of Calvin Johnson to retirement cannot be replaced but Marvin Jones has looked great as he leads the team with 16.2 ypr. The starters are expected to play the entire first half which gives them a great opportunity to show off the new high-tempo offense. The basic idea of the up-tempo offense is that it tires the defense and limits its substitutions and ability to call plays to counter the offense. Detroit falls into a phenomenal situation that we won with last week with the Bears. We play on any NFL preseason away underdog of four points or less, that are coming off a straight up favorite loss by 10-points or more, going up against an opponent coming off a SU and ATS win. This situation is 25-5 ATS (83.3%) since 1980. 10* (267) Detroit Lions
|08-26-16||Patriots +3.5 v. Panthers||Top||19-17||Win||100||56 h 10 m||Show|
This is a play on NEW ENGLAND for our Friday Ultimate Underdog. There are many situational angles to bet in the NFL preseason and one of those may not seem logical but in fact it is. The Patriots are coming off a win over Chicago last week which followed a victory over New Orleans in their first game, both coming at home. Many will think that will lead to a letdown but it is just the opposite and now coming into the third game, the starters will see extended time and will be out to keep that momentum going. It does not hurt that the opponent is a top team in the league. The Panthers rolled to a 10-point win at Tennessee last week following an opening loss in Baltimore. While this is the first home game since the NFC Championship victory last season, Carolina does not have a significant edge because of venue even though that is what the line may be telling us. The situational angle mentioned earlier is where we play on Road underdogs or pickems in non-conference games that are coming off two consecutive home wins. This situation is 25-8 ATS (75.8 percent) since 1993. Additionally, we play on any NFL preseason away underdog that is coming off two consecutive wins going up an opponent coming off a double-digit win. This situation is 24-7 ATS (77.4%) since 1994. Carolina meanwhile has a negative situation as we play against home teams after a game with a turnover margin of +3 or better. This situation is 31-9 ATS (77.5 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (255) New England Patriots
|08-25-16||Cowboys v. Seahawks -5||Top||17-27||Win||100||35 h 30 m||Show|
This is a play on SEATTLE for our Thursday Enforcer. Seattle is off a rare preseason loss as it has typically been one of the top teams this time of year but we can expect the Seahawks to bounce back here. They are coming off an 18-11 loss against Minnesota despite outgaining the Vikings by 69 total yards and with this being Game Three, we can expect a full out effort from the regulars as long as they are in the game which should be an extended amount. Under head coach Pete Carroll, the Seahawks are 12-1 ATS going up against an opponent that is coming off a win by three or more points. Dallas is coming off a 41-14 blowout win over Miami behind another huge game from rookie quarterback Dak Prescott. He has turned heads all over the league as he has gone 22-27 for 338 yards and four touchdowns while also rushing for a pair of touchdowns as well. It is unlikely we will see another effort like after he comes in for Tony Romo who played sparingly last week after missing the preseason opener. Dall will not be taking many chances with Romo this week either. The Cowboys will be without two key players as wide receiver Dez Bryant and defensive end Tyrone Crawford will not play against the Seahawks due to both suffering concussions earlier this week. Seattle falls into a great situation as we play against teams after scoring 30 points or more last game going up against an opponent after scoring three points or less in the first half last game. This situation is 36-14 ATS (72 percent) since 1993. 10* (254) Seattle Seahawks
|08-20-16||Saints +3 v. Texans||Top||9-16||Loss||-120||12 h 59 m||Show|
The Saints lost their preseason opener at New England last week by 12 points but it was a skewed final score. New Orleans won the yardage battle by seven total yards and the difference in the game was two defensive touchdowns by the Patriots. Conversely, Houston rolled in its opener over San Francisco by 11 points but that to was a skewed final score. The Texans were outgained by 144 total yards as they were gashed by the 49ers ground game, allowing 236 yards on 34 carries (6.9 ypc). While they should shore that up tonight, Houston is not overly concerned as injuries have taken their toll and right now is more worried about the offense as it managed just 265 yards of total offense. Tonight, three of five starting offensive linemen will be out and overall, just two starters from last season are in the starting lineup so the struggles could continue. New Orleans fall into a great contrarian turnover situation where we play on road teams where the line is +3 to -3 after a game where they forced one or fewer turnovers going up against an opponent after a game with a turnover margin of +2 or better. This situation is 27-8 ATS (77.1 percent) over the last 10 seasons. Additionally, New Orleans is 15-5 ATS in its last 20 road games after one or more consecutive losses against the spread while going 12-4 ATS as a road underdog under head coach Sean Payton. 10* (427) New Orleans Saints
|08-19-16||Cardinals +1.5 v. Chargers||Top||3-19||Loss||-106||35 h 56 m||Show|
Arizona and San Diego opened their preseason with blowout losses and the Cardinals are the team in better shape to recover. Arizona lost 31-10 to the Raiders but it was a very misleading final as it actually outgained Oakland by 61 total yards but turnovers were the difference. Late in the second half, Arizona punt returner J.J. Nelson fumbled at the 19-yard line and the Raiders scored on the next play. On the next possession, the Cardinals were intercepted on their first play which led to another short touchdown one minute later. San Diego lost 27-10 to Tennessee and that blowout loss matched the boxscore as the Chargers allowed 288 yards rushing in their loss to the Titans. The first string offense scored the lone touchdown of the game as the backups really struggled. Quarterbacks Kellen Clemens, Zach Mettenberger, and Mike Bercovici were all unproductive as they went a combined 13-29 while tossing a pair of picks. They will see the majority of the action once again and while they will face the backups from the Cardinals defense, Arizona has a lot of quality depth on defense. Under Bruce Arians, the Cardinals are 5-0-1 ATS on the road with the push coming two years ago in the meaningless final preseason game. Additionally, Arizona falls into a great situation as we play on underdogs or pickems that are coming off an upset loss as a home favorite going up against an opponent off a road loss. This situation is 27-9 ATS (75 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (417) Arizona Cardinals
|08-18-16||Vikings +3.5 v. Seahawks||Top||18-11||Win||100||33 h 12 m||Show|
Both Seattle and Minnesota opened the preseason with identical 17-16 victories. The Vikings hit the road for a second straight week but that is no issue in this matchup. With the win last week, Minnesota is now 9-1 straight up and 8-2 against the number under head coach Mike Zimmer so while Pete Carroll of the Seahawks is well documented as a coach that likes to win in the preseason, Zimmer is right there. The only loss came last season in Tennessee which happened to be the final game of the preseason where starters did not see any action. The Seahawks were fortunate to win last week as they trailed 16-9 with one last gasp but connected on a 37-yard hail mary and converted the two-point try to pull off the victory. Rookie quarterback Trevone Boykin looked extremely solid in his first game but we cannot expect a repeat performance of that. It was a running back by committee for Seattle last week as it looks for replacements for Marshawn Lynch. Thomas Rawls is the projected starter but he will not play in the preseason as he recovers from ankle surgery. The Vikings have some serious motivation here even though it is just the preseason. Minnesota suffered its worst loss of the season last year against the Seahawks 38-7 and then suffered that heartbreaking loss in the playoffs so even a preseason victory will be uplifting. While the overall preseason run for Minnesota has been outstanding, the Vikings have covered seven straight road games in the preseason and getting the hook on the field goal is excellent value. 10* (411) Minnesota Vikings
|08-18-16||Bears +4 v. Patriots||Top||22-23||Win||100||31 h 12 m||Show|
Chicago got shutout at home last week against Denver 22-0 which marked the first time that the Bears were shutout in the preseason since 1981. The offensive line really struggled as they allowed seven sacks while failing to get past the Broncos 40-yard line but the majority of those issues were from the reserves. The starters will see more time this week and they already have a solid head start. Like the Saints last week, the Bears have been at training camp for a week of joint-practices with the Patriots. While New England won last week over the Saints by 12 points, they were outgained by New Orleans by seven yards. The Patriots benefitted by two defensive touchdowns and it is those fluke plays that can lead to misleading final scores during the preseason. New England is the biggest favorite on the preseason board this week along with the Broncos which comes as no surprise as the public backs them even in the preseason as the Patriots are the top consensus of the week. The Bears fall into two solid situations. First, we play against home favorites after a win by 10 or more points going up against an opponent after scoring three points or less in the first half last game. This situation is 30-8 ATS (78.9 percent) since 1993. Second, we play on any NFL preseason away underdog of four points or less, that are coming off a straight up favorite loss by 10-points or more, going up against an opponent coming off a SU and ATS win. This situation is 24-5 ATS (82.8%) since 1980. 10* (407) Chicago Bears
|08-13-16||Cowboys v. Rams -5||Top||24-28||Loss||-107||9 h 2 m||Show|
This game has the highest pointspread of all games this week in the NFL but it is for good reason, where there us actually more than one. While preseason games are typically meaningless for the fans and teams for the most part, this is a huge game for the Rams. They are coming off another disappointing season where expectations were relatively high and have not had a winning season since 2003. This is the fifth season here for head coach Jeff Fisher and to say he is on the hot seat would be an understatement. The pressure is on to win and that starts in the preseason for this team as it needs to build confidence and some positive momentum going into the regular season where they open with back-to-back divisional games against San Francisco and Seattle. This will be one electric atmosphere as this is the first game in Los Angeles in 20 years and the Rams will be wearing throwback uniforms from the 60s not to mention this game being televised nationally on ESPN. Preseason NFL is the only sport where coaches actually expose their gameplans so getting the important information is vital. That is the case here for Dallas which is in a poor spot when it comes to the quarterback rotation. The Cowboys will be without starter Tony Romo and backup Kellen Moore and will be led by Dak Prescott and Jameill Showers, two players who have never taken an NFL snap. 10* (278) Los Angeles Rams
|08-12-16||Browns +3 v. Packers||Top||11-17||Loss||-105||10 h 23 m||Show|
The first year head coach is always a great angle to play in the preseason if given the right circumstances. I am a fan of playing first year head coaches in their first games as those guys want to infuse a new winning attitude into the team as it is usually the case that the previous season was far from a good one. This season, there are seven new head coaches including Hue Jackson taking over in Cleveland. He is a perfect fit here and while it may take a while in rebuilding the Browns, he wants to instill a winning way right away. Cleveland caught a break in this game with Green Bay having its first preseason game canceled last Sunday as teams playing in their second game compared to a team playing in its first usually has the edge. The Packers have had an extra week of training camp because they were supposed to have five games but that does not necessarily give them an advantage as both teams are playing a real opponent for the first time. The quarterback rotations are an edge on the Browns side as their top three all have NFL experience while that is not the case on the other side. Aaron Rodgers won't play for Green Bay as a precaution while backup Brett Hundley won't play either due to an injury. That leaves Joe Callahan, a prolific-passing quarterback the Packers signed over the offseason who will get a bunch of time but has yet to take an NFL snap. Fellow rookie Marquise Williams will also get significant playing time. 10* (269) Cleveland Browns
|08-11-16||Broncos v. Bears||Top||22-0||Loss||-103||30 h 20 m||Show|
Taking advantage of bad lines in the NFL regular season is obviously a good strategy but this can also be done during the NFL preseason. That is the case here as we are catching a smaller than anticipated line for the Bears which open their preseason with a home game against the defending Super Bowl Champions. Chicago has had a rough go of it the last couple years with a combined 11-21 record and losing double-digit games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1999 and 2000. This is an important season for John Fox and the winning needs to start in the preseason just like it did last year when Chicago went 3-1. Fox has the fourth most preseason wins of current head coaches and the Bears offense should show significant progress here as this is just the third time over the last eight seasons that there has not been a system change. As for Denver, the fact that it won the Super Bowl last season means nothing here let the line is telling us different. Additionally, this is a different team on offense with both quarterbacks no longer here so everyone will be thrown into the fire Thursday. Mark Sanchez is expected to play the first quarter, Trevor Siemian is expected to play the second quarter and Paxton Lynch is slated to play the second half. After dropping to a pickem, Chicago is the only Week 1 home team not favored. There is also the factor of revenge for Fox as he faces his former employer for a second time following a two-point loss here during the regular season. 10* (262) Chicago Bears
|08-11-16||Saints v. Patriots UNDER 39.5||Top||22-34||Loss||-110||30 h 50 m||Show|
Low scoring games are frequent in the NFL preseason for obvious reasons as defenses tend to be playing far ahead of the offenses and we will take advantage of that here in what is the highest total of the Week One schedule. While teams typically have no clue what they will have coming at them in the first preseason game, the Saints and Patriots will be more familiar than most after practicing together this week, the fourth time in six years they have done so in the preseason. After back-to-back 7-9 seasons, Saints head coach Sean Payton promised players it would be a more demanding camp, and he has delivered with longer sessions and several full-contact drills. That helps the defense get more prepared and after a dreadful season last year from that unit, it has taken a lot of the early emphasis in training camp. The defense continues to show improvement and going against the Patriots only seemed to back what had been seen at the beginning of training camp. Offensively, Drew Brees will play just one series or so and one thing to expect is the Saints to try to establish the run in the game, running back Mark Ingram said. On the other side, we will not be seeing much of Jimmy Garoppolo or Tom Brady as a vanilla offense is expected from New England. These teams met in the preseason last year and it was a high scoring game but it was not on opening week which is a big difference. Garoppolo had a big game against the Saints but with him starting the first four games this season, his action will be very limited. 10* Under (259) New Orleans Saints/(260) New England Patriots
|08-30-15||Houston Texans v. New Orleans Saints -3||Top||27-13||Loss||-125||99 h 25 m||Show|
The natives could be getting restless in New Orleans. After losing five straight home games to end the regular season last year, the Saints blew a 21-0 lead against New England last week and ended up losing by two points on a Patriots field goal with 14 seconds remaining. Head coach Sean Payton said he was happy with the effort as the Saints came out strong as opposed to the first game against Baltimore where they came out very flat. Still, with this being the last home game of the preseason, they want to win and snap this streak before the regular season begins. Additionally, the third game is most important and Payton does take it serious as his teams are 7-1 straight up and against the number in the dress rehearsal week. After defeating San Francisco in Week One, Houston lost at home against Denver last week and hits the road for the first time here. That is a big edge for New Orleans as is the fact head coach Bill O'Brien has already named Brian Hoyer as the starting quarteback over Ryan Mallett. That is big since we won't see either one going all out and we can expect to see some more action from Tom Savage. This is a big game for the city itself as it takes place one day after the 10 years anniversary of Hurricane Katina and if ever there is a time to win for the city, this is it. New Orleans is now 11-2 ATS in its last 13 preseason games against teams coming off a loss and we can expect that run to continue here. 10* (280) New Orleans Saints
|08-29-15||Indianapolis Colts +1.5 v. St Louis Rams||Top||24-14||Win||100||102 h 45 m||Show|
The Colts are off to a 0-2 start to the preseason which may not mean much for some teams but this is getting old for Indianapolis. It has now lost seven straight preseason games and while the records do not carry over into the regular season, what has happened this year is troubling. Both losses have been blowouts while the Colts have been outgained by a combined 189 total yards. With next week being the final game of the preseason, starters will not play so this is the final shot to turn things around heading into the regular season and the opening road game against the Bills. The talent of this team will show through here. Not only are the Colts' most talented positions involved heavily in the passing game (quarterback, wide receiver and tight end), but the team also has incredible depth at those pass-catching positions, especially versatile depth which is important in the preseason. St. Louis is also off to a 0-2 start but it has been playing better, getting outgained by just eight combined yards. Even though the Rams are 0-2 and are playing their first home game, it is a situation that heavily favors the Colts. First, we play on underdogs or pickems coming off a loss by 10 points or more as a favorite, winless in the preseason. This situation is 34-13 ATS (72.3 percent) since 1993. Additionally, we play on any road team that is 0-2 where the line is between +/-2 where the team lost at home by scoring 17 or fewer points. This situation is a perfect 11-0 ATS since 1983. 10* (273) Indianapolis Colts
|08-29-15||Cleveland Browns +3 v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Top||31-7||Win||100||80 h 9 m||Show|
We won with Tampa Bay on Monday as it defeated Cincinnati rather handily and snapped an 11-game losing streak at home so that goal has now been attained. We are now going against the Buccaneers this week as the situation this time around is much tougher. First off, Tampa Bay is playing on a short week following the Monday night game while Cleveland is will have four extra days of preparation time and rest which is a massive advantage. The Browns blew a late lead against Buffalo last Thursday to fall to 0-2 in the preseason and going back to last season, they have dropped seven consecutive games so even though we are still in the preseason, a win is needed for Cleveland. The Browns will be plenty motivated here mostly due to quarterback Josh McCown facing his former team where he played 11 games a season ago. Following Thursday's game, Browns coach Mike Pettine reiterated that McCown, who threw interceptions on Cleveland's first two drives, was firmly the No. 1 so there won't be any pressure here although he does need to play better. Cleveland falls into a couple great situations. First, we play on road teams after allowing 14 points or less last game going up against an opponent after leading in their previous game by 14 or more points at the half. This situation is 24-6 ATS (80 percent) since 1993. Second, we play against favorites after a win by 14 or more points going up against an opponent after scoring three points or less in the first half last game. This situation is 22-4 ATS (84.6 percent) since 1993. 10* (265) Cleveland Browns
|08-28-15||New England Patriots v. Carolina Panthers||Top||17-16||Loss||-120||57 h 41 m||Show|
Carolina has opened the preseason with a pair of one-point victories over Buffalo in Week One and Miami in Week Two. While that may seem to make this a good spot to go against the Panthers, it is the opposite effect based on who they are playing. With the defending Super Bowl champions coming to town, this is a big game for the players and fans, preseason or not. In addition, Carolina went to New England last preseason in this same dress rehearsal week and were pounded by the Patriots 30-7. But in fact, it really was a different scenario as head coach Ron Rivera gave his starters their most extensive playing time of the preseason against the Chiefs in the prior week in which the Panthers ended up winning. So now Carolina will be using their starters more this week and playing with revenge where they are 4-1 ATS at home under Rivera. The Patriots shook off a loss against the Packers opening week with a victory against the Saints last week as they overcame a 21-0 deficit to pull out the 26-24 win. That is good enough for them as the team played well and now it is time to just remain healthy. On the other side, Carolina's first team offense has scored just seven points in seven possessions so it will be out to improve upon that. Quarterback Cam Newton and the first string offense will play at least the first half and possibly go into the second half after making halftime adjustments. 10* (252) Carolina Panthers
|08-24-15||Cincinnati Bengals v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -2.5||Top||11-25||Win||100||14 h 2 m||Show|
The Buccaneers dropped their preseason opener at Minnesota 26-16 but it was definitely a tough spot. They started a rookie quarterback in his first ever start and at the same time, they faced a Vikings team that had already played the previous week in the Hall of Fame game. Jameis Winston completed nine of his 19 pass attempts for 131 yards and an interception and while he struggled early, he settled into a rhythm and made a few impressive plays, including capping off a successful two-minute drill with an eight-yard touchdown run. Coach Lovie Smith plans to play his starters at least a quarter, although Winston may wind up going a little longer after playing a full half last week. Cincinnati won at home against the Giants, outgaining New York by 208 total yards but heading on the road now puts them in a tough position in a game that is big for the home team. We often talk about teams trying to bring in a winning attitude during the preseason and Tampa Bay is one of those teams that wants and needs to win at home. The Buccaneers have dropped 11 straight games at home including preseason while Smith is 0-10 at home since coming here. That is all the motivation we need right there. 10* (432) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
|08-23-15||Green Bay Packers v. Pittsburgh Steelers -2.5||Top||19-24||Win||100||49 h 55 m||Show|
The Steelers are off to a 0-2 start in the preseason after losing to Minnesota in the Hall of Fame game and then on the road in Jacksonville last week. This marks the first home game for Pittsburgh and being winless, we can expect an all out effort for players and coaches to get into the win column. The Packers took care of New England last week and while quarterback Aaron Rodgers played a full quarter, don't expect much more this week as starting left tackle David Bakhtiari is all but officially scratched from the game, and, historically, once the blindside protector leaves the field, so does Green Bay's starting quarterback. We will see more from Ben Roethlisberger who has thrown just three passes but the best news is after that, veteran Brad Gradkowski will see time he took the most snaps of any signal caller on Thursday and the most he's had all camp, after spending much of it on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Under head coach Mike Tomlin, the Steelers are a perfect 3-0 in their first home game of the preseason if they are coming off a road loss prior to that. That remains perfect after this week. 10* (426) Pittsburgh Steelers
|08-22-15||Baltimore Ravens +3.5 v. Philadelphia Eagles||Top||17-40||Loss||-115||58 h 19 m||Show|
This is a great scheduling spot for the Ravens and we are getting a great number on top of that. The Eagles are coming off a big win over Indianapolis on Sunday night as they defeated the Colts 36-10 but now they are working on a very short week of preparation which makes the quick turnaround a big disadvantage. Baltimore meanwhile is coming off a win over New Orleans last Thursday and the extra time off here definitely benefits them in this case. The Ravens came into town early for three joint practices starting Wednesday and that gives them a shot at working against the fast paced Eagles offense prior to the game Saturday. The starters will be challenged, and the depth of this team will be tested as well. That is exactly what you want in these preseason games. The Ravens starters figure to play the entire first quarter on Saturday and were sharp in their first action against the Saints. Many outlets have the Ravens as a 3.5-point underdog which is always a big number advantage but as head coach John Harbaugh has proven in the past, the points may not be needed as Baltimore has gone 9-4 ATS in 13 games as an underdog while winning 10 of those games outright. 10* (411) Baltimore Ravens
|08-21-15||Seattle Seahawks +2 v. Kansas City Chiefs||Top||13-14||Win||100||59 h 23 m||Show|
Seattle is coming off a rare loss last week and we say rare because head coach Pete Carroll tries to win every time out even when the games are considering meaningless. Even though the loss was by just two points, the Seahawks were outgained by 135 yards at home, certainly not the way they wanted to open the season after last year's Super Bowl disaster. Carroll takes opponent pretty serious as well as he is an incredible 13-1 ATS in his last 14 games against an opponent coming off a win and that is far from a coincidence. After a loss last season against Denver in the preseason opener, Seattle ripped San Diego in Week Two. Kansas City defeated Arizona last week 34-19 which was a surprising win as the Chiefs are typically a go against teams in the preseason whether it be with former coaches Todd Haley and Romeo Crennel or current head coach Andy Reid. He didn't care much about the preseason while with the Eagles and that is the case here as well. Going back, the Chiefs are a putrid 0-12 ATS in their second preseason game and while this is the first home game, Seattle will put more importance on it to win. 10* (407) Seattle Seahawks
|08-20-15||Detroit Lions v. Washington Redskins -2.5||Top||17-21||Win||100||35 h 20 m||Show|
Detroit is coming off a dominating performance in its preseason opener against the Jets as it outgained New York by 305 total yards thanks to a defense that allowed just 123 total yards while the offense was efficient and balanced with 428 total yards. That makes the Lions a prime target to go against on Thursday especially in its first road game of the preseason. The Lions have failed to cover five of their last six road game. Washington is also coming off a solid performance in its preseason opener where it defeated Cleveland by just a field goal but outgained the Browns by 198 yards. The Redskins now head home looking for winning attitude as the last time they played at FedEx Field, they were trounced by the Cowboys 44-17 in last year's season finale. Washington went just 4-12 a season ago but the preseason success has been prevalent even going back to the Mike Shanahan days as the Redskins have won and covered six straight preseason home openers. While that may seem meaningless to some, a team like the Redskins that has struggled for a while now, it is important to win even the games that do not count going forward. 10* (402) Washington Redskins
|08-15-15||Tampa Bay Buccaneers v. Minnesota Vikings OVER 36||Top||16-26||Win||100||103 h 8 m||Show|
We won with the Vikings/Steelers under in the Hall of Fame Game but we will go the opposite way this week based on that low scoring game and the bounce angle. Offense was hard to come by last Sunday night with just 17 total points scored but I like the chances of the Minnesota offense to show more life this week with that one game under its belt. The starters are expected to play more and they will be able take advantage of a weak Tampa Bay secondary. The Buccaneers are playing their first preseason game and are in a similar situation as both Pittsburgh and Minnesota last week but that offense has steadily been improving since camp opened. Jameis Winston has already shown improvement in practice, throwing 14 touchdowns and just two interceptions over a two-day period. Facing a real defense for the first time may show signs of growing pains but he has lack of confidence. We saw a similar scenario last season where Minnesota went under in its first game of the preseason against Oakland and the following week flew over the total against Arizona with 58 total points being scored. This is a very common trend in the preseason for many teams. Many will point to the fact that Tampa Bay went 4-0 to the under during the preseason last year but that is meaningless here and if anything, helps with the contrarian value. Fluke plays such as interception or fumble returns for touchdowns are prevalent during the preseason and all it can take is one of those to push a game over although that may not be needed here. 10* Over (275) Tampa Bay Buccaneers/(276) Minnesota Vikings
|08-14-15||St Louis Rams v. Oakland Raiders||Top||3-18||Win||100||107 h 25 m||Show|
The first year head coach is always a great angle to play in the preseason if given the right circumstances. I am a fan of playing first year head coaches in their first games as those guys want to infuse a new winning attitude into the team as it is usually the case that the previous season was far from a good one. Many are expecting Oakland to be one of the most improved teams in the NFL as new head coach Jack Del Rio brings with him a winning attitude and the desire to succeed. The Raiders upgraded their talent so now it is up to them to start winning. They ended the season 3-3 following a 0-10 start so winning early is big and in this case, that includes the preseason. Camp has gone exceptionally well thus far and the goal is to keep that going into the first game. The Rams are also expected to be a better team this season or at least are projected to by some. St. Louis went 6-10 last season and remains in one of the toughest divisions in football so it won't be easy. Getting quarterback Nick Foles from the Eagles was the big move and keeping him healthy is a must as he is injury prone just like his predecessor Sam Bradford. He is expected to play just one series according to reports and like Oakland, there will be no gameplanning. Head coach Jeff Fisher, long known as a preseason coach that likes to win, is 0-3 in his three preseason openers since coming to St. Louis. 10* (272) Oakland Raiders
|08-14-15||Carolina Panthers v. Buffalo Bills -3||Top||25-24||Loss||-110||104 h 16 m||Show|
The first year head coach is always a great angle to play in the preseason if given the right circumstances. I am a fan of playing first year head coaches in their first games as those guys want to infuse a new winning attitude into the team as it is usually the case that the previous season was far from a good one. In Buffalo's case, it has been much longer as the last postseason appearance was in 1999 and the Music City Miracle. The surprising departure of Doug Marrone led to the hiring of a high profile coach in Rex Ryan and expectations are high. There is talent all over the place and they are thinking postseason so getting off to a big start in front of the home crowd is huge. Another big factor in favoring Buffalo is because of the three-way battle at quarterback between Matt Cassel, Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manual. Because of this, you will see full effort from each and the playbook gets opened up a little bit more than normal. Despite a 7-8-1 record last year, Carolina won the NFC South for the second straight season and while it certainly has to improve, there is not a whole lot of motivation for winning now as the health of the team come September is most important. Most notably quarterback Cam Newton. The defense that has ranked in the top 10 the past three years has been way ahead of the offense so far and pass protection has been the biggest issue thus far. 10* (266) Buffalo Bills
|08-13-15||Miami Dolphins v. Chicago Bears||Top||10-27||Win||100||81 h 26 m||Show|
The first year head coach is always a great angle to play in the preseason if given the right circumstances. I am a fan of playing first year head coaches in their first games as those guys want to infuse a new winning attitude into the team as it is usually the case that the previous season was far from a good one. The Marc Trestman experiment in Chicago did not work as he was let go after two seasons following a 13-19 record and not being able to advance the Bears into the postseason. John Fox takes over on the sidelines after mutually parting ways with Denver despite being only the second head coach in the history of the NFL to win four straight division titles since joining a new team. His goal is to improve the horrible defense in Chicago and try to light a spark under quarterback Jay Cutler. With this game taking place at home, he would like nothing more than to win for the fans. He told ESPN 1000 the starters will play approximately one quarter against Miami, but left open the possibility of the first-team working into the second quarter. The Dolphins have playoff expectations this season after consecutive 8-8 records the last two years. They have more vested in quarterback Ryan Tannehill so keeping him healthy for the regular season is the main concern. Typically home teams are favored by around three points the first week and the fact we are getting Chicago at a pickem is an added bonus. 10* (260) Chicago Bears
|08-09-15||Pittsburgh Steelers v. Minnesota Vikings UNDER 34.5||Top||3-14||Win||100||226 h 59 m||Show|
The Hall of Fame Game is typically a very low scoring game as in this stage of the preseason, the defenses are a step ahead of the offense. Six of the last eight Hall of Fame games have stayed under the total, including three of the last four and while those past outcomes do not predict future results, it does show how defenses are more in sync early in the preseason. Going back to 1984, only seven of the 30 HOF games have eclipsed 40 points and a lot of that is due to fluke plays. This includes an inception return for a touchdown taking place in each of the last five games that have gone over 40 points so simply avoiding that gives us a great opportunity to cash in a low scoring game. The 30 games have seen an average of just over 32 ppg and 13 of the 30 have seem totals of 27 of less points scored. The big news out of Pittsburgh is how potent the offense is expected to be this season but don't expect to see that from the Steelers here as a vanilla offense will be on the field for the majority of this game. The same can be expected from Minnesota and there has not been a lot of prep time for either team as according to the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and its players association, teams can't hold training-camp practices more than two weeks before their first preseason game. It may be boring to watch but the NFL is here and we should see yet another very low scoring game right out of the gates. 10* Under (241) Pittsburgh Steelers/(242) Minnesota Vikings
|08-28-14||Arizona Cardinals v. San Diego Chargers UNDER 39||Top||9-12||Win||100||31 h 47 m||Show|
We waited until late in the week to release the final week of the preseason to try and get as much information as possible as to what a lot of the decisions are going to be in these normally meaningless games to end the exhibition year. There are a lot of factors that go into these final games and motivation is at the top of the list. This comes down to the coaching philosophy and how they want to handle the playing time of the regulars as well as the importance of a win heading into the regular season. Arizona travels to San Diego for the final preseason game of the year for both sides and it is a very interesting dynamic in play because these two teams open the regular season playing each other on Monday night. Which team will be out to win more? It really doesn't even matter here as the big plan for both sides is to keep this game as vanilla as possible and not give up too much away on offense to give the other team an edge heading into Week One. That is the biggest factor in this play. The Cardinals' starters won't play Thursday at San Diego head coach Bruce Arians said. Also, he announced on Monday that fourth-round draft choice Logan Thomas would start and play the entire game against San Diego. "You stay generic," Arians said. "We'll keep it as simple as possible." On the other side, the same holds true as the Chargers starters are unlikely to see action either. All of this adds up to a low scoring game. 10* Under (131) Arizona Cardinals/(132) San Diego Chargers
|08-28-14||NY Jets +3 v. Philadelphia Eagles||Top||7-37||Loss||-120||28 h 47 m||Show|
We waited until late in the week to release the final week of the preseason to try and get as much information as possible as to what a lot of the decisions are going to be in these normally meaningless games to end the exhibition year. There are a lot of factors that go into these final games and motivation is at the top of the list. This comes down to the coaching philosophy and how they want to handle the playing time of the regulars as well as the importance of a win heading into the regular season. The Jets are coming off a loss to the Giants last week after opening the preseason 2-0 so we will see some motivation to get back into the win column before the regular season. Rex Ryan does not play his starters in the final preseason game and that won't change here. That is fine as according to Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, the Eagles' starters will not play in team's final preseason game either. Kelly also announced that a few key backup players will be sitting out as well. Those players veteran include running back Darren Sproles and backup quarterback Mark Sanchez. Second year quarterback Matt Barkley gets the start against New York. The Jets have two great preseason situations on their side. First, we play against any team with a winning percentage between .250 and .400 after one or more consecutive straight up wins, playing a team with a winning record. This situation is 26-6 ATS (81.2 percent) since 1993. Second, we play on any NFL preseason road underdog of 3.5 points or less, coming off a loss by 10 points or more as a favorite, playing an opponent coming off a straight up and ATS win. This situation is 23-4 ATS (85.2 percent) since 1980. 10* (109) New York Jets
|08-28-14||Kansas City Chiefs +3 v. Green Bay Packers||Top||14-34||Loss||-100||28 h 46 m||Show|
We waited until late in the week to release the final week of the preseason to try and get as much information as possible as to what a lot of the decisions are going to be in these normally meaningless games to end the exhibition year. There are a lot of factors that go into these final games and motivation is at the top of the list. This comes down to the coaching philosophy and how they want to handle the playing time of the regulars as well as the importance of a win heading into the regular season. This will be the fifth straight season that the two teams meet in the fourth and final preseason game with the teams splitting the first four meetings. Since the start of the offseason program in April, Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien have been competing for the top backup job and that will continue into this game. Even though they are veterans and many will think they have an edge based on experience, the fourth preseason game presents its challenges for experienced quarterbacks like these two because they'll be trying to direct an offense filled with players trying to make one final impression for an NFL job. For the Chiefs, quarterback Chase Daniel will start against Green Bay followed by Aaron Murray and Tyler Bray. Not exactly prime options but all have looked good in the preseason and all three of them have quarterback passer rating higher than starter Alex Smith. The Chiefs have two great preseason situations on their side. First, we play on underdogs or pickems with a losing record coming off an upset loss as a home favorite. This situation is 49-20 ATS (71 percent) over the last 10 seasons including a perfect 3-0 ATS this preseason. Second, we play on any NFL preseason road underdog of 3.5 points or less, coming off a loss by 10 points or more as a favorite, playing an opponent coming off a straight up and ATS win. This situation is 23-4 ATS (85.2 percent) since 1980. 10* (111) Kansas City Chiefs
|08-23-14||New Orleans Saints v. Indianapolis Colts -1||Top||23-17||Loss||-125||104 h 51 m||Show|
The Colts are coming off a devastating loss against the Giants and preseason or not, they need to recover from that prior to when the real games count. Indianapolis led New York 26-0 in the fourth quarter only to give up 27 unanswered points and lose by a point in front of the home crowd. It was pretty ironic considering the Colts won their last game at home thanks to a huge comeback against Kansas City in the playoffs last season. Indianapolis is now 0-2 and this is the final home game of the preseason and it comes at a good time when the starters will see extended playing time. Coach Chuck Pagano called the effort against the Giants unacceptable so we will no doubt see full effort on Saturday. "Losing is never okay," he said. "Preseason, regular season, unacceptable. We will never get used to that." The Saints are 2-0 despite losing the yardage battle in both games and while they will be one of the top teams in the league this season, catching them undefeated and playing on the road is a great spot to go against them. After Sean Payton's interview following indoor practices on Monday, it sounds like Drew Brees is going to return to action and play in Saturday's matchup but the question remains how long he will play. The fact that Brees is expected to play on Saturday is actually good news for the Colts as it gives the defense an opportunity to face a top caliber quarterback. He has been out with an abdominal injury so we likely will not see him too much as to not risk further injury. Here, we play on teams where the line is +3 to -3 after one or more consecutive losses against the spread going up against an opponent after two or more consecutive wins against the spread. This situation is 29-10 ATS (74.4 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (272) Indianapolis Colts
|08-23-14||Tampa Bay Buccaneers +3 v. Buffalo Bills||Top||27-14||Win||100||102 h 18 m||Show|
After dropping its last three games last season, Tampa Bay has opened the Lovie Smith era with a pair of preseason losses and with this being the most important game during the exhibition season, look for the Buccaneers to come out and get a much needed win to boost the confidence. Tampa Bay has dropped both games by six points but it has shown signs of improvement, especially on the offensive side of the ball despite not showing up on the scoreboard. The starters are expected to play into the second half in Buffalo. The Bills are playing their fourth game after a 1-2 start and this is the first home game for them this preseason so that will certainly be a big boost. All of their games have been close but the offense is still a major concern as the first team has yet to find the endzone. Like Tampa Bay, the starters will likely play into the second half but unlike Tampa Bay, the need to win is not there as right now it is more about tightening things up. More yards have been gained by the first-team offense each week, but if a touchdown isn't scored this week, many will wonder how much, if any progress, the unit has made this offseason. Tampa Bay also falls into a great preseason situation where we play on underdogs or pickems that are coming off an upset loss as a home favorite, with a losing record. This situation is 46-20 ATS (69.7 percent) over the last 10 seasons. Additionally, Tampa Bay is 9-1 ATS in its last 10 games after two or more consecutive ATS losses while Buffalo is 4-13 ATS in its last 17 home games after one or more consecutive ATS losses. 10* (263) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
|08-22-14||Chicago Bears +7.5 v. Seattle Seahawks||Top||6-34||Loss||-120||86 h 43 m||Show|
Some people are going to look at this game and see that Seattle is playing at home and coming off a convincing 41-14 win over San Diego and instantly take the Seahawks. We know that Seattle is the defending Super Bowl Champions and at home, it is nearly unbeatable but we cannot forget this is the preseason. This is the week that teams will play their starters more than any other week but in the Seahawks case, there is not much to play for here as they are in excellent shape heading into the regular season so their goal is to find some rhythm for a while and then just stay healthy. The Seahawks are 11-1 ATS in their last 12 preseason games and that too is adding to the value as there is no way a quality team should be getting a touchdown or more in a preseason game. The Bears are 2-0 and while both wins came at home, that actually helps us here. Chicago is coming off a disappointing season with an 8-8 record and missed the playoffs for a third straight season. Going 3-5 on the road last season did not help matters so this game presents a great opportunity to rise to the occasion before the actual regular season starts and they will use this one as just that. During the regular season, this may not be a play based on the situation but we take advantage here. Additionally, we play against favorites of 3.5 to 10 points after one or more consecutive straight up wins going up against an opponent after two or more consecutive straight up wins. This situation is 26-7 ATS (78.8 percent) since 1993. 10* (261) Chicago Bears
|08-18-14||Cleveland Browns +3 v. Washington Redskins||Top||23-24||Win||100||10 h 9 m||Show|
I mentioned about the first year head coach being a great angle to play in the preseason if given the right circumstances. So far, we have cashed all three games using this angle (Redskins, Titans in Week One and Texans in week Two) and we look to cap off this week with another winner in this situation. Washington cashed for us last week with a win over the Patriots getting the Jay Gruden era off to a good start. The Browns opened the preseason with a loss against Detroit but the Lions were also debuting a new head coach in Jim Caldwell. While Browns head coach Mike Pettine opened his regime with a loss, I expect his team to bounce back with a victory tonight. Obviously the big story is the Cleveland quarterback situation with Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel competing for the starting job which will be announced after this game. But there is a lot more to it than that and the Browns should have a clear edge tonight based on what the coaches have said recently. Pettine said he wants his starters to play "in the neighborhood" of a half, yet Gruden plans to have his first-teamers on the field for only a quarter or so. The Redskins do have an advantage with three quarterbacks that have had starting experience but that is negated on the other side with the starting quarterback battle going on so the Browns will no doubt open things up more than Washington will. That gives Cleveland the advantage here and going back to last season, it has lost eight straight games so winning this game is more of a priority than it is for the Redskins. 10* (431) Cleveland Browns
|08-17-14||Kansas City Chiefs v. Carolina Panthers -2.5||Top||16-28||Win||100||8 h 27 m||Show|
According to reports this weekend, the Panthers will be using this game as their main dress rehearsal as opposed t next week. Head coach Ron Rivera plans to give his starters their most extensive playing time of the preseason against the Chiefs. That type of workload is typical of the third exhibition, but the short turnaround before the Aug. 22 exhibition at New England prompted Rivera to break from tradition. Quarterback Cam Newton may not go as far as the rest of the starters but he is slated to go at least one quarter and possibly more depending on how his ankle responds. "He'll play the first quarter, and we'll evaluate the whole situation and set of circumstances. If we're playing well, doing some good things, the offensive line is shoring up, we'll continue with him into the second," Rivera said. As for Kansas City, Andy Reid announced Alex Smith would play the entire first half Sunday night and either Chase Daniel, Tyler Bray or rookie Aaron Murray could open the second half. Dwayne Bowe will not play tonight because of an injury and while the offense looked sharp at times last week, the defense was a concern and will be again this week. With Carolina coming off a loss last week and using this one to actually gameplan, look for the Panthers to be the team that is more hungry for the victory. 10* (430) Carolina Panthers
|08-16-14||Atlanta Falcons v. Houston Texans -1||Top||7-32||Win||100||124 h 43 m||Show|
Houston is coming off a loss in its first preseason game of the season and it wasn't pretty as the Texans were thumped in Arizona 32-0. The score was just as bad as the numbers show as Houston was outgained 407-172, the Cardinals offensive output being the second best of the week while the Texans offensive effort was the worst of the week. Last week, I mentioned about the first year head coach being a great angle to play in the preseason if given the right circumstances. Both of the games we played on came through last week and overall, new head coaches were 4-3 but two squared off against each other. So basically the two new head coaches that did not win when facing a returning coach were Lovie Smith of Tampa Bay and Bill O'Brien of the Texans. Heading back to Houston for the first home game, expect O'Brien to have his team ready. While teams want to get a winning attitude following a poor season, the Texans are at the front of the line as they have lost 15 straight games going back to last season after a 2-0 start and this includes seven straight losses at home. Winning back the home fans is essential even if it is preseason. The Falcons meanwhile opened its preseason with a 16-10 win over Miami. They outgained the Dolphins by 143 total yards so things went very well and there is not a lot of urgency going into this one following a solid effort. Houston also falls into a good situation where we play on preseason favorites after a game where they forced no turnovers. This situation is 27-9 ATS (75 percent) over the last five seasons. 10* (424) Houston Texans
|08-15-14||Detroit Lions v. Oakland Raiders OVER 39||Top||26-27||Win||100||81 h 2 m||Show|
Detroit and Oakland are both coming off closely contested, low scoring games in their preseason openers. Because of the low scoring games, we will be looking at the over in this one with a lot of that based on what we didn't see last week. The Lions and Browns scored a total of 25 points while the Raiders and Vikings managed a mere 16 points so while praise may be given to all of those defenses, the offenses were far from what we are to expect. And we will see a difference this week. Oakland starting quarterback Matt Schaub played three series last week and did not look very good as he was 3-7 for 21 yards and led the team to only one first down. Of Schaub's four incomplete passes, three were dropped by his receivers, two that were drive killers. Having practiced one more week should have him and his receivers in better shape this week and he should see more reps as well with the word being of the first unit playing past the first quarter and maybe even longer. The Lions meanwhile put up only 13 points with the first team offense seeing very limited action. With a new coaching staff in place, Detroit has new offensive packages and while it may not have showed last week, word is that Matt Stafford has been great during camp, not tossing a single pick during meaningful team drills. Like Schaub, we will see more of Stafford this week. We are catching a good number in my opinion as it has not moved from last week's numbers much and Detroit has a great system on its side. We play the over involving road teams after scoring 14 points or less last game going up against an opponent after scoring nine points or less last game. This situation is 32-12 (72.7 percent) to the over since 1993. 10* Over (407) Detroit Lions/(408) Oakland Raiders
|08-09-14||Green Bay Packers v. Tennessee Titans -1||Top||16-20||Win||100||37 h 23 m||Show|
The first year head coach is always a great angle to play in the preseason if given the right circumstances. I am a fan of playing first year head coaches in their first games as those guys want to infuse a new winning attitude into the team as it is usually the case that the previous season was far from a good one. Tennessee hired Ken Whisenhunt as its new head coach, taking over for Mike Munchak who strung together back-to-back losing seasons and failed to make the playoffs in his three seasons. Whisenhunt brings in solid head coaching experience and he actually has a lot of talent to work with. Like with any team bringing in a new coach also means bringing a new winning attitude and we will see that on display. The Titans worked for approximately 90 minutes Saturday night as a partial tuneup for their preseason opener when they host the Packers. "It was good to be here," Whisenhunt said following practice. "There are always a lot of glitches that come up that you're unaware of. I think we will feel a lot better when we come in here next Saturday night, just as far as the routine goes." Green bay meanwhile is coming off a another NFC North title even though the season ended earlier than hoped, don't expect the Packers to get too crazy in the preseason. Losing Aaron Rodgers to a broken collarbone was devastating so don't expect to see much of him here. The Packers are not concerned with the victories and Green Bay has failed to cover its last four preseason openers so the sense of urgency for this team will not come until Week Three during the dress rehearsal for the starters. 10* (280) Tennessee Titans
|08-07-14||New England Patriots v. Washington Redskins +1||Top||6-23||Win||100||12 h 4 m||Show|
The first year head coach is always a great angle to play in the preseason if given the right circumstances. I am a fan of playing first year head coaches in their first games as those guys want to infuse a new winning attitude into the team as it is usually the case that the previous season was far from a good one. After making the playoffs in 2012, last season was a disaster for Washington as it finished 3-13 including losses in eight straight games. This led to Mike Shanahan leaving and the Redskins hiring Jay Gruden as the new head coach and he is expected to instill the team with the confidence that it once had but lost last year. Confidence comes with winning and preseason or not, winning these games can boost the spirit of a team pretty quickly. As for the Patriots, they have in fact won their last five preseason openers but matchups have had a lot to do with that and in reality, they could care less about the preseason as their goal is to look at young talent for depth and most importantly, just staying healthy. These teams have met this week on the practice field as they held joint practices and that certainly was a big edge for Washington coming into a new season with all new different schemes so it gave it a chance to see where it stands. Gruden's hope is that three days of joint practice with the Patriots heading into the teams' preseason opener Thursday at FedEx Field will challenge his players anew. As he put it, working alongside and against the Patriots will give his players a chance to state their case for roster spots. 10* (254) Washington Redskins
|08-29-13||Baltimore Ravens v. St Louis Rams -6.5||Top||21-24||Loss||-110||30 h 38 m||Show|
This line may seem out of whack but I feel it is very justified as this game means more to St. Louis than it does for the Ravens. Following last week's 27-26 loss at Denver, the Rams are 0-3 this preseason. Head coach Jeff Fisher said Tuesday that while the team indeed wants to win every game it plays, there's more to the preseason. "Yeah, I mean you set out to win each and every preseason game," Fisher said. "Sometimes, it doesn't happen. So that's our focus - on winning the game. In addition to that, we still need to continue to evaluate players and finish up strong, work on a few areas." Fisher said he and his coaching staff haven't decided on who will play and how much, but those decisions come down to a simple formula. "We're going to play the guys who need to play. We're going to let them play," Fisher said. "Then, if we feel guys have had adequate snaps throughout the preseason, we may back down a little bit." That could mean more snaps for some of the starters and that is a big deal in the fourth and final preseason game. We saw it last year with the Rams in a very similar scenario. They were coming off a one-point loss at Dallas where they were considerably outgained which is similar to what happened last week at Denver. They then hosted the Ravens and went on to win 31-17 with the starters seeing some significant action. On the other side, Baltimore is coming off a loss against Carolina but that was due to turnovers as it outgained the Panthers by 184 total yards. The Ravens are feeling pretty good at this point and few, if any, starters will not be seeing action this week. Another reason for that is the fact that Baltimore is opening the regular season just seven days later at Denver so rest is already coming into play. Look for the Rams to go all out for the win and get some momentum heading into the regular season instead of going in winless at 0-4. 10* (120) St. Louis Rams
|08-25-13||New Orleans Saints +2.5 v. Houston Texans||Top||31-23||Win||100||54 h 40 m||Show|
The Saints are coming off a disappointing 7-9 season a year ago as they were clearly impacted by the season-long suspension of head coach Sean Payton. Many are expecting a turnaround this season and the biggest goal right now is getting that winning attitude back. So far, so good as New Orleans has started the preseason 2-0 and while these games can be considered meaningless to some teams, they are important to the Saints. Now playing the third game where the starters will see the most action, the winning needs to continue. Quarterback Drew Brees was outstanding last week as he led the team on five first-half scoring drives, completing 14-of-18 passes for over 200 yards. The challenge will be tougher this week against a solid Texans defense but he should flourish once again. On the other side, the Saints are ranked second in total defense this preseason and have 11 sacks, tied with San Francisco for most in the league. They have a new scheme, new attitude and new coordinator in Rob Ryan and the plan that Payton put forth in January seems to be working already. The Saints will face a potent Texans offense but one that will be without Arian Foster and we should expect the same aggressive style that they used against Oakland. Both Houston and New Orleans come into this game with 2-0 records and while this is the first road game for the Saints, they are not at a disadvantage. The line is short which is putting the majority of the betting action on the Texans but New Orleans has shown the ability to get it done on the road as under Payton, it is 11-3 ATS in 14 preseason road games. Additionally, the Saints have a powerful league-wide situation on their side as we play on teams that are coming off two consecutive home wins and are undefeated in the preseason. This situation is 29-9 ATS (76.3 percent) since 1993. 10* (279) New Orleans Saints
|08-24-13||Cleveland Browns v. Indianapolis Colts -2.5||Top||6-27||Win||100||74 h 18 m||Show|
The Colts responded to owner Jim Irsay calling them out following a dreadful performance against the Bills in their preseason opener by defeating the Giants on the road this past weekend. Irsay apologized to the fans for the team's "crap performance" against the Bills on Twitter and players took that pretty serious against New York, playing a solid game, especially on the defensive side of things. Indianapolis has a defensive stop on fourth down, six sacks, an interception, no touchdowns allowed and nine points given up on four redzone trips by the Giants. Turning the defense is the biggest goal this season as it was not surprising the Colts struggled defensively last season. They switched from the 4-3 scheme used by the previous regime to Chuck Pagano
|08-23-13||Seattle Seahawks v. Green Bay Packers +2.5||Top||17-10||Loss||-110||51 h 30 m||Show|
We played against Green Bay in its first preseason game and it was shutout at home against Arizona. We then backed the Packers last week as they were able to rebound with a win against St. Louis and they dominated more than the final score indicated. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers played three series after appearing on just one in the preseason opener against Arizona and led the offense into St. Louis territory on all three possessions. He completed 10 of 12 passes for 134 yards for a 113.2 passer rating. The defense was even better as they did not allow any points until the Rams scored on a 26-yard touchdown pass with less than a minute remaining. The Packers limited St. Louis to just 52 rushing yards on 22 carries (2.4 ypc) and the Rams converted only 1 of 14 (7.1 percent) opportunities on third down. The third pre-season game is the most important for the Packers as head coach Mike McCarthy calls this the true dress rehearsal. He has proven its importance as Green Bay has won its last five Game Three contests so the importance of playing well and winning is in the forefront. I think it will be even more of a motivational opportunity as the Packers do not want to end the preseason 0-2 at home and they feel disrespected being underdogs here. Seattle is 2-0 after two straight blowouts and that is certainly playing a big part in this line as it the fact that it has now won seven straight preseason games. Obviously the Seahawks will want to keep that streak alive but motivationally, the edge is still on the other side. This is a rematch of the infamous 'Fail Mary' game where the replacement referees blew a call on the final play of the game which game Seattle a 14-12 victory and while many are playing down the revenge angle, it is no doubt present as the Packers will be out to avenge that loss, preseason game or not. Look for the Packers to end the Seattle winning streak and get their payback on top of it. 10* (256) Green Bay Packers
|08-22-13||New England Patriots v. Detroit Lions -1||Top||9-40||Win||100||27 h 9 m||Show|
The third game of the NFL Preseason sees the most playing time from starters and gives teams one last chance to execute a gameplan heading into the regular season as the final preseason game is typically used to look at players to fill backup roles. For Detroit, I expect it to come into this game with a sense of urgency in order to gain some sort of positive energy. The Lions lost eight straight games to end the regular season last year so while the starters could desperately use a win, they could also use some production. They are sensing some urgency to spark their offense in this game against the Patriots, after seven drives with the starters have yielded just two field goals and no touchdowns in their first two games. "We got to create some momentum," Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson said. "We don't want to go (without a touchdown) going into the regular season. Being a good offense isn't a switch we can flip on come Game 1. So we need to start doing something now." I see that happening. The Patriots are off to a 2-0 start with wins over Philadelphia and Tampa Bay. It is still unsure how much playing time the starters get here and it looks as though they may not play as much as normal in a Week Three game. They have had joint practices with the Eagles and Buccaneers, as well as two preseason games, so the thinking is that the first team has received enough work that there is less importance for top players to stay on into the third quarter. Nonetheless, this one is more important for Detroit and we are catching a good line on top of it. Also, the Lions have a great preseason situation on their side as we play on teams where the line is +3 to -3 after one or more consecutive losses against the spread going up against an opponent after two or more consecutive wins against the spread. This situation is 28-10 ATS (73.7 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (252) Detroit Lions
|08-18-13||Indianapolis Colts +1.5 v. NY Giants||Top||20-12||Win||100||82 h 31 m||Show|
Motivation to win in the preseason is sometimes tough to find since the games are meaningless but there are times that it comes into play and this is one of those. The Colts played a horrible preseason opener against the Bills as they lost by 24 points while getting outgained by 163 total yards in the process. They knew they played bad so it didn't help matters that owner Jim Irsay apologized to the fans for the team's "crap performance" against the Bills on Twitter. While it may or may not be in his place to publicly put the team down, calling them out will provide an urgency to get things together and put forth a better effort that will lead to a win. Head coach Chuck Pagano said the starters will play more and they will play better as a team against the New York Giants on Sunday and he will surely be out for a victory. The Giants won their opener over the Steelers as they outgained Pittsburgh by 57 yards in the five-point victory. New York has a lot of questions on defense and it will out to take a look at guys more than anything else as winning in the preseason has never been a top priority for head coach Tom Coughlin. It is more about evaluating this time of the preseason and that is proven by the fact the Giants have gone 0-5-1 ATS in their last six Game Two contests. The Colts have two great situations in their favor as we play against home teams where the line is +3 to -3 that are undefeated in the preseason. This situation is 52-22 ATS (70.3 percent) over the last 10 seasons. Also, we play on underdogs or pickems off an upset loss as a home favorite, with a losing record. This situation is 42-18 ATS (70 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (429) Indianapolis Colts
|08-17-13||Green Bay Packers +4 v. St Louis Rams||Top||19-7||Win||100||78 h 22 m||Show|
The Packers were shutout at home in their preseason opener last week against the Cardinals as they were outgained by 132 total yards in the 17-0 loss. They will be a popular play this week simply based on name alone but I will be backing Green Bay here for different reasons. The fact that the Packers were shutout is one of the big ones as no team, even one that is expected to be an elite team come regular season, wants to put up consecutive poor games and this is a team that has the talent and depth to bounce back. The shutout was a little deceiving as the first string went down the field and looked as though it scored but they were called down just short on fourth down and even an instant replay challenge could not overturn that. The Rams meanwhile lost in Cleveland but looked more impressive in doing so as they outgained the Browns by 76 total yards. The problem was turnovers as the Rams had three compared to none for Cleveland and the special teams also let them down as the Brown scored their second touchdown on a 91-yard punt return. Those are the mistakes that can haunt a team, especially in the preseason when young and inexperienced players are on the field the most. I feel that St. Louis is overvalued here as we are catching a spread over a key number which I believe is very important to have in these games. We are also playing the bounce theory here with the Packers and they fall into a great situation that backs that up as we play on underdogs or pickems that are coming off an upset loss as a home favorite, with a losing record. This situation is 42-18 ATS (70 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (425) Green Bay Packers
|08-16-13||Minnesota Vikings +3.5 v. Buffalo Bills||Top||16-20||Loss||-110||55 h 46 m||Show|
This line opened at Buffalo -3 and because of the results from last week's games, this number has climbed to -3.5 which could come into play over the key number. While the extra half-point is great to have on our side in a close game, I do not think we will need it. Buffalo opened the Doug Marrone era with a convincing 44-20 victory over Indianapolis on Sunday. The offense was able to move the ball at will as Buffalo set a franchise record for most points in a preseason game while amassing 451 yards of total offense. Rookie quarterbacks E.J. Manual and Jeff Tuel were both outstanding and while that is something to build on, the Bills will get Kevin Kolb back this week and he is expected to get a lot of work. Minnesota meanwhile lost at home against Houston as a 13-10 halftime lead was disintegrated by the Texans backups winning the second half 17-0. Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder got only two snaps in that game after a deflected interception halted their first drive. The starters were only to play one series and the gameplan did not change but because of the limited plays, starters are expected to go into the second quarter this week. Head coach Leslie Frazier confirmed this. This gives Minnesota a significant edge as does the overall quarterback rotation. Additionally, Minnesota played its game on Friday while Buffalo played on Sunday so the Bills have a very short week to prepare. Minnesota has a great situation on its side based on last week as we play on underdogs or pickems after scoring 14 points or less last game going up against an opponent after scoring 30 points or more last game. This situation is 23-6 ATS (79.3 percent) since 1993. 10* (409) Minnesota Vikings
|08-15-13||Carolina Panthers v. Philadelphia Eagles -3||Top||9-14||Win||100||32 h 7 m||Show|
The first year head coach is always a great angle to play in the preseason if given the right circumstances. I am a fan of playing first year head coaches in their first games as those guys want to infuse a new winning attitude into the team as it is usually the case that the previous season was far from a good one. Chip Kelly took over the Eagles head coaching job after Andy Reid left after a long tenure there. Philadelphia fell short in Kelly's debut but I see things being differently in this one as this is the final home preseason game so getting on the fans good sign with a win is always a good goal. The Eagles lost to New England by nine points despite winning the yardage battle but the difference was them being unable to stop the run as they allowed a whopping 248 yards on the ground. Expect some adjustments to be made. The quarterback rotation of Matt Barkley, Michael Vick and Nick Foles is also a very solid one with Barkley coming off a great game and veteran players behind that. Foles will be getting the start with Vick coming in after. Carolina won its first preseason game as it defeated Chicago by a touchdown thanks to an interception return for a touchdown that pretty much sealed the deal. The quarterback rotation for the Panthers is not as strong and the offensive line is very thin at this point after losing Bruce Campbell last week. This team is still a work in progress as well but we have to give a significant edge to the Eagles which will be out to grab that first win under Kelly. 10* (406) Philadelphia Eagles
|08-09-13||Arizona Cardinals +3 v. Green Bay Packers||Top||17-0||Win||100||12 h 57 m||Show|
The first year head coach is always a great angle to play in the preseason if given the right circumstances. I am a fan of playing first year head coaches in their first games as those guys want to infuse a new winning attitude into the team as it is usually the case that the previous season was far from a good one. Arizona went 5-11 last season which led to the firing of Ken Whisenhunt and the hiring of Bruce Arians. The Cardinals will be out to start fresh and get a winning attitude going and it is certainly a goal for this team. "Win the game, first and foremost," Arians said. He established his coaching style from the start of camp. There aren't any lulls in practice, quarterback Carson Palmer said, and each meeting seems to have a purpose. The players respect and appreciate that, especially the veterans, Palmer said. Packers head coach Mike McCarthy would not say how long his starters would be playing but it likely will not be very long. Injuries have already killed this team and keeping the rest of the players healthy is the ultimate goal at this point. The Packers' recent injury woes on the offensive line and how they are going about plugging holes is one example as they had only nine offensive linemen in practice Thursday. Meanwhile at wideout, James Jones could be the only veteran receiver in uniform. McCarthy said he hopes to play all four quarterbacks, including newly signed veteran Vince Young, in Friday's game. 10* (269) Arizona Cardinals
|08-04-13||Miami Dolphins v. Dallas Cowboys UNDER 33||Top||20-24||Loss||-110||105 h 40 m||Show|
The Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins square off in Canton, Ohio for the Hall of Fame game to start to the NFL preseason. There are plenty of questions on both sidelines and playing time for each unit still has not been revealed by either coach which makes the side in this one a toss up in my opinion. I feel we are getting some great value on the total however as this one is sitting at 33 as of Wednesday morning which is a typical number for the first game of the exhibition season. Four of the last six Hall of Fame games have stayed under the total, including the last two, and while those past outcomes do not predict future results, it does show how defenses are more in synch early in the preseason. It is still unclear if Cowboys quarterback will see any playing time but that is meaningless either way as if he does play, it will be no more than one series. Backup Kyle Orton will see some time but since he is locked in as the number two quarterback, we will see action from either Nick Stephens or Alex Tanney or both as they will be fighting for the third quarterback spot. On the other side, Ryan Tannehill had a solid rookie season and again comes in as the starter. He will not see a lot of action and we probably won't see much of Matt Moore either as he is the slated number two quarterback. Pat Devlin will get the majority of snaps as he has looked pretty solid in camp when playing with the second string. Executing in a game though will be a different story. Both Miami and Dallas stayed under the total in their first preseason game last season and with the same personnel and coaching coming in this year, I expect another slow start for both offenses in this one. 10* Under (241) Miami Dolphins/(242) Dallas Cowboys
|08-30-12||Oakland Raiders +6.5 v. Seattle Seahawks||Top||3-21||Loss||-110||13 h 29 m||Show|
This is the biggest line for the Week 4 preseason card and for no apparent reason. Sure, the Seahawks are 3-0 and will likely want to end the preseason with a perfect record but wanting and doing are two separate matters, especially when you are dealing with a lot of backups. The Seahawks have dominated each of their games as they have won the yardage battle as well as winning each game by double-digits. All this does is add to our line value on the underdog.
The Raiders won for us last week as they defeated the Lions outright. The game was arguably not as close as the score indicated as Oakland outgained Detroit by 232 yards so while the 11-point outright win was never it jeopardy, it could have been worse. The Raiders are now 1-2 on the preseason but they have looked better than that record shows as they have outgained all three of their opponents and the two losses were by a combined 10 points.
While Seattle is outgaining opponents by an average of 67.3 ypg, the Raiders are outgaining opponents by an average of 115.0 ypg so while the edge in that area goes to the underdog, the line is actually even higher than it should be. The typical preseason game shows roughly a three-point edge to the home team based on home field advantage but this one is clearly off the charts. The Raiders have indicated the starters will play a few series which is a little more than typical for a fourth preseason game.
Quarterback Carson Palmer would like another chance to work on some of the redzone issues that have plagued the first-team offense which could benefit them heading into the regular season. Oakland falls into a solid situation on top of it as we play against home favorites after one or more consecutive straight up wins, with a winning record in the preseason. This situation is 41-18 ATS (69.5 percent) over the last five seasons. This game is a toss up in my opinion so the generous amount of points is a solid take. 10* (127) Oakland Raiders
|08-26-12||Carolina Panthers v. NY Jets -1||Top||17-12||Loss||-130||34 h 18 m||Show|
This is a massive game for the Jets. They are 0-2 to open the preseason and have been awful in doing so as the offense has managed only nine points total with all of the scoring coming by way of field goals. New York is the only team in the NFL that has failed to score a touchdown through the preseason's first two weeks, and it's mustered only 160.5 ypg. While panicking may not be the way to go, something needs to start this week to build some sort of momentum and confidence heading into the regular season.
The defense for the Jets has been solid over the past couple years but they went a step further this offseason as they adopted a 'one step faster' approach by doing more conditioning. It has paid off as head coach Rex Ryan praised the defensive line for making very few mental mistakes through the first two weeks of the preseason. This season they are more athletic, younger and deeper than they've ever been along the defensive line and that will come into play tonight.
Carolina is 1-1 and the offense was solid in it last game as the Panthers scored 13 first quarter points against Miami. They put up points on all three possessions that quarterback Cam Newton was in the game so while that is a very good sign, they will be facing a still test here. In their first game against the Texans, Carolina was outgained by 238 total yards as the offense only 137 total yards. Houston has a very strong defense just like the Jets so expect Carolina to struggle yet again.
Wide Receiver Steve Smith will be sitting this one out for the Panthers which hurts the offense even more. Making matters even more difficult, this is the Panthers first road game of the season and the situation is a tough one in primetime in New York. Carolina is 4-17 ATS in its last 21 preseason games when it rushes for 75 to 100 yards and that rushing game is expected to be in trouble again here. The Jets will finally get that elusive touchdown and come away with the big win Sunday night. 10* (282) New York Jets
|08-25-12||Detroit Lions v. Oakland Raiders +3||Top||20-31||Win||100||80 h 20 m||Show|
Oakland is 0-2 to start the preseason but it has not played all that bad as it outgained both opponents and the two losses have come by a combined seven points. Losing is losing though and in the preseason that may not be a big deal to some but for the Raiders it is a big deal. A new coaching staff is in place and that means a winning attitude is usually at the forefront and in this case, they are in need of a victory. Doing so against a quality opponent will go a long way.
The Lions lost their first game against Cleveland by just two points but they came back against Baltimore and smashed the Ravens by 15 points while outgaining them by 164 total yards. The first team offense was in total control as Matthew Stafford bounced back from a poor first game against the Browns and went 12-17 for 184 yards and two touchdowns. The offense looks to be where it left off from last season and that means staying healthy is the key factor right now.
This is a dress rehearsal for both sides this week but the importance is more on the side of the Raiders. Unlike their previous two games, the Raiders will actually gameplan for an opponent for the first time and will play most starters into the third quarter. Head coach Dennis Allen took the extra step of instituting in-season media access, meaning reporters were restricted to the first half-hour of practice. This shows how Oakland is gearing up and looking for that first win of the preseason.
We have seen a big line move in this game as it opened even to -1 for the Lions and it has jumped up to a field goal as the public is backing Detroit to no surprise. The Raiders fall into a great situation here where we play against favorites after allowing 5.5 or less ypa last game going up against an opponent after gaining 5.5 or less ypa in two straight games. This situation is 30-11 ATS (73.2 percent) since 1993. Look for the Raiders to get that elusive first preseason victory. 10* (274) Oakland Raiders
|08-23-12||Green Bay Packers -3 v. Cincinnati Bengals||Top||27-13||Win||100||12 h 10 m||Show|
Green Bay has not gotten off to a good start this preseason and while some teams are not concerned about that, the Packers might want to be. They played poor against the Chargers and then were even worse at home against the Browns. This is obviously one of the best teams in the NFL so there should not be a whole lot of concern about not playing best but there is a slight cause for concern and with the starters not seeing action next week, coming away with a strong performance will be important.
The Bengals meanwhile are coming off consecutive wins to open the preseason so they have to be feeling pretty good right now. They took care of the Jets with ease in their first game and they were able to get past the Falcons by five points last week despite getting outgained by 150 total yards. The difference there was Atlanta's inability to produce in the redzone and while a lot of that can be attributed to the Cincinnati defense, it can also be placed on the fact that backups contributed for the lack of offense.
There is an interesting dynamic involved as running back Cedric Benson's debut for the Packers will come against his former team. He will want to make an impression on the coaching staff but he will also want to show his former team why it was a mistake in not re-signing him. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has yet to find a rhythm with his wide receivers with the exception of the 20-yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson last week. That first team offense will play through the first half.
There is also a lot of pride on the line as Green Bay has not gone 0-3 in a preseason in nearly a decade and this team does not want to break that trend. The Packers fall into a great situation where we play against home teams where the line is +3 to -3 after one or more consecutive wins, with a winning record in the preseason. This situation is 40-16 ATS (71.4 percent) over the last five seasons. Expect to see the Packers go all out and get their rhythm back in their last chance before the start of the regular season. 10* (251) Green Bay Packers
|08-20-12||PHILADELPHIA +2.5 v. New England Patriots||Top||27-17||Win||100||107 h 6 m||Show|
Both the Eagles and Patriots won their preseason openers last week, both coming by a single point. New England managed only seven points on offense but put up a respectable 279 yards of total offense. Obviously they want to improve upon that, however it is unlikely the Patriots will go to drastic measures to try and put up more points in the preseason and health is their main concern. This offense is explosive enough and the players know it far too well to even think there is a problem.
Philadelphia played better than its one-point win indicates. The Eagles outgained Pittsburgh by 124 total yards and most of that disparity came from the backups as starters saw limited action. There is a reason that the 1st string played very little as they will see more work this week and arguably the most than any other team this week. Next week, the Eagles travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns and then they open the regular season in Cleveland two weeks later which makes this a different dynamic altogether,
According to the Lehigh Morning Call, teams generally do not reveal too much about their personnel and play packages to opponents they will face again such a short time later. Also, because the Eagles will have played their second preseason game just four nights earlier in New England, the turnaround is not long enough to get their regulars fresh again to play at Cleveland. Putting all of these factors together, the Eagles are planning on using their starters for the entire first half against New England.
And it might not stop at halftime because during the big tuneup week, coaches like to see how their starters adjust after halftime so they could go into the third quarter. "We're going to play our guys quite a little bit here which is Monday night, and then ... they probably won't play quite as much against the Browns," head coach Andy Reid said. "It will be at least be a half [for the regulars against the Patriots]. We'll see where it goes from there." Get on this line now before we see a big move. 10* (431) Philadelphia Eagles
|08-18-12||San Francisco 49ers +3 v. HOUSTON||Top||9-20||Loss||-100||59 h 14 m||Show|
Both San Francisco and Houston are coming off dominating wins in their first preseason games as both outgained their opponents by over 200 total yards. The 49ers now head out on the road and while many would think that would be a disadvantage, in this case it is not. San Francisco came within a win of going to the Super Bowl last season and with high expectations again, the 49ers will be out to prove it was no fluke. Facing a tough opponent in their first road game is a crucial test.
The Texans easily took care of Carolina as they outgained the Panthers by 238 yards in their 13-point victory. They do have an edge with this being their first home preseason game but they will be at a disadvantage here. The offense moved the ball very well between the 20?s but they struggled inside the redzone and ultimately had to settle for four field goals. That is a major concern and even though the backups are partly to blame, both turnovers came from the starters.
Houston won't have the luxury of facing a soft defense this week as San Francisco was one of the best in the league last season and while it played well against Minnesota last week, it wasn't good enough. The Vikings managed only six points from their first-team offense, yet that was six points too many, according to defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. The second-team defense appeared to have every thing in order, as Minnesota failed to put any points on the board. Expect another all-out effort from all players again this week.
The quarterback rotation is strong with Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick leading the way and a strong rotation is big in the preseason. Scott Tolzien's consistent play all throughout the third quarter and into the fourth quarter was very impressive and it looks at though the third string job is now his to lose. San Francisco falls into a solid situation where we play on road teams after allowing nine points or less last game against an opponent after a win by 10 or more points. This situation is 24-5 ATS (82.8 percent) since 1993. 10* (423) San Francisco 49ers
|08-16-12||CINCINNATI v. Atlanta Falcons -4||Top||24-19||Loss||-110||14 h 43 m||Show|
The Falcons are coming off a loss in their preseason opener at home against the Ravens as they blew a 14-0 lead and ended up losing by two touchdowns. While it is still only preseason, this game will have some added meaning for Atlanta. First off, it will want to make up for that horrible effort in front of the home crowd and that gets added to by the fact that this is their final preseason home game as the final two games played during the exhibition season take place on the road.
The Bengals meanwhile are coming off a home win against the Jets as the defense was solid, allowing only six points total. The Cincinnati defense was very solid last season so there is not a lot of work that needs to be done which can help the Atlanta offense. The Falcons were able to move the ball and score quickly against a tough Baltimore defense and while the challenge will be there again, the depth of the offensive line was one of the best outcomes from that first game.
The Falcons defense has something to prove after allowing 31 points against Baltimore in the opening game and we are expected to see much more of the first string defense here. Atlanta head coach Mike Smith said that his first string defense will play into the second quarter and that defense actually looked pretty good against the Ravens. It was the backups that struggled as depth was an issue. The first string defense showed various looks and proved to be able to adapt to difference offensive schemes.
Atlanta has been outstanding in these preseason spots as it is 12-1 ATS in its last 13 preseason games following a loss by 14 or more points while going 18-4 ATS in its last 22 preseason games after a -2 or worse turnovers margin including a 9-1 ATS mark after a -3 or worse turnover margin. Cincinnati was able to win and cover against the Jets with a minimal offensive attack and even with that it is just 3-12 ATS in its last 15 preseason games when it gains four or less total yards per play. 10* (402) Atlanta Falcons
|08-11-12||TENNESSEE +3 v. SEATTLE||Top||17-27||Loss||-115||83 h 50 m||Show|
Seattle is a three-point favorite pretty much across the board which is a typical line for a preseason game so as far as line value, it is a wash. Looking at other intangibles however give a significant edge to Tennessee in this matchup. If last year was any indication, winning needs to start early for the Titans who put together a 9-7 season that pretty much came out of nowhere. It was the first year under head coach Mike Munchak and going 3-1 in the preseason helped fuel their impressive season.
The biggest factor in this matchup is quarterback rotations. Tennessee has a battle between Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker for the starting job and both come in with solid experience. Hasselbeck started all 16 games last season and he is a veteran in this league so he won't miss a beat. Locker meanwhile played in just five games but he was very efficient, posting a solid quarterback rating when he was in. He knows the system and that is a big deal in these preseason games.
On the other side, Seattle head coach Pete Carroll announced that newcomer quarterback Matt Flynn will start the preseason opener and likely play the entire first half. Rookie Russell Wilson will play the second half against the Titans, leaving incumbent quarterback Tarvaris Jackson on the sideline. Carroll says coaches know what they're getting from Jackson after he started 14 games last season and want to see the two newcomers in game action. This rotation will put the Seahawks at a disadvantage.
The Titans plan on opening up the offense more this season and for our purposes here, that means more opportunities to move the ball against the Seahawks which provides more scoring chances. The success of the Titans in the preseason goes back to then head coach Jeff Fisher and he wanted to parlay that success over into the regular season and it was very successful. Tennessee is 17-6 ATS in its last 23 preseason games as a road underdog and with plenty of edges here, another outright win is in our grasp. 10* (277) Tennessee Titans
|08-09-12||PITTSBURGH v. PHILADELPHIA +2||Top||23-24||Win||100||54 h 18 m||Show|
The situation in Philadelphia is a horrible one for head coach Andy Reid as his 29-year old son Garrett was found dead at the team's preseason facilities. He had drug problems and while the cause of death is unknown, it was devastating news for the team. The line moved from the Eagles being favored by a point and a half to now being underdogs by a point and a half and this was certainly the main reason. While Andy Reid will not be there Thursday, you can guarantee the players will want to win this one for Garrett.
On top of that, the Eagles had extremely high expectations last year and they went south as soon as the season started and could never recover. Philadelphia failed to make the preseason after being a preseason favorite to get there and while the past is the past, that will actually provide some fire under the Eagles as they want to come out of the gates and win right away and that means preseason as well. There is a different attitude in place and it should show right from the start.
"I knew that the timing might not match up as quickly as everyone wanted it to," cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said after practice last week. "Because you would hear, 'Oh, they're going to be this, going to be that,' and then you'd come out in practice and you could see us blowing plays. Yes, we could be there, but we weren't there yet. That's what I was feeling in training camp. Right now in training camp, it feels completely different." That is the stuff you want to hear when backing a team in the preseason.
The Steelers will be working on a few new things during the preseason and the main thing in on the offense where they will be going to a big no-huddle attack under new offense coordinator Todd Haley. This will take time to get put into place and with the way the injuries have been plaguing the Steelers over the years, health will be their number one priority on top of getting the new systems in place. It will be an emotional night in Philadelphia and one that they walk away from with a big emotional victory. 10* (256) Philadelphia Eagles
|08-05-12||ARIZONA +3 v. NEW ORLEANS||Top||10-17||Loss||-120||101 h 22 m||Show|
The NFL preseason opens with the Hall of Fame game between Arizona and New Orleans and we already have a line value situation. In the preseason, home teams are favored by a field goal well over half of the time and while the home is favored here by a field goal, the Saints are not the true home teams as this game is in Canton, Ohio so before the season has even started, New Orleans is already overvalued. In any other season, it would be bad enough but this is even worse.
The whole offseason with the Saints was a disaster with the bounty program that was the big news in the league. Gone are head coach Sean Payton as well as other key personnel that could this Super Bowl contender into a complete nothing. Not only is Payton gone for the season but there is a new defensive coordinator in town as Steve Spagnuolo takes over the stop unit. The potential is there but it is a whole new system to learn and that is going to show starting in this first exhibition game.
The Cardinals meanwhile will be trying to get back to their winning ways following a disappointing 8-8 season a year ago. The good news is that Arizona brought a lot of momentum into the new year as it went 7-2 over its last nine games and it will look to keep that winning going even if it is just preseason. The Cardinals went 2-2 in the preseason last year and that led to a 1-6 start so head coach Ken Whisenhunt has one goal in mind and that is to win from the start.
Arizona also has an edge in the quarterback rotations as John Skelton and Kevin Kolb will be competing for the starting job and that means going all out during the preseason. On the other side, the Cardinals bring their entire defense and that is a good sign in the preseason because other players have gotten reps in practice which will help during their game time this Sunday. We have a more motivated team getting way too many points and we will grab them up in this preseason opener. 10* (241) Arizona Cardinals
|09-01-11||Tampa Bay Buccaneers v. Washington Redskins -7||Top||24-29||Loss||-110||11 h 42 m||Show|
We waited until late in the week to release the final week of the preseason to try and get as much information as possible as to what a lot of the decisions are going to be in these normally meaningless games to end the exhibition year. There are a lot of factors that go into these final games and motivation is at the top of the list. This comes down to the coaching philosophy and how they want to handle the playing time of the regulars as well as the importance of a win heading into the regular season.
One coach that feels winning is important is Mike Shanahan. The Redskins are coming off a loss last Thursday at Baltimore but they played good enough to win. The last thing Shanahan wants is to enter the regular season with a two-game losing streak, preseason or not. The final game factor is a big one as well as Shanahan's teams are 10-3 in his 13 preseason week four games which has only added to his overall preseason record of 45-22. This is just the tip of it however.
This game opened with the Redskins being just 3.5-point favorite and it has risen to a touchdown as of Thursday morning. This is one of the biggest reverse line movements you will see as the betting action is close to 50 percent on each side yet the line has doubled. That clearly shows the sharp money came in big on the Redskins to move the number as much as it did and it is being equaled out with the public money that will once again come in on the large underdogs. It still will not be enough.
The information gained in these games is invaluable and Shanahan pointed out that he will treat this week
|08-27-11||Jacksonville Jaguars v. Buffalo Bills||Top||32-35||Win||100||57 h 28 m||Show|
Things have not started good for the Bills as they are 0-2 to start the preseason which makes tonight's game a pretty important one. This is the first home game for Buffalo and expectations are low once again but playing well in front of the home crown can provide a big lift in what is essentially the last game that the starters will see extensive action. Buffalo lost the first two games by a combined score of 34-13 but it was outgained by just 119 total yards showing the games were closer than the scores indicate.
The Jaguars were throttled in New England in their preseason opener 47-12 and were outgained by 283 total yards. They bounced back at home last week in a win over Atlanta but it wasn't very impressive, notably on offense. "We need more efficiency offensively and certainly the trigger man plays a large role in that," said head coach Jack Del Rio. Quarterback David Garrard was 7 of 12 for 99 yards and an interception and finished with an abysmal 50.3 passer rating.
The most significant improvements have come on defense in a major bid to overhaul a patchwork and porous unit that couldn
|08-25-11||Washington Redskins +5 v. Baltimore Ravens||Top||31-34||Win||100||23 h 31 m||Show|
The Redskins are 2-0 to start the preseason which comes as no surprise as head coach Mike Shanahan has proven in the past that winning is a priority this time of year. They have not only been winning but have dominated. Through two preseason games, the Redskins have rolled up more yards and owned more time of possession than any other NFL team. The offense is still having a tough time scoring but for the first time, there will be a full game plan in place, including specific strategies and plays for the redzone.
The Ravens have split their opening two games, winning last week against the Chiefs which are a team under head coach Todd Haley that don't care about winning in the preseason. The same can be argued about the Redskins last opponent, the Colts, but again it comes down to which team wants or needs it more. The Ravens are not one of those teams. They are projected to once again be at the top of the AFC North and the most important factor for this older team is remaining healthy.
The Ravens put up 31 points last week against the Chiefs however 21 of those points were scored in the fourth quarter when most, if not all of the team's starters were long out of the game. the Baltimore offense has only scored one offensive touchdown with their starters on the field in two games and the offensive line continues to be the biggest cause for concern, as it has not yet fielded its expected starting lineup as a group yet. With starters getting more playing time, it remains a big concern.
The Redskins fall into two great time tested preseason situations. Play on road teams after allowing nine points or less last game going up against an opponent after a win by 10 or more points. This situation is 22-5 ATS (81.5 percent) since 1993. also, play on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points after two or more consecutive wins against the spread and undefeated in the preseason. This situation is 25-7 ATS (78.1 percent) since 1993. With an inflated line, the Redskins are getting additional value on top of everything else. 10* (255) Washington Redskins
|08-21-11||San Diego Chargers v. Dallas Cowboys -1.5||Top||20-7||Loss||-110||11 h 15 m||Show|
This is a big game for the Cowboys. They did win last week at home in their preseason opener but this is a different situation. After last year's debacle of a season, Dallas has something to prove and that means it start in the preseason as well. If this was any other game, it may not mean as much but because it is the Sunday night game on NBC, the Cowboys will be out to show the world they are back. This is the type of situation we love to play and even more so when the opposition doesn't care.
It can be argued the Chargers are out to prove something as well following them missing the playoffs last season but because this game is on the road, the meaning isn't quite the same. San Diego head coach Norv Turner has not made winning in the preseason a priority and that was witnessed last week at home against Seattle. On the other side, Dallas head coach Jason Garrett wants to get that winning attitude going and he will be ever more motivated in trying to defeat his old mentor.
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has looked sharp throughout camp and was 3-of-5 passing for 33 yards in his only series in the preseason opener Thursday night, his first game action since getting hurt last Oct. 25 against the New York Giants. Garrett has said that Cowboys' starters could play into the second quarter Sunday night after the first-team offense and first-team defense played just one series each last week. That is important for the latter as the backups struggled in the new defensive schemes.
Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan expects his charges to be motivated after they allowed Denver to take the opening kickoff last week and drive to the 1-yard line in just nine plays. The Cowboys forced a field goal which was a positive. "I'm encouraged by the way our guys have been working," Ryan said after Friday's scrimmage with the Chargers. "They've been busting their ass and getting better. This was a really good week for us. We're looking forward to this game." 10* (430) Dallas Cowboys
|08-20-11||Oakland Raiders v. San Francisco 49ers -3||Top||3-17||Win||100||58 h 55 m||Show|
The 49ers were horrible on offense last week in New Orleans as they managed just 234 yards and the six sacks and two turnovers just compounded problems. The offensive line is just as much to blame on the poor quarterback play from Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick as it is tough to find a rhythm when under constant pressure. The first game on offense is a difficult one to grade this season because of the lockout and the numerous hours of preparation time that were lost. I expect the offense to improve this week.
Part of the rationale for that was the horrible play from the Raiders defense last week. The defense last week surrendered 400 yards and had just one sack against a Cardinals team that struggled all of last season to score points. Things do not seem to be getting better as they are getting hammered with injuries on both sides of the ball. The receiving corps has three top receivers out. the two starters on Saturday will be Darrius Heyward-Bey, who missed the first couple weeks of camp, and rookie Denarius Moore.
One of the best pickups during the offseason was by the San Francisco 49ers as they landed head coach Jim Harbaugh. Playing on first year head coaches in the preseason is always a good strategy as they are looking to instill a winning attitude right out of the blocks. Instead of easing his players into football shape after the four-month lockout, Harbaugh has his team getting after it with a majority of full contact practices. The early win did not come last week but heading home will be a big advantage here.
Everything seemed to going great for Harbaugh and his team as report out of camp were nothing but positive. He admitted however he was not ready for the Saints and what they brought to the table on defense. Things seem positive again however as
Harbaugh said Smith had distanced himself from Kaepernick in the competition to be San Francisco's starter thanks to two solid practices. Harbaugh said Smith had probably his best practice of training camp Tuesday. Now we need to see it Saturday. 10* (422) San Francisco 49ers
|08-19-11||Detroit Lions +2.5 v. Cleveland Browns||Top||30-28||Win||100||36 h 57 m||Show|
Both Detroit and Cleveland are coming off impressive wins in their preseason openers but the situation sets up very well for the Lions here. The Browns took out the defending Super Bowl champion Packers in their opener and that was certainly a big win to start off the season. That spells letdown for week Two. Cleveland put up 364 yards of offense in that game and the difference ending up being a fumble return for a touchdown midway through the third quarter.
Detroit racked up 350 total yards of offense against the Bengals and while a lot of team simply run preset plays to get a look at different players, the Lions are actually going after the advantages they have. Both offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and quarterback Matthew Stafford pointed out how frequently the Cincinnati defense was playing with eight men in the box, allowing the Lions to victimize the Bengals through the air. Play calling will once again be determined what is thrown at them this week.
On the other side, the defensive line dominated the Bengals and the team was missing their top draft choice Nick Fairley. The potential is there to be one of the top defenses in the NFL and they will be ready again this week. Expectations are high in Detroit this season and while their goal is to remain healthy, the Lions goal now is to win to carry over into the regular season. They won their final four games of the regular season last year and ending that momentum with preseason losses is not what they are looking for.
While Stafford is the clear cut starter, there is a battle going for the backup quarterback position as well as the number three guy and that is important as it promotes a more aggressive gameplan of offense when the backups are in. The Lions fall into a solid preseason situation as well. Play on road teams after allowing nine points or less in their last game going up against an opponent after a win by 10 or more points. This situation is 20-5 ATS (80 percent) since 1993. 10* (407) Detroit Lions
|08-18-11||Philadelphia Eagles v. Pittsburgh Steelers -3||Top||14-24||Win||100||34 h 18 m||Show|
The big news coming out of the lockout is how the Eagles fortified their roster with a number of big free agent signings which has made them an odds on favorite to win the Super Bowl. Obviously that is a little premature but what it does is give us an opportunity to go against the masses as Philadelphia is going to be a very public team this season and that starts in the preseason. The Eagles are getting the early money in this matchup yet the line has moved against that as it sets up a reverse line movement scenario.
The Steelers lost their preseason opener against Washington and despite losing by only nine points, they were pretty much dominated throughout. The Redskins outgained Pittsburgh 452-186 and in the Steelers eyes, that was an embarrassment, preseason or not. Winning is important to head coach Mike Tomlin even during this time of year as he came into the 2011 preseason with a 13-4 record. On the flip side, Eagles head coach Andy Reid was 18-30 during the preseason heading into last week.
Tomlin said the starters will play 20 to 25 snaps, which is significantly more than the opener. He was not happy. "Quite frankly we got outplayed in just about all areas
|08-15-11||New York Jets +2.5 v. Houston Texans||Top||16-20||Loss||-105||9 h 46 m||Show|
This line is right where it should be for a preseason game so there is no real line value on either side. We need to look at the matchups and what we have heard is that the Jets should be in much better position tonight. Jets head coach Rex Ryan said Saturday that his plan is for his starters to play the entire first quarter and that goes against the grain for most teams in the preseason opener and that includes Houston. The Texans starters are not expected to play much at all.
A big concern for Houston is defense. The Texans brought in Wade Philips as defensive coordinator and they will be learning a new system. The switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense isn't always a quick or smooth one, so expecting the Texans to show much isn't likely. They have already stated that they will be running a vanilla scheme tonight and that certainly favors the Jets offense from start to finish. Only one player that returns on defense is playing the same position as last season, making it a tough transition.
"Defensively, I think Wade is very basic in what we
|08-13-11||Green Bay Packers v. Cleveland Browns +1.5||Top||17-27||Win||100||99 h 29 m||Show|
Very rarely do you see a road favorite in the first couple weeks of the preseason but there are a couple in place for Week One with the defending Super Bowl Champion Packers being one of those. This doesn't come as much of a surprise as people who do bet the preseason will be betting on the champs because of who they are and how low this line is. The problem with that however is that this is the preseason and the Green Bay team that won last year and the Green Bay team on the field Saturday will be vastly different.
Cleveland finished 5-11 a season ago, but again, this is not the regular season. The Browns are starting over with a new coach, Pat Shurmur, which brings in the angle of playing first year coaches in their first preseason game. Playing on first year head coaches in the preseason is always a good strategy as they are looking to instill a winning attitude right out of the blocks. And that is certainly the case in Cleveland as the Browns have been down for years and are in need of an early jolt to get the confidence going.
With a new coach comes new systems and that is the case for the Browns on offense as they are putting in a new West Coast offense. So far so good according to reports out of training camp and second year quarterback Colt McCoy is backing it up. "How far we've made it in a week is crazy, my comfort level in what we're doing," he said. "If you follow the transition of the whole week, we're night and day compared to where we started." With the preseason shortened for all teams, that is good news for backing the home team.
Green Bay is 3-6 in its nine preseason games the last three years, taking away the third game where the starters play the majority of the time. The Packers have opened with Cleveland in the preseason the last two years, going 1-1, with both of those games taking place at home and Green Bay installed as a three-point favorite. A switch to Cleveland should make the Browns a favorite by the same amount similar to where 11 of the home teams are this week. Instead we get a ton of value backing the home underdog. 10* (272) Cleveland Browns
|08-12-11||San Francisco 49ers +3 v. New Orleans Saints||Top||3-24||Loss||-115||76 h 5 m||Show|
One of the best pickups during the offseason was by the San Francisco 49ers as they landed head coach Jim Harbaugh. He has a huge upside and he will be able to turn around his team and it will start in his first game. Playing on first year head coaches in the preseason is always a good strategy as they are looking to instill a winning attitude right out of the blocks. Instead of easing his players into football shape after the four-month lockout, Harbaugh has his team getting after it with a majority of full contact practices.
A new coach means a new system and Harbaugh is implementing a new West Coast offense and things are already looking good. Quarterback Alex Smith has shown flashes of being a productive player in a system that will feature more three- and five-step drops than the previous scheme. Rookie backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick is more advanced than they expected as he has looked solid in the system as well. They want to get him as many repetitions before the season begins.
The Saints are once again going to be a team to watch out for in the regular season as they bring back a solid nucleus on both sides of the ball. That works in our favor here as New Orleans is using this preseason to evaluate younger players vying for the backup spots. Granted the season ended earlier than expected a season ago with an upset loss in Seattle in the playoffs but this team is not in need of a winning attitude. Coaches often do not care about the preseason and that is the case for Saints head coach Sean Payton.
Under Payton, the Saints are 11-10 in the preseason which is respectable. In the second to last preseason game, the one where starters play the majority of the game, New Orleans is 4-1 under Payton meaning it is just 7-9 in those other games which shows winning is not important to this team. Looking at this line and it comes as no surprise that the Saints are one of the heaviest bet teams in this first week of the preseason. We will take the contrarian side which is the side that will be out to actually go out and want to win. 10* (269) San Francisco 49ers
|08-11-11||Arizona Cardinals v. Oakland Raiders -3.5||Top||24-18||Loss||-110||54 h 9 m||Show|
The first year head coach is always a great angle to play in the preseason if given the right circumstances. I am a fan of playing first year head coaches in their first games as those guys want to infuse a new winning attitude into the team as it is usually the case that the previous season was far from a good one. The Raiders were not that bad last year, finishing 8-8, but they still let go head coach Tom Cable and hired Hue Jackson to turn around a team that has been dormant for years.
Arizona finished a disappointing 5-11 last season after winning the AFC West the previous two seasons and there are a lot of new faces for the Cardinals this season. First and foremost, Kevin Kolb takes over at quarterback so he will be learning a somewhat new system as will the three remaining quarterbacks on the roster. This is due to the fact that Mike Miller takes over as full time offensive coordinator and while the system will basically be the same, there will be new wrinkles that need to be implemented.
New Raiders head coach Hue Jackson is brining a new attitude and it needs to start now, not in Week One of the regular season. "I keep telling everybody that the team that we're trying to build here is not a team that, in my opinion, has been here the last eight years," he said. "We're going to be a tough, rugged football team that's going to walk with a swagger and plays the way the Raiders used to play. That's what I want, that's what I'll demand, and that's what my players are going to give me."
That quote goes a long way in the preseason. There are cases where new coaches want to evaluate early on and see what they have to work with but Jackson was the offensive coordinator in Oakland last season so he knows what he has. Given the short amount of preparation time in the preseason due to the lockout, teams will still be going through the motions early on, concentrating more on fundamentals more than anything else. That is the case for both teams here but Oakland is a team that wants to win now and not later. 10* (260) Oakland Raiders
|09-02-10||Washington Redskins v. Arizona Cardinals -5.5||Top||10-20||Win||100||33 h 53 m||Show|
I played on Washington in the opening week of preseason and a lot of it was due to the coaching of new head coach Mike Shanahan who is widely known for taking winning in the preseason pretty serious. You take a look at the Broncos past history in the final week of the preseason and you see a team that went out to win. This situation this week is quite a bit different however. Starting quarterback Donovan McNabb remains out and he is questionable for Week One of the regular season as well. That means Rex Grossman, the backup for McNabb, is going to be held out of this game for precautionary reasons in case McNabb has to in fact sit out that preseason opener. That put the quarterback rotation in the hands of John Beck and Richard Bartel, a rookie out of Tarleton State. While Beck and Bartel have been told that they will roughly split the playing time, the coaches have not yet told them who will be starting the game. According to Shanahan, they won
|08-29-10||Pittsburgh v. Denver +2.5||Top||17-34||Win||100||15 h 53 m||Show|
The quarterback situation for both sides is playing a big role in this one. With Ben Roethlisberger on the shelf for the first part of the regular season, he will not get the same amount of playing time tonight than he normally would. The Steelers need to get reps from Dennis Dixon and/or Byron Leftwich with the first team and that will be case here tonight. Roethlisberger is set to start against the Broncos, but head coach Mike Tomlin indicated that Dixon will see action with the first team offense. Tim Tebow has had a decent preseason in his rookie season and he has been the talk of the team right now. Overshadowed is Kyle Orton though as he has been playing outstanding in trying to keep his job as the starting quarterback. Last week against the Lions, Orton posted a 107.6 passer rating while throwing two touchdown passes. In Orton's relief, backup quarterback Brady Quinn also played well as he threw for 115 yards with a completion percentage of 64.7 percent. Tebow missed the game against the Lions because of a rib injury and he is iffy to play tonight and that helps us. We would much rather see two veterans take all of the snaps as opposed to a rookie getting a good number of those. This is where the quarterback rotation is in our favor for tonight. According to The Denver Post, Denver head coach Josh McDaniels said he expects to play the team