The NFL 2019 preseason schedule officially gets underway on Thursday, Aug. 1 with the annual Hall of Fame Game from Canton, Ohio. This season’s matchup pits the AFC West’s Denver Broncos against the NFC South’s Atlanta Falcons. Game time on NBC is set for 8.p.m.
Denver comes into this game as a slight 2.5-point neutral-site favorite and the total line has been set at 34 points. I would probably default to betting the UNDER given the amount of different players that will see action in this game.
This tends to work in the defense’s favor given the lack of consistency on the other side of the ball. This is especially true this early in the preseason when most of the players are still rather unfamiliar playing with one another.
I am also going to use the Falcons as my top underdog pick of the week. It has been a rough go with some of my MLB dogs the past few weeks, so I decided to change things up to try and cash a winner. Se my latest Underdog pick by clicking here.
Preseason football is hard enough to handicap with all 32 teams taking their own unique approach to the exhibition schedule. This is especially true for these two teams having to play an extra game. When betting football, things tend to become a bit more predictable when you get into Week 2 and Week 3 of the schedule as starters tend to get some added playing time.
The ultimate goal of any NFL team is to get through the preseason as healthy as possible. Winning (or losing) a game does not factor into the equation, so betting the preseason becomes a task of making the best possible educated guess. That is why my normal lean is towards the team getting the points as an added edge.
Top Underdog Bet- Take the Falcons (+2.5) against Denver
Denver has turned to Joe Flacco as its starting quarterback for the 2019 season with added hopes that second-round draft pick Drew Lock might be the biggest steal at the quarterback position. You can actually find some OVER/UNDER prop bet odds for how many games he might start this season. As far as Thursday night’s game, he should get plenty of playing time to show what he can do at the next level.
Matt Ryan has been a staple at quarterback for Atlanta since the 2008 season when he took over the starting role. Current head coach Dan Quinn will probably turn to former Virginia quarterback Kurt Benkert to play most of Thursday’s game. He is third on the depth chart behind veteran Matt Schaub.
With a pair of inexperienced quarterbacks at the helm for each team, I would look for a rather conservative approach in each team’s game plan. Nobody signs up to play the Hall of Fame Game, so Thursday night will closely resemble a joint practice between two teams that are not familiar with one another. Both offenses will be looking to establish the run while mixing in some longer shots downfield through the air.
Turnovers for touchdowns and other sloppy plays have a way of plaguing NFL preseason games for bettors. Since anything can happen with nothing on the line, you should always keep your bets to a low value. The excitement of an actual NFL game beats the long and boring offseason, but this is not the time of the year to try and cash in big.
Another general rule of thumb when betting the preseason is to bet on the overall better-talented team. Both Denver and Atlanta posted a losing season in 2018, but the Broncos’ four-game losing streak both straight-up and against the spread to close things out still sticks in my head.
Article by Dave Schwab
Posted on July 29th, 2019