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    NFL preseason betting: Best quarterbacks to back in August

    Many NFL fans were wondering what the Philadelphia Eagles were doing in the offseason leading up to the 2016 campaign. They still had quarterback Sam Bradford but elected to sign career backup Chase Daniel to a three-year contract worth $21 million.

    Daniel’s resume did not include much regular season experience. In fact, it would be fair to say Daniel was signed entirely based on the positive reviews from former coaches and, of course, his reps in the silly season – the NFL preseason.

    When you’re backing up Drew Brees in New Orleans – a future Hall of Famer who’s missed two games in 10 years – you’re going to have to make the most of your game snaps in August.

    Daniel owns a 93.9 career preseason QB rating with 22 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. His teams are 16-9-1 against the spread and the over is 16-10 in preseason games Daniel’s played in.

    The Saints reacquired Daniel this offseason and he’s listed as their No. 1 backup to Brees.

    Knowing who else qualifies as a so-so starter but a sensational performer in the preseason can be valuable information for NFL bettors this August.

    Here’s a quick look at three other backup QBs who shine brightest this time of year. One additional note here - quarterbacks who have been starters for the majority of their careers were dismissed from qualifying in our list. Starters only play significant time in Week 3 and even then coaches appear to be lightening the number of snaps their No. 1 guys get.

    Colt McCoy

    Current team: Washington Redskins

    Preseason career stats: 92.8 QB rating, 68 percent completion percentage

    The former Texas Longhorn and Heisman finalist has carved out a career for himself as a reliable backup and spot starter in the pros. McCoy is entering his fourth season in Washington and he’s well versed in head coach Jay Gruden’s offense. The Redskins are 7-3 ATS in preseason games McCoy has appeared in.

    NFL teams are a collective 15-10 ATS and the over is 13-11-1 in preseason games McCoy has either started or played in.

    McCoy is listed as Washington No. 2 quarterback meaning he should get significant playing time this week when the ‘Skins play the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday. Washington is a 1-point road underdog and the total is 37.5.

    Luke McCown

    Current team: Dallas Cowboys

    Preseason career stats: 92.9 QB rating, 27 TD/7 INT*

    The asterisk is to indicate McCown stats only go back as far as 2007. He put up some numbers in the preseason in 2005 and 2006 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but that was before NFL stat guys thought it was a good idea to record the game logs in August games. What a bunch of amateurs.

    At any rate, McCown is the original gangsta when it comes to preseason excellence. He’s been compiling stats in pro exhibition contests since 2004 and his teams are 21-18-2 in games he’s made appearances in. The over is 24-17 in those 41 preseason games.

    McCown was signed by the Cowboys at the end of July to either slot in as their QB3 or to compete for the No. 2 spot behind starter Dak Prescott.

    McCown didn’t play for the ‘Boys in the Hall of Fame game but bettors should expect him to see some game action this week when Dallas visits Los Angeles to face the Rams on Saturday. Oddsmakers have the Cowboys as 2.5-point favorites with the total set at 37.5.

    AJ McCarron

    Current team: Cincinnati Bengals

    Preseason career stats: 99.4 QB rating, 7.7 yards per attempt

    McCarron, also known as Katherine Webb’s husband, is the new kid on the block with just two years of preseason action under his belt. He’s put up great numbers but the Bengals are 3-4 ATS and the over is 2-5 in McCarron’s seven preseason contests.

    Cincinnati is a 2-point favorite Friday against the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The total is set at 37.

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    Wednesday's (8-9-17) NFL preseason Week 1 betting primer and odds: Texans at Panthers

    Houston Texans at Carolina Panthers (-1.5, 36.5)

    The Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers kick off Week 1 of the NFL preseason with an exhibition matchup Wednesday night at Bank of America Stadium. While many feel betting the NFL preseason is the ultimate "degenerate" bet, we here are Covers want to help you out if you're itching to test the waters in these games that don't really matter.

    When it comes to quarterback play for the Texans, coach Bill O'Brien isn't saying much other than that all three of Tom Savage, rookie Deshaun Watson and veteran backup Brandon Weeden will play Wednesday, but it will be Savage making the start. O'Brien would not divulge on how much time each signal caller would spend under center.

    It should be noted that Savage has taken all the first team snaps so far during training camp and starters typically play no more than a drive or two in a preseason opener. However, Savage could see a few more snaps since he has only made two starts in his three-year career.

    On the other side of the ball for the Texans, J.J. Watt will play as well, but don't expect more than a series or two from the three-time Defensive Player of the Year award winner. Watt missed most of 2016 with a herniated disc.

    Meanwhile, Panthers starting quarterback and former MVP Cam Newton is likely out for this game. Newton suffered a setback in his recovery from shoulder surgery. Reports out of camp are saying he suffered the setback throwing in line drills on July 30th.

    Backup Derek Anderson will start in Newton's place, with Joe Webb and newcomer Garrett Gilbert expected to see plenty of action.

    While Newton won't play, we'll still get treated to the debut of Panthers' rookie running back Christian McCaffrey. He has been the talk of Panthers' camp, so keep an eye on the play-making back out of Stanford as we get a glimpse of how Carolina will employ him this season.

    TV:
    NFL Network 7:30 p.m. ET.

    LINE HISTORY:
    The Panthers opened this game favored by a field goal, but with the news coming out Newton won't play at all on Wednesday, Carolina has moved down to -1.5. The total, to no one's surprise, has dropped a point moving from 37 to 36.

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    Betting 101: Best ways to safely handicap the NFL preseason

    So you want to bet NFL preseason football, do you?

    Steering bettors away from the NFL’s unpredictable exhibition schedule is like trying to convince high school kids to wait until marriage, if you know what we mean. You aren’t going to convince them otherwise so you might as well preach about safe sex - or in this case safe betting habits.

    We break down the best ways to handicap the NFL preseason slate and hope you don’t lose your shirt – and pants – by the time Week 1 rolls around:

    Read everything

    The great thing about the NFL preseason is that books and bettors are on the same level. Coaches don’t reveal their plans until usually the day before a game, and by that time odds have been up for a while. If you catch an online presser or read a quote from a coach spilling the beans on his starters’ playing time, you can quickly get down before the lines adjust.

    Research is everything for preseason capping. Find out how many snaps the first teamers will get, what the focal point of the offseason is – offense or defense – and wager accordingly. Also, keep an eye on camp injuries or how veteran players are treating the tune-up games. Some star players go through the motions in August and ones limited by injuries won't risk going all out before the real games start.

    A team that is trying to establish some momentum on the ground will likely run the ball a lot – therefore keeping the clock ticking and the final score Under the total. If a team is trying to fill roster spots in the secondary and is plugging in rookies and inexperienced player in its pass defense, than perhaps look at the other team to air it out and exploit those weaknesses.

    QB depth

    Much the way starting pitchers make up 90 percent of baseball handicapping, quarterbacks hold a similar value when betting on the preseason. It’s the most important position on the field and can single-handedly make or break your bets.

    Finding a team with depth at quarterback is the key for success during the exhibition schedule. The No. 1 passer will likely only take a handful of snaps in the first two games of the preseason, turning the offense over to the backups.

    Look for teams with an experienced backup under center. Many clubs have veterans and former starters on the roster, guys who won’t be freaked out by the NFL’s big stage like rookie QBs and wet-behind-the-ears free agents. These vets can keep the chains moving and often excel against an opponent’s second and third-tier defense.

    New coaches and schemes

    The preseason is summer school for many NFL teams transitioning their playbook, whether that be with a new head coach, coordinator or just an overall flip in the way they do things.

    New head coaches aren’t necessarily a red flag. They can often feel a little pressured to win in the preseason in order to impress the front office and fan base, which can give some teams added betting value. New coordinators, on the other hand, are working in different plays and schemes, which usually come with a learning curve.

    Read up on how teams are adjusting to new systems and offenses, especially if there is a dramatic shift in gears, like speeding up with no-huddle attacks or going from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4. When these teams take on established coaches, who have implemented their systems for a while, there can be value going against those new faces on the sideline.

    Preseason lines

    Come the regular season, the infamous 3-point spread is everywhere. And while a field-goal line is a key number in football betting, it loses some of its stature in the preseason.

    Teams are more likely to go for a two-point conversion or try their luck on fourth-and-short in the preseason than play it safe. Not only do the games not matter, but a fourth down gamble or two-point attempt is an extra set for the offense as it works toward the regular season.

    Depending on how those rolls of the dice play out, the final score can either be closer than three points or well over it. It’s rare to see a preseason spread of more than three points with most bouncing between 1-2.5 points.

    Week to week

    For those looking to bet the closest facsimile of Week 1 action during the preseason, you may want to pass on the first two weeks of exhibitions and save your marbles for Week 3. That’s when starting players tend to log the most time, working the majority of the first half and sometimes into the third quarter.

    Week 1 and 2 often has first teams playing limited snaps – depending on the team’s situation – and Week 4 is pretty much a craps shoot. Coaches are making their final cuts, players are fighting to stay on the roster, and the coordinators are tightening the final nuts and bolts of their playbooks.

    For those bettors who like a challenge, Week 4 of the preseason could be the trickiest week of the entire NFL schedule – preseason, regular season and playoffs – to wager on.

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    Thursday's NFL preseason Week 1 betting primer and odds

    The NFL preseason gets into full swing Thursday night with seven games on the schedule, including the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots who will host the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars.

    Washington Redskins at Baltimore Ravens (-1, 37)

    * The Redskins will be missing some key members of their offensive unit as TE Jordan Reed, WR Josh Doctson, WR Jamison Crowder, and WR Kendal Thompson will all sit out Thursday with injuries. Running back Rob Kelley is dealing with a minor neck strain and, although he has not officially been ruled out, is also unlikely to play. If quarterback Kirk Cousin does set foot on the field it will only be for a series or two. The Skins know what they have in backup Colt McCoy so the bulk of the action is expected to go to No. 3 quarterback Nate Sudfeld.

    * Ravens' starting quarterback Joe Flacco is nursing a back injury and will not play Thursday night. The team is saying the ailment is relatively minor and he should be ready to play in Week 1 of the regular season, but he is unlikely to suit up at all during the preseason. Ryan Mallet will handle the starting quarterback responsibilities during the preseason and will likely play into the second quarter Thursday as the team works to get him as many starter reps as possible, just in case Flacco's injury lingers into the regular season.

    Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins (+1, 36)

    * We get to see our first glimpse of the Steve Sarkisian edition of the Falcon’s offense Thursday night in Miami. Now don’t expect too many changes considering the Falcons led the NFL in scoring (by a large margin) with 540 total points. Teams usually play their cards pretty close to the chest in the preseason, but we should get some insight into some of the new wrinkles Sarkisian will bring to the Atlanta attack. Unfortunately Julio Jones won’t be a part of that attack. The star wideout had a bunion removed this offseason and the Falcons won’t be pushing him into game action until at least Week 3.

    * There has been a lot of talk out of Dolphins camp this week about the arrival of quarterback Jay Cutler and how his arm has looked pretty good. However, it is unlikely that he will suit up for Thursday’s game. That means look for incumbent backup Matt Moore to do all he can to prove he should still get a chance for this Dolphins team. Running back Jay Ajayi and lineman Jeremy Tunsil are both expected to miss Thursday’s contest.

    New Orleans Saints at Cleveland Browns (-3, 38)

    * Starting quarterback Drew Brees and newly acquired superstar running back Adrian Peterson will both sit out Thursday's game in Cleveland. The New Orleans offense should not be an issue this season as they ranked second in the NFL in scoring offense last season and first in passing offense. They will, however, put an emphasis on the defensive side of the ball during the preseason.

    * Browns head coach Hue Jackson named Brock Osweiler the starting quarterback for preseason Week 1, but made no guarantees moving forward. Jackson also publicly stated his desire to win this preseason. "I want to win them all if I can. We need to go out and play good in front of our fans and go win." Osweiler will play two or three series' and rookie DeShone Kizer is expected to play the entire second half. Rookie defensive end Myles Garrett and fellow rookie defender Jabrill Peppers are both looking to make a major impact in Thursday's contest.

    Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills (+2, 36.5)

    * Rookie running back Dalvin Cook has already been named the Vikings starter, according to their first official depth chart and he will be the featured back on Thursday. Offseason acquisition and former Raider, Latavius Murray has been ruled out for this game. Expect to see Cook play for about a quarter in the Vikings first game.

    * Bills fans will get a bit of a treat in their preseason opener, as head coach Sean McDermott told reporters that the team’s starters will play “about a quarter, give or take.” That is much more than the regular series or two most NFL starters play in a preseason opener. That includes wide receiver Sammy Watkins.

    Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots (-3.5, 40.5)

    * The Branden Albert stuff in Jacksonville is just plain weird, but the Jaguars have questions to answer at offensive line, especially if they are truly changing their offensive philosophy in 2017. We should get a little bit of a glimpse of this Thursday night as first round pick Leonard Fournette is set to make his NFL debut. But it all comes down to Blake Bortles for the Jags, check to see if his footwork looks at all improved in their preseason opener. If not, it could be another long season in Jacksonville.

    * Tell me if you guessed this, the Patriots do not care about the preseason. Reports heading into this game are that a number of key starters won’t play at all; including Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman and Mike Gillislee. That means Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett will split the majority of the snaps Thursday. Both have starting experience due to the Brady suspension, but both need a strong showing after a rough start to camp. Keep an eye out for how the Pats use new tight end Dwayne Allen in this game.

    Denver Broncos at Chicago Bears (+1, 35.5)

    * Denver travels to Chicago for their preseason opener to take on an Bears team led by former Broncos' head coach John Fox. The Broncos are strong at every position on the football field, except the most important one - quarterback. Denver has to figure out whether they are going to enter the season with Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch as their starter. Reports are that neither player has performed well at camp and both will see significant reps Thursday night.

    * All three quarterbacks on the Bears' roster are newcomers to the team and they will all see some time on the field in order to get more familiar with Dowell Loggains' offensive system. Mike Glennon will likely play two or three series' followed by some combination of Mark Sanchez (listed as No. 2 on the team's depth chart) and first round draft pick Mitchell Trubisky for the remainder of the football game.

    Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers (-1, 38.5)

    * The Eagles' starting offense is expected to play one or two series' against the Packers in Green Bay on Thursday night. That "starting offense" will include quarterback Carson Wentz but will likely not include newly acquired wide receiver Alshon Jeffery who is nursing a sore shoulder. After Wentz is done the rest of the game will likely be shared by Matt McGloin and Dane Evans. The Eagles are looking for big things from rookie first round pick Derek Barnett at defensive end and expect him to get into the backfield several times in this game.

    * Packers' starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers will not play Thursday night against the Eagles and the throwing duties will be shared by Brett Hundley, Joe Callahan, and undrafted rookie free agent Taysom Hill...in that order. Rodgers will be joined on the sidelines by wide receiver Jordy Nelson, who tore his ACL in a Packers' preseason game back in 2015 - no need to tempt fate there.

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    Friday's NFL preseason Week 1 betting primer and odds

    The stars of NFL Hard Knocks take the field on Friday against the New York Giants. Bucs QB Jameis Winton is expected to play the entire first quarter along with his fellow first team starters.

    Week 1 of the NFL preseason continues with three games to keep pro football bettors busy on Friday night. Here are some notes you need to know before getting in on the action.

    Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants (-3.5, 37)

    Steelers

    There will be a lot of missing firepower for the Steelers. Running back Le’Veon Bell is a camp holdout while QB Ben Roethlisberger and All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown are both ruled out for Friday’s game. Backup signal caller Landry Jones is hurt and won’t suit up either.

    Rookie fourth round pick Joshua Dobbs will get the start at quarterback and he’ll be backed up by undrafted free agent Bart Houston.

    Giants

    Head coach Ben McAdoo, who looks like divorce according to the Dan Le Batard Show, hinted his plan for playing time should mirror how the Giants proceeded in Week 1 of the preseason last year. Eli Manning and Odell Beckham both didn’t play in that game.

    Expect to see the quarterback snaps shared between Josh Jackson, ex-Jet Geno Smith and rookie Davis Webb. The job for Manning’s top backup is undecided and up for grabs.

    Line moves

    The G-Men opened as 2.5-point favorites but the line moved past the key number up to 3.5. The total also moved down 1.5 points from the opening number of 38.5.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cincinnati Bengals (-2, 37)

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay will play all healthy players according to HC Dirk Koetter. He told reporters his starters will play the first quarter before giving way to the reserves. That means bettors will get to see how the Bucs offense will look with new additions WR Desean Jackson and rookie TE O.J. Howard.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Griffin and rookie Sefo Liufau complete the QB rotation after starter Jameis Winston.

    Bengals

    Head coach Marvin Lewis is back to work after having some work done on his knee. As for his playing time for his players in Friday’s preseason, Lewis isn’t giving reporters much to report on. He says some starters will play and some won’t.

    Judging by his decisions in years' past, bettors should expect the starters to play one series before the backups take over the game.

    Line moves

    No movement on the spread but the total opened at 38 but has been bet down to 37.

    San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs (-4, 37.5)

    Niners

    The 49ers QB rotation against the Chiefs will go Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley and rookie third rounder C.J. Beathard will finish the game off. One thing to mention: beat reporter Grant Cohn was critical of San Fran's practices this week and new coach Kyle Shanahan’s lack of discipline.

    Chiefs

    The Chiefs will play their starters for the first quarter including quarterback Alex Smith. Fifth-year backup QB Tyler Bray will play the second quarter while rookie first round pick Patrick Mahomes II will get mop-up duty in the second half.

    Line moves

    KC opened as 4.5-point chalk but have been bet down half a point.

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    Saturday’s NFL preseason Week 1 betting primer and odds

    The New York Jets' path to figuring out who their starting quarterback will be come Week 1 begins on Saturday with their preseason game against the Tennessee Titans.

    Oakland Raiders at Arizona Cardinals (-3, 39.5)

    Raiders

    Head coach Jack Del Rio won’t say exactly how much time his starters will see but bettors can assume injured stars Amari Cooper and Khalid Mack both won’t play. Del Rio also hinted veteran running back Marshawn Lynch won’t see much – if any – action in the preseason.

    Starting QB Derek Carr is coming off an excellent season totaling 28 TDs and almost 4000 passing yards. He’s also coming off a broken leg he suffered at the end of last year. Don’t expect much playing time for the established star player.

    That means lots of Connor Cook and former Buffalo Bills first round pick EJ Manuel under center for the Raiders in their first preseason game.

    Cardinals

    Carson Palmer and the rest of the Arizona Cardinals first teamers will start and are expected to play about 15 snaps. Of note, Palmer threw just once in full practice this week according to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic. Head coach Bruce Arians wants his 37-year-old QB to be rested and ready for the start of the regular season.

    Backup QB Drew Stanton is expected to play the second quarter while Blaine Gabbert, who was impressive for the Cards in the Hall of Fame Game, will take all the snaps in the second half.

    Line moves

    The spread and total are both holding steady. Worth noting the 39.5 Over/Under line is tied for the highest number set in the preseason this year.

    Tennessee Titans at New York Jets (+3, 37)

    Titans

    Head coach Mike Mularkey hasn’t said exactly how much time his first teamers will get, but starting quarterback Marcus Mariota is expected to play the first series or two in this game. First round pick wideout Corey Davis will not play because of a sore hamstring.

    Matt Cassel and Alex Tanney should split the reminder of the snaps under center after Mariota makes his exit. Cassel is the incumbent backup quarterback but reporters close to the team suggest Tanney has a shot at dethroning Cassel from the No. 2 spot on the depth chart.

    Jets

    It’s a three-man race for the starting quarterback job according to head coach Todd Bowles. That means Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty are auditioning through their performances in preseason for the starting job.

    Expect McCown to start followed by Hackenberg and then Petty.

    Line moves

    The Jets opened as 2.5-point home dogs but have been bet up to +3. The total, meanwhile, moved down half a point from 37.5 to 37.

    Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams (+3, 37.5)

    Cowboys

    There’s not much news out about how long the Cowboys starters will play on Saturday. Dallas beat writers are busy reporting on the effect of star running back Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension will have on the team moving forward.

    None of the Cowboys’ starters played in the Hall of Fame Game a week ago, so we should be safe to speculate on the first stringers seeing at least a series on Saturday.

    Rams

    The Rams are in a similar position where there big team news is not what’s going on the field. Los Angeles traded cornerback E.J. Gaines to the Buffalo Bills for former fourth overall pick Sammy Watkins. Watkins won't suit up for this game obviously and neither will holdout defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

    Second year signal caller Jared Goff is expected to start while Sean Mannion and Dan Orlovsky will back him up. Talk about an underwhelming trio. Orlovsky was signed just before the Rams opened their training camp last month.

    Line moves

    The Cowboys opened as 2.5-point road favorites but have been bet up to -3. The total is set at 37.5

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    Sunday’s NFL Preseason Week 1 Betting Primer And Odds

    Scott Tolzien is almost 30 and has appeared in just nine regular-season games in his seven seasons, with just three starts.

    Detroit Lions at Indianapolis Colts (PK, 36)

    Lions

    Matt Stafford played one series before sitting down in last season’s preseason opener and might not even get that this year. Question marks at left tackle after Taylor Decker suffered a shoulder injury during the team’s offseason program in June has left a big hole in Stafford’s protection. With Greg Robinson, Storm Norton and/or Cyrus Kouandjio still learning the system the Lions might be reluctant to let their franchise quarterback onto the field in their first preseason game. Jake Rudock and Brad Kaaya are expected to get most of the reps at quarterback. In the battle to be Stafford’s back-up in Week 1.

    Lions rookie receiver Kenny Golladay has been generating a lot of buzz at camp and look for him to get a lot of reps. Lions coaches are trying to figure out if the third-round pick can prove worthy of the hype and matching him against unfamiliar competition is the next step in his evaluation.

    Colts

    The Colts have a unique problem, Scott Tolzien is their starting quarterback until Pro Bowler Andrew Luck returns from offseason shoulder surgery. However, Tolzien has only appeared in nine regular-season games in his seven NFL season and needs to take some snaps in game-conditions. Head coach Chuck Pagano has said they will treat Tolzien as the teams starter, then quickly contradicted saying Tolzien needs to play. He will get the start, but for one series or one quarter is still up in the air.

    Expect to see the remaining snaps shared between undrafted free agent from Temple Philip Walker and former Miami Hurricane Stephen Morris.

    Line Moves

    The Lions opened as 1-point road chalk and the line has yet to move off the opening number. The total opened at 37.5 and has been bet down a full point to 36.5.

    Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Chargers (-2, 37.5)

    Seahawks

    Russell Wilson is expected to get the start and play the usual series or two that starters generally get in the preseason opener and rest the remainder of the game. The majority of the remaining snaps belong to second-year TCU grad Trevone Boykin and recent signee Austin Davis. Boykin is the incumbent backup but maturity questions arose after he was arrested in March for marijuana possession and public intoxication. Reports are that neither has distanced themselves at camp in the battle for the backup spot.

    The Seahawks rushing attack of Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy, and C.J. Prosise are all expected to play Sunday. Other offensive weapons Luke Wilson and Doug Baldwin are expected to sit out because of health reasons.

    Chargers

    The first-team offense and defence are going to see some game-action as coordinators Ken Whisenhunt and Gus Bradley want to see how some of the newest Chargers react. Both units have been overhauled from last season, the offensive line is expected to have three new starters come Week 1. The defensive scheme under Bradley is switching over to a 4-3 defense and game time reps will show which players are understanding the philosophy.

    When it comes to quarterback play, Philip Rivers has the 4th longest consecutive starts streak all-time with 185 starts and is the franchise guy. After that things get really interesting for the Chargers. Kellen Clemens is the incumbent and until a few weeks ago was expected to retain his job as no. 2. That was until Cardale Jones was acquired from the Buffalo Bills. New Chargers coach has been singing Jones praise during camp.

    Captain Obvious here, Antonio Gates is expected to sit out the preseason.

    Line Moves

    The Chargers opened as 1.5-point home favorites and that line has been bet up to an even 2. The total hit the betting board at 37.5 and has yet to move off that number.

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    Thursday's NFL preseason Week 2 primer and odds

    Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles is having the training camp from hell. His receivers are showing him up and his head coach doesn't seem to have much faith in him.

    With every week we get deeper into the preseason, the closer we get to real football.

    The common practice for playing time in Week 2 of the exhibition calendar is for the starters to play the first quarter with the backups playing the second quarter and the scrubs fighting for roster spots playing the second half.

    Not all teams follow this staple and that’s why we’re going long to find any nuggets to help our readers gain an edge over this book when betting on the NFL preseason on Thursday.

    Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins (-3, 38)

    Ravens

    Starting quarterback Joe Flacco is out for all of preseason with a bad back meaning bettors will see lots of Ryan Mallett. The Ravens’ de facto No. 1 QB hasn’t impressed in training camp and wasn’t much better in his Week 1 preseason appearance. Mallett completed nine of 18 passes for 58 yards and an average of 3.2 yards per attempt.

    Baltimore cut Dustin Vaughan, the guy behind Mallett on the depth chart, and signed veteran Thad Lewis as his replacement. Mallett, Lewis and Josh Woodrum will get all the snaps on Thursday against the Dolphins.

    Dolphins

    Jay "smoke 'em if you got ‘em" Cutler makes his debut for the Fish on Thursday. The retread QB, formerly of the Bears and Broncos, will start against the Ravens and is expected to play a couple series maybe even all the first quarter.

    Matt Moore, who started last week under center, is not expected to get much action this week. Coach Adam Gase is worried about over-extending his 33-year-old veteran.

    That leaves Brandon Doughty and David Fales to split the remaining snaps once Culter completes his cameo. Fales went 8-for-17 on his pass attempts and racked up 184 yards and two TDs to one INT last week. Doughty completed seven of his 12 pass attempts and totaled 69 yards through the air with one touchdown pass and one interception.

    Miami beat reporters suggest starting running back Jay Ajayi might not play as he is still recovering from a concussion suffered earlier in camp.

    Line moves

    The total opened at 39.5 but has been bet down to 38 while the Fish have gone from 2.5-point favorites to 3-point chalk.

    Buffalo Bills at Philadelphia Eagles (-4, 39.5)

    Bills

    Buffalo fans are still spinning following the two trades their team made last week shipping its best wide receiver and cornerback out of town. One of the players the Bills got back in the trades, WR Jordan Matthews, is a bit banged up and isn’t expected to play for the rest of the preseason. Ditto for starting left tackle Cordy Glenn.

    Rookie QB Nathan Peterman has overtaken T.J. Yates as the team’s top backup under center. Tyrod Taylor will start and play most of the first quarter before giving way to Peterman and Yates.

    Eagles

    Philly head coach Doug Pederson says his plan for playing time should mirror Week 1 when the starters got one series before heading to the sidelines. Pederson says he might extend their playing time to two drives, but no more.

    The Eagles released veteran running back Ryan Matthews earlier this week, clearing the path for LeGarrette Blount to the top of the depth chart.

    New wideout Alshon Jeffery is expected to make his first preseason appearance for the Eagles on Thursday, although, Pederson hinted he’d like to see his team do a better job of establishing the run game. Philly picked up just 47 yards on the ground last week on 19 carries against the Green Bay Packers.

    Line moves

    The spread and total are both holding steady to their opening numbers.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Jacksonville Jaguars (Pick’em, 40.5)

    Buccaneers

    The Bucs’ starters are expected to play the entire first half against the Jags. Don’t expect wideout Desean Jackson to suit up though, the free agent signee was limited in practice on Tuesday because of a sore ankle.

    Tampa will be working in a new kicker after the team cut former 2016 second rounder Roberto Aguayo.

    Jaguars

    Things aren’t going well for the Jags and we’re just a week into preseason. Starting running back Leonard Fournette will not play against TB because of a foot injury.

    Meanwhile starting quarterback Blake Bortles is having a disastrous training camp. He’s tossed two picks in practice over the weekend before head coach Doug Marrone yanked him. Marrone had Bortles sit out more sessions because he said he thought his QB’s arm looked tired. Bortles says his arm is fine.

    Awkward.

    There have already been a couple videos going viral from practice where Jags receivers can be heard voicing their frustration with the throws they’re getting from Bortles.

    Line moves

    The total has moved down half a point to 40.5 while the spread when from Jags -1.5 to pick’em.

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    Friday’s NFL preseason Week 2 primer and odds

    Rookie running back Dalvin Cook could be a big part of the Vikings' offense this season. He hopes to help Minnesota build on an already impressive preseason record under head coach Mike Zimmer.

    The lone Friday Week 2 NFL preseason game sees the Minnesota Vikings visit the Seattle Seahawks. How long will there be players on the field with names we all know?

    Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks (-3, 40.5)

    About the Vikings


    The Vikings improved to 13-1 straight up and 12-2 against the spread in the preseason under head coach Mike Zimmer after last week’s 17-10 win over the Buffalo Bills.

    “At the end of the day, does it matter? No,” Zimmer told Minnesota reporters after being asked about his record in exhibition games. “But I think the competitive nature of your team, especially if you’ve got a young team getting used to winning — that’s good. I know the record. We don’t really go out of our way to win, but I like to win, yeah.”

    Zimmer expressed concern about seeing a lot of NFL starters pick up injuries – some season-ending – in the first week of the preseason. The Vikes head coach would also like to see something more production from his first teamers last week.

    Sam Bradford and Company picked up just one first down in three series. Expect the starters to play at least for the full first quarter for the Vikings.

    Case Keenum and Taylor Heinicke are battling for right to be Bradford’s backup. Keenum is No. 2 on the depth chart as it stands and he had a strong showing last week against the Buffalo Bills.

    About the Seahawks

    Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is not talking about playing time for his starters against the Vikings. Carroll kept Russell Wilson and the rest of the first teamers out for the entire first half against these same Vikings in Week 2 of the preseason last year.

    Carroll used the same strategy in Week 2 of the 2015 and 2014 preseasons as well.

    Seattle put up 48 points on the scoreboard against the San Diego Chargers, by far the most points scored in Week 1 of the preseason. Backup quarterbacks Trevone Boykins and Austin Davis had a lot to do with all those points.

    Boykins is fighting for his job as the team’s backup QB because of some problems off the field and because of the play of veteran Austin Davis. The two should split snaps again in the second half against Minnesota.

    Players to watch for fantasy football fanatics

    Thomas Rawls, RB Seahawks

    Eddie Lacy was signed in the offseason but news out of Seattle’s camp is that the No. 1 RB job is Rawls’ to lose.

    Dalvin Cook, RB Vikings

    The rookie out of Florida State’s average fantasy draft position is in the late third round but he could way outperform that ranking. Anyone who saw him play in college knows he’s got moves and should be a real weapon in the passing game – particularly in an offense led by "captain check down".

    Line moves

    The spread is holding to its opening number at Seattle -3 while the Over/Under line has dropped half a point to 40.

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    Saturday’s NFL preseason primer and odds

    Oakland Raiders starting QB Derek Carr makes his first preseason appearance this season on Saturday againt the Rams. It'll be Carr's first live game action since breaking his leg at the end of last season.

    The bulk of the NFL Week 2 preseason action takes place on Saturday with nine games in the mix. Find out which teams are leaving their starters are longer and which ones will be resting their best players.

    Carolina Panthers at Tennessee Titans (-3, 41)

    Panthers

    Head coach Ron Rivera isn’t commenting on whether or not Cam Newton will make his first preseason appearance. Newton had surgery on his throwing shoulder in the offseason and the Panthers have been conservative with their use of Newton in training camp.

    Derek Anderson will run out with the starters again if Newton isn’t active for Saturday’s game. Anderson completed four of five passes for 78 yards and a touchdown in limited action Week 1 against the Houston Texans. Joe Webb will back up Anderson again for the Panthers.

    Carolina starters are expected to play for the first two quarters before giving way to the backups in the second half.

    Titans

    The good news for Tennessee fans is that Marcus Mariota looks completely recovered from breaking his leg last season. The bad news is his top two receivers are getting many first team reps because of injuries. Rookie Corey Davis is still week to week with a bum hamstring and veteran Eric Decker because of a sprained ankle.

    Tennessee starters are expected to play the first half against the Panthers and the group is hoping to move the ball a lot better than it did against the sad-sack Jets last week.

    Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals (+2.5, 39.5)

    Chiefs

    Kansas City turned some heads when the club traded up in the first round to draft a quarterback. The Chiefs were coming off a 12-4 campaign with respectable service from veteran QB Alex Smith.

    Smith is still No. 1 on the depth chart and he’ll get all the first team reps for the duration of the first half against the Bengals. Rookie QB Patrick Mahomes will play the third quarter and Tyler Bray will play the fourth.

    Bengals

    The Bengals don’t play their starters as long as most teams in the second week of the preseason which explains the pointspread here with the home team catching almost three points.
    Starting quarterback Andy Dalton is expected to play the first two offensive series and backup A.J. McCarron will play the next two to three after Dalton’s departure. That leaves third stringer Jeff Driskel seeing the majority of action on the offensive side of the ball.

    Driskel complete eight of his nine pass attempts for 97 yards and a touchdown last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Indianapolis Colts at Dallas Cowboys (-5.5)

    Colts

    The news is not good coming out of Colts training camp. Franchise quarterback Andrew Luck was already ruled out for the preseason and now it’s beginning to sound like he’ll miss Week 1 of the regular season against the Los Angeles Rams. Starting center Ryan Kelly hurt his foot this week in practice and will miss the next six to eight weeks.

    Indy reporters are saying the offense has looked bad every day in training camp, which sounds like votes of no confidence in quarterbacks Scott Tolzien and Stephen Morris.

    Cowboys

    Dallas is expected to play its starters a few series on Saturday and we will see the preseason debut of receiver Dez Bryant. Ezekiel Elliot, however, is not expected to play.

    Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins (-3.5, 39.5)

    Packers

    Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers is not expected to take a preseason snap until Week 3, meaning Washington will face Brett Hundley and Joe Callahan and not the greatest quarterback who ever lived.

    Starting running back Ty Montgomery is also not expected to play because of a leg injury.

    Redskins

    Washington head coach Jay Gruden isn’t saying specifically how much time his starters will play on Saturday. He did go as far to say his first team offense would get more than the six plays the unit saw last week.

    New York Jets at Detroit Lions (-5.5, 38)

    Jets

    A week ago Jets coach Todd Bowles said the competition for the starting quarterback job was wide open. After the first week of the preseason it appears it’s down to veteran Josh McCown and youngster Christian Hackenberg. McCown is expected to start against the Lions with Hackenberg backing him up.

    Running back Bilal Powell is expected to play however veteran RB Matt Forte will not suit up.

    Lions

    The Lions are expected to give their starters two to three series against the Jets on Saturday. Detroit had 14 active players miss practice on Thursday due to injury including starting tight end Eric Ebron.

    New England Patriots at Houston Texans (-1.5, 41)

    Patriots

    New England coach Bill Belichick is staying quiet on whether starting quarterback and newly turned 40-year-old Tom Brady will play on Saturday. Brady didn’t make his preseason debut until Week 3 last year.

    Backup Jimmy Garoppolo put up big numbers in an extending outing last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Third-stringer Jacoby Brissett was no slouch in the second half either.

    Texans

    Tom Savage is still at the top of the QB depth chart for Houston which means he’ll get the start against the Patriots. Texans fans would rather see more from backup and first round pick Deshawn Watson under center. Watson got a chunk of reps with the first team offense during practice last week.

    Houston is banged up at receiver. Will Fuller is out unit mid-season and Braxton Miller is nursing a sore ankle.

    Chicago Bears at Arizona Cardinals (-3, 40.5)

    Bears

    Chicago fans might not want to check into Saturday’s game until the fourth quarter when third overall pick in last year’s draft QB Mitchell Trubisky takes the field. Head coach John Fox is sticking with his QB rotation going with Mike Glennon followed first by Mark Sanchez and finally the rookie out of UNC, Trubisky.

    Cardinals

    Head coach Bruce Arians says his starters will be on the field for the first quarter but no more than 20 plays. QB Carson Palmer, WR Larry Fitzgerald and RB David Johnson are all expected to play.

    Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers (-2.5, 39.5)

    Broncos

    The Broncos still don’t know who they’re going to start at quarterback in Week 1 of the regular season but it’s beginning to look more and more like it is Paxton Lynch’s job to lose.
    Lynch, a former first round pick from 2016, took the majority of first team snaps at practice this week and he will start for Denver against the 49ers on Saturday. Last year’s starter Trevor Siemian will back him up and Kyle Sloter will get the mop-up duty.

    49ers

    San Fran’s starters are expected to get 20 snaps of action Saturday against Denver. Brian Hoyer will lead the first teamers while rookie third round pick C.J. Beathard will take over backup duties from Matt Barkley.

    Los Angeles Rams at Oakland Raiders (-3, 39.5)

    Rams

    The first team offense and defense are both expected to play all of the first quarter including newly acquired wideout Sammy Watkins. After QB Jared Goff and the rest of starters take the pine, the offense will be led by Sean Mannion and finally Dan Orlovsky.

    Raiders

    Starting quarterback Derek Carr will start and won’t see the hook until early or even late in the second quarter. EJ Manuel will be next in line to take the snaps for the Oakland offense and he be followed by Connor Cook.

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