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Thread: NFL Preseason Trends - Week 2

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    Default NFL Preseason Trends - Week 2

    NFL Preseason Betting Stats through Week 1

    Betting Favorites: 9-7 Straight Up, 8-7-1 Against The Spread
    Home Favorites: 9-4 SU, 8-4-1 ATS
    Road Favorites: 0-3 SU, 0-3 ATS

    Over/Under: 9-6-1

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    Hot & Not Report - Week 2
    Matt Blunt

    The first full week of NFL preseason action has come and gone, and it was a solid one for those of you willing to follow last week's breakdown – at least against the closing line – as the NFC North teams discussed (Detroit, Green Bay, Minnesota) went 2-1 ATS vs the closing number, while fading those teams from LA swept the board (2-0 ATS).

    Week 2 of the preseason is where we get to see starters on the field for a much longer period of time (typically at least one quarter or more), although some teams have been moving towards using this game as more of a “dress rehearsal” type in recent years too. Make sure to keep your eyes and ears open for any announcements that head coaches make regarding prospective playing time this week as typically when that news comes out it ends up being a rush to the window for bettors to grab what they believe to be the best numbers currently out there. As of now, the bulk of the games this week have point spreads below the -4 threshold, but don't expect that to hold as the week goes on.

    So in a similar style to last week's piece, this week deals with preseason Week 2 trends for a few teams across the league, and if you are a football fan, young or old, of those teams with connections to the great state of Texas, it's with those organizations that you may want to start with this week.

    Who's Hot

    “Youngest” team in Texas brings home the Week 2 cash

    Houston Texans 6-1 ATS last seven years in Week 2 of the Preseason


    When I say “youngest”, I'm not referring to the average age of the players in a Houston uniform, but the time they've existed in pro football. The Houston Texans turn 20 years old this year since being awarded their expansion franchise back in 1999, but they didn't hit the football field until 2002 when they forced the league into realignment. And while there have been some extreme highs and lows for this organization during those 17 years on the football field, they've found much more consistency this decade.

    Starting with the 2011 campaign, Houston has won the AFC South division crown five different times, finished 2nd once, and bottomed out with a last-place finish twice. It's not like you can paint a picture of Week 2 success in the preseason as a calling card to many of those successful years, but they are one of the best in the NFL right now at covering the spread during this week of action. They've won this game outright in three straight years, and given the fight we saw from them late last week in Green Bay – covering earlier, non-closing numbers of +2.5 vs the Packers – we could possibly see a complete effort from every group on the depth chart this week.

    Oddsmakers are aware of this trend as well apparently, as they are one of the select few teams currently lined at -4.5 this week, as they host a Detroit Lions team that looked as disinterested as a team could be in Week 1. Lions HC Matt Patricia does come from that New England Patriots way of life and preseason has never been a priority for that franchise, and when you pair that result with Houston being a great Week 2 team, if you are going to back the Texans this week, it's best to do it sooner rather then later.

    Who's Not

    “Older” teams with ties to the state of Texas

    Dallas Cowboys 1-8 ATS last nine years in Week 2, Kansas City Chiefs 2-14 ATS last 16 years in Week 2


    Speaking of “Texans”, the Kansas City Chiefs started out as the Dallas Texans way back in the start of the AFL, and played their three years before owner Lamar Hunt moved them on to Kansas City. Since then they've long since established a connection to the city of Kansas City, and with how much this team has won, but ultimately come up short in the modern era, there is never a shortage of high hopes for the Chiefs each year. That's especially true this year with them arguably being a literal coin flip away from a Super Bowl appearance last season, and there are plenty of lofty expectations thrust upon them in 2019 because of that result.

    But the team that originated in Dallas is not one I'd be looking to back this week, as a 2-14 ATS run in these Week 2 games is nothing but fade material.

    Kansas City looked great from top to bottom in their Week 1 dismantling of Cincinnati, as the Chiefs scored a TD in every quarter en route to the 38-17 win. Four different QB's saw action with starter Patrick Mahomes going a perfect 4-for-4 throwing (66 yards) before getting pulled, and while he will see more action against Pittsburgh this week, the team is likely to still be very cautious with him in numerous ways (how long he stays out and their play-calling).

    At the same time, I don't believe we see Chase Litton go 11-for-15 for 122 yards and 2 TD's again, while Kyle Shurmur's 6-for-15 is probably right in line with what to expect from a better Pittsburgh defense. Considering this 2-14 ATS run does include two straight wins in Week 2 the past two seasons, there is a case to be made that it's a new era in Chiefs-land during this week, but I'd much prefer to back the larger sample size here and go against them, especially at the current 'pick'em' price.

    In the Dallas Cowboys case, they have got nothing but support early this week, as an opening line of +3 as visitors against the Rams, quickly turned to a 'pick'em' before continuing to see even more action and now currently sitting at the Cowboys laying -2.5 points. That's such a huge swing regardless of history and has to be taken with some respect, however, at the same time, history suggests that the Cowboys never do all that well during Week 2, and now you are getting a great price to fade them in this spot.

    Granted, that would mean backing a LA Rams team that showed last week they've got little interest in being competitive in the preseason, as they understand it's all about staying healthy and depth evaluation right now. They aren't going to be a team many will run to the window to back, but it's highly plausible that we see Dallas end up winning this game by two or less points, allowing all that early Dallas money to cash, while the steam chasers on Dallas at -2.5 (or more) end up getting left in the dark.

    That Cowboys are also 1-7 SU the past eight years during Week 2 of the preseason, and have lost those seven games by an average of 8.7 points. With where the current price is now, a loss of any nature would be detrimental to the bankrolls of Cowboys backers yet to confirm their wager, and for as disinterested as the Rams looked last week, if this line gets to +3 on LA, you've probably got to side with history and look to fade the Cowboys once again.

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    Thursday's Preseason Essentials
    Tony Mejia

    Note: Quarterback rotation subject to change.

    Eagles at Jaguars (-3, 35) - 7:00 PM EST

    Phildadelphia
    Head Coach: Doug Pederson (7-6 SU, 7-6 ATS in season)
    Quarterback Rotation: Cody Kessler, Clayton Thorson (R)

    Anyone looking to watch Nick Foles try to match Carson Wentz for even a series is going to be awfully disappointed. After neither played in Week 1, both projected starters are expected to watch from the sidelines in Jacksonville too. Nate Sudfeld got his wrist broken after a late hit against Tennessee last week, so Kessler and Thorson will be at the controls here. Pedersen is 2-1 in Week 2 of the preseason and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will likely want to see more from a unit that got lit up by the Titans.

    Jacksonville
    Head Coach: Doug Marrone (8-9 SU, 7-8-2 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Gardner Minshew, Tanner Lee, Alex McGough

    Minshew saw the bulk of the work as the Jags were shut out by the Ravens, so the expectation is he'll play at least the first half on Thursday. Marrone has already given Jags' fans the heads up that they won't see any starters in this second contest, but the hope is that the backups will be much better than they were up in Baltimore. First-round pick Josh Allen will look to be a disruptive force up front. Marrone has split his four Week 2 preseason games and has seen 11 of his 18 go 'under.'

    Jets (-1 ½, 44 ½) at Falcons - 7:30 PM EST

    N.Y. Jets
    Head Coach: Adam Gase (5-8 SU, 5-8 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Sam Darnold, Trevor Siemian, Davis Webb, Luke Falk

    New defensive coordinator Gregg Williams blitzes in exhibitions and wasn't at all thrilled that he couldn't get home and his defensive backs got carved up by the Giants last week. This will be a huge opportunity for guys looking to impress on that side of the ball. Sam Darnold's entire projected started interior line won't play, so it remains to be seen whether he plays more than a series. New kicker Tyler Bertolet will look to solidify his hold on the gig after Chandler Catanzaro retired. The 'over' is 9-3-1 in Gase's 13 preseason contests as head coach of the Dolphins and Jets. He was 0-3 in Week 2 contests with Miami.

    Washington jumped out to a solid 6-3 start before quarterback Alex Smith's gruesome leg injury in a home loss to Houston. The Redskins spun out of control and lost six of their final seven games to finish below .500. The quarterback of the future for Washington is former Ohio State standout Dwayne Haskins, as the Redskins look to finish above third place in the NFC East for the first time since winning the division in 2015. Washington has lost three consecutive preseason openers, while losing four of the past six road exhibition contests.

    Atlanta
    Head Coach: Dan Quinn (5-13 SU, 4-14 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, Matt Simms

    The Falcons dropped the Hall of Fame Game in addition to last week's high-scoring contest in Miami, so this is Quinn's third look at his team in a game setting. A few offensive linemen are missing too, but Matt Ryan will debut and is likely going to play into the second quarter. Simms, who was signed when Kurt Benkert went on IR, should mop up ahead of WR/QB Daniel Etling, who was just claimed after being waived by New England. Quinn is 0-4 in the third preseason game and carries a 10-game preseason losing streak into this game, last winning on Sept. 1, 2016. The under is 6-11-1 in his preseason games.

    Bengals at Redskins (-3, 41) - 7:30 PM EST

    Cincinnati
    Head Coach: Zac Taylor (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Andy Dalton, Jeff Driskel, Ryan Finley (R), Jake Dolegala (R)

    The Chiefs routed the Bengals last week to spoil Taylor's debut, but the head coach did see a few bright spots, which included Finley showing out and climbing into the primary backup role ahead of Driskel, who has started getting reps at receiver. Dalton led a drive for a TD against the Chiefs and should be in for a longer stint with backs Joe Mixon, Giovani Bernard and Trayveon Williams all expected to play through ailments. New defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo saw the first-team defense get overwhelmed by Kansas City, which ended up scoring 38 points in making the entire unit look porous. It will be interesting if communication improves as they look to handle a second straight road game.

    Washington
    Head Coach: Jay Gruden (12-9 SU, 11-10 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Case Keenum, Dwayne Haskins (Rookie), Jalan McClendon

    The 'Skins still don't have Colt McCoy (leg soreness) available and lost Josh Woodrum to a torn pectoral muscle, so with McClendon signing this week, it's expected that Keenum and Haskins will get all the snaps as they try and impress in order to secure a starting that spot that looks up for grabs. Haskins, the No. 15 pick, sabotaged an effective debut with costly turnovers, so he'll be among Thursday's most scrutinized subjects. New OC Kevin O'Connell is considered a lock to be a future head coach and is calling plays while working with Haskins, so he should take some shots against the Bengals despite holes along the offensive line. Gruden has won four of five Week 2 games and is 7-3 SU at home in the preseason.

    Packers at Ravens (-4, 37) - 7:30 PM EST

    Green Bay
    Head Coach: Matt LeFleur (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Aaron Rodgers, DeShone Kizer, Tim Boyle, Manny Wilkins (R)

    Rodgers is expected to play about a quarter, debuting for the first time with LeFleur calling the plays into the future Hall of Famer. We'll see how their relationship evolves, but Rodgers is likely to have most of the offense around him with RB Aaron Jones expected to play after dealing with a hamstring issue. Kizer and Boyle threw for 142 yards and three TDs, showing off great chemistry with the team's younger receivers. A new-look defense lost projected top linebacker Oren Burks and will be looking to improve after giving up 26 points in holding off Houston.

    Baltimore
    Head Coach: John Harbaugh (34-12 SU, 31-14-1 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Lamar Jackson, Trace McSorley (R), Joe Callahan

    Jackson played more than he was expected to last week and didn't tuck it and run, so it's clear that the Ravens want him to work on his passing from the pocket. He completed 19-of-25 in Tuesday's practice and will be looking to build on that in probably working another three series before giving way to McSorley and Callahan, a former Packer. Robert Griffin III is out for the entire preseason with a hairline fracture in his thumb. The Ravens have won 14 consectuive preseason games, last losing on Sept. 3, 2015. They blanked the Jags 29-0 last week. Harbaugh has gone 8-3 in Week 2 and has dropped just one preseason home game since mid-August of '13.

    Raiders at Cardinals (-3, 40 ½) - 8 PM EST, ESPN

    Oakland
    Head Coach: Jon Gruden (34-17 SU, 19-12-3 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Derek Carr, Mike Glennon, Nathan Peterman
    Beat Writer Twitter Follow: Paul Gutierrez

    The Raiders dominated a Rams squad that ran a vanilla offense last week and managed just a field goal, so their defense will get their first true test here. Carr will play for the first time despite Antonio Brown remaining on the sidelines, so we'll get to see what chemistry has developed with the team's other receivers. Offseason Tyrell Williams and a pair of rookies HBO's Hard Knocks' has focused on, Clemson's Hunter Renfrow and UC Davis' Keelan Doss, will get long looks. Rookie RB Josh Jacobs will also get touches to try and balance out a passing attack that looked uneven at best in the opener. Gruden has an incredible record in Week 1 of the preseason but has really struggled in his second games.

    Arizona
    Head Coach: Kliff Kingsbury (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Kyler Murray (R), Brett Hundley, Chad Kanoff, Drew Anderson (R)
    Beat Writer Twitter Follow: Bob McManaman

    The Cardinals saw Murray put together an impressive debut and ran a mostly vanilla offense despite Kingsbury's stated desire to push tempo and unveil some innovations. The expectation is that Arizona won't show off many bells and whistles this early in the preseason, but they will want to see the training wheels come off some for top QBs Murray and Hundley. There's also a lot of competition at receiver that must shake out, so the battle for No. 3 between Kanoff and Anderson, a rookie from Murray State, should lead to the ball being in the air often.

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    By: Josh Inglis


    JAGS’ DEPTH KEEPS IT LOW

    With both offenses having scored a combined 10 points last week, it makes sense that the Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars opened Week 2 with the lowest total on the NFL odds board. The Jaguars' lack of depth is a major reason behind this as head coach Doug Marrone stated earlier this week, “We have to see what the depth is. Right now it’s not good. We have to develop those guys.”

    The depth at quarterback for Jacksonville is also a major factor in the low total. The Jaguars have Tanner Lee (0-3, 0 yards, INT pick-six) and Alex McGough (3-8, 19 yards) battling for the No. 3 spot. Look for those two to get ample time as Marrone sits most starters and needs to evaluate his QB ranks. We don’t see the Jags’ QBs running up the score against the Eagles and are looking to take the Under 34.5.

    FALCONS FEAST ON BANGED-UP CORNERS

    The New York Jets secondary allowed three different New York Giants quarterbacks to throw for touchdowns last week. Now the Jets' cornerbacks, their weakest position heading into 2019, are in even more trouble with injuries to their top CB and his backup.

    “This is a great opportunity for a lot of guys. Like somebody has a chance to step up and make a name for themselves,” Jets head coach Adam Gase said. This revolving door for cornerback depth is great news for the Atlanta Falcons and their wide receivers.

    Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn has “difficult decisions” when it comes to how many wide receivers he wants to keep on the 53-man roster. He can “envision” keeping seven receivers which means the Falcons will give their receivers every chance to earn a roster spot against a depleted Jets secondary. This could help push the total Over 44.5 and we will be taking a good look at the first-half total as well.

    BENGALS BACKS TO BOUNCE BACK

    After running the ball just 12 times for an unimpressive 21 yards last week, look for Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor to establish more of a running plan in Week 2 versus the Washington Redskins. Taylor has said that top running backs Joe Mixon and Geovani Bernard will be available Thursday, helping the Bengals control the clock and eat minutes.

    With Cincinnati quarterback Jeff Driskel taking reps at wide receiver this week, expect rookie quarterback Ryan Finley (13-18, 108 yards, TD, INT) to take the majority of the snaps after starter Andy Dalton sees his limited action. The Bengals will slow this game down, evaluate their running game and play a little harder defense after giving up 38 points to the Chiefs last week. We are on the full-game Under at 41.

    RAVENS RIDE PRESEASON DOMINANCE

    Preseason trends are about as useful as 10,000 forks when all you need is a knife. However, the Baltimore Ravens have won 14-straight preseason games (12-2 ATS) and look to make it 15 as they host the Green Bay Packers as 4-point favorites (opened as high as -5.5).

    In Baltimore’s favor, starting quarterback Lamar Jackson will see plenty of action after playing three
    series last week. Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman said they “aren’t trying to reinvent football” as they run a simple and basic offensive playbook early in the preseason, which is benefitting Jackson greatly (4-6, 59 yards, TD last week).

    Conversely, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur wasn’t exactly pleased with his team who committed 12 penalties for 102 yards last week and missed two dozen tackles resulting in an extra 164 yards for the Houston Texans in Green Bay’s 28-26 win.

    Losing starting inside linebacker Oren Burks isn’t going to help the defense either as two rookies, a sophomore and a practice-squad holdover will compete to fill the vacancy. We are taking the Ravens to continue their preseason dominance and jumping on the Ravens spread.

    AIR RAID RECEIVERS TO SHOWCASE VS RAIDERS

    The Arizona Cardinals head into Thursday’s contest versus the Oakland Raiders as 3-point favorites. Arizona has had a full week’s worth of rest while the Raiders will be playing on a short week that was littered with distractions. Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury and his Air Raid offense will need plenty of receivers heading into 2019.

    “I’m not sure. I think six, seven — somewhere in there,” Kingsbury said this week when asked about how many receivers he was going to keep on the 53-man roster. He added, “I think it depends on how guys perform the last three weeks, so we’ll see how that plays out.”

    Much like the Falcons, expect the Cardinals to pass a little more to better evaluate their receiver depth. The Raiders are dealing with some cornerback depth issues as well and may find themselves getting exploited on Thursday. We are riding the home team at -3.
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 08-15-2019 at 11:29 AM.

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    Friday's Preseason Essentials
    Tony Mejia

    Note: Quarterback rotation subject to change.

    Head Coach: Sean McDermott (4-5 SU, 4-5 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Josh Allen, Matt Barkley, Tyree Jackson (R)

    LeSean McCoy is expected to play after sitting out the opener, so the Bills first-team offense will play at least a quarter at full strength. Buffalo practiced for a couple of days against Carolina and will be looking to improve to 2-0 in the preseason for the first time since 2013. Allen has looked sharp and will look to take a step forward this preseason after missing a few deep balls in last week's win over the Colts. While Barkley is entrenched as the backup, Jackson, a rookie from Buffalo, needs to rebound from a rough first showing..

    Carolina
    Head Coach: Ron Rivera (19-14 SU, 18-14-1 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Kyle Allen, Taylor Heinicke, Will Grier (R)

    Cam Newton underwent offseason shoulder surgery but has been throwing the ball downfield and will likely play on Friday night despite nothing being set in stone. If he gets out there, expect all the starters healthy enough to join him to do so. Christian McCaffrey, Curtis Samuel and Greg Olsen have all excelled early. The Panthers won three of four preseason contests in 2018, including the opener as a three-point underdog at Buffalo, 28-23. Ron Rivera has switched to a 3-4 defense, so he'll want to get guys plenty of reps. He's 5-3 in Week 2 preseason games.

    Bears at Giants (-2, 42) - 7:30 PM EST

    Chicago

    Head Coach: Matt Nagy (2-4 SU, 3-3 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Mitchell Trubisky, Chase Daniel, Tyler Bray

    It appears that Nagy will expose his starters to as little game action as possible, so it wouldn't be surprising if they're out there for just a series, if at all. Chicago went through a scripted scrimmage that got the first and second teams a lot of quality reps, which may lead to Chicago giving Bray and the roster hopefuls most of the work. He struggled last week in blowing an early lead as Chicago was outscored 17-3 in the second half. A new-look defense led by Chuck Pagano would get a good test given New York's QB battle if the bubble wrap is taken off the regulars. The Bears played the Hall of Fame game last year, so this is Nagy's first conventional preseason. Last week's loss to the Panthers at home marked the first time Nagy failed to play a game decided by more than a touchdown.

    N.Y. Giants
    Head Coach: Pat Shumur (6-7 SU, 6-7 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Eli Manning, Daniel Jones (R), Alex Tanney, Kyle Lauletta
    Beat Writer Twitter Follow: Jordan Raanan

    The Giants got a brilliant game out of Jones to ramp up the pressure on Manning immediately. He responded with a fantastic next practice while Jones struggled, so considering the home crowd can make their opinions heard in what will be New York's final preseason home game, both quarterbacks will look to impress. Manning completed one pass for three yards while the three guys behind him each beat the Jets for touchdowns, so expect him to take his shots with a receiving corps that's trying to establish a pecking order given all the attrition the team has suffered at the position. Saquon Barkley may be held out the entire preseason, so don't expect him to participate. Shurmur is 2-1 in Week 2 of the preseason.

    Dolphins at Bucs (-3, 43) - 7:30 PM EST

    Miami

    Head Coach: Brian Flores (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh Rosen, Jake Rudock

    Kenyan Drake is sporting a walking boot on his right foot, so the Dolphins will lean on Kalen Ballage and Mark Walton to anchor the ground game. With a few receivers down, Preston Williams will have plenty of opportunities to continue his breakout preseason and could give Rosen further ammunition to try and claim the starting job over the veteran, Fitzpatrick, who will take the first snaps on Friday and can do himself a favor by not turning the ball over or being erratic. Rudock helped pick up last week's win with a couple of scoring drives, looking sharp. The Dolphins continue to unveil wrinkles as first-year coordinator Chad O'Shea looks to generate confidence, so we could see an aggressive approach again if the weather permits since showers may be in the forecast.

    Tampa Bay
    Head Coach: Bruce Arians (9-13 SU, 10-9-3 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Jameis Winston, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Griffin
    Beat Writer Twitter Follow: Greg Auman

    Byron Leftwich had a rough start calling plays against the Steelers in his first game as OC under Arians, who is taking a step back and delegating in his return to the sideline. Winston will probably get a series or two before giving way to his backups, who were each productive in Pittsburgh. Arians has made no secret of wanting to see WR Scotty Miller (hamstring) out there. If healthy, he can be a terrific option. Arians has only won once in five Week 2 games as a head coach. Tampa Bay has been working against the Dolphins all week, even practicing indoors when inclement weather hit. Guys should be loose on both sides. If the game comes down to a kick, rookie Matt Gay has looked incredibly sharp for a Bucs team that has needed an effective kicker for years.
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 08-16-2019 at 01:43 PM.

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    Saturday's Tip Sheet
    Kevin Rogers

    Note: Quarterback rotation subject to change.

    Browns at Colts (-3, 43) - 4:00 PM EST

    Cleveland
    Head Coach: Freddie Kitchens (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Baker Mayfield, Drew Stanton, Garrett Gilbert, David Blough (Rookie)

    The Browns dominated the Redskins, 30-10 in their preseason opener to easily cash as 1 ½-point favorites. Baker Mayfield connected on an early touchdown strike to Rashard Higgins, while Cleveland scored a pair of touchdowns on an interception return and a punt return. Cleveland's defense intercepted Washington three times as the Browns improved to 8-1 ATS in the last nine preseason contests since 2017. The Browns have won four consecutive road preseason games, while Cleveland has hit the UNDER in its last four Week 2 exhibition affairs.

    Indianapolis
    Head Coach: Frank Reich (3-2 SU, 3-1-1 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Jacoby Brissett, Phillip Walker, Chad Kelly

    The Colts fell behind the Bills, 14-0 early and couldn't get over the hump in a 24-16 setback at Buffalo as 1 ½-point favorites. Andrew Luck remains sidelined for the Colts with an ankle injury that could keep him out of the regular season opener. Former Ole Miss standout Chad Kelly threw for 121 yards and rushed for a score in the loss for Indianapolis, as the Colts had their four-game ATS hot streak snapped. Indianapolis has dropped five straight exhibition games in Week 2, which includes three losses by one point apiece.

    Patriots (-1, 41 ½) at Titans - 7:00 PM EST

    New England
    Head Coach: Bill Belichick (43-44 SU, 48-43-7 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer, Jarrett Stidham (Rookie)

    The Patriots didn't mess around in their preseason opener at Detroit by blowing out the Lions, 31-3 as 2 ½-point underdogs. Tom Brady sat out for the Patriots, but the combination of Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham threw for 326 yards and three touchdowns, as New England jumped out to a 20-0 halftime lead. New England owns a 4-1 SU/ATS record in its last five preseason games, while the Patriots face the Titans in exhibition play for the first time since losing to Tennessee, 27-24 in 2007.

    Tennessee
    Head Coach: Mike Vrabel (1-4 SU, 1-4 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Marcus Mariota, Ryan Tannehill, Logan Woodside

    Following an 0-4 preseason run in Mike Vrabel's first season as head coach, the Titans broke through in this season's exhibition opener by routing the Eagles, 27-10 as 1 ½-point road underdogs. Starting quarterback Marcus Mariota threw for 24 yards in his limited action, while offseason acquistion Ryan Tannehill was sharp by tossing two touchdowns and racking up 130 yards through the air. Former Toledo standout Logan Woodside also posted a pair of touchdown passes, as the Titans didn't allow a point after halftime. Tennessee didn't score more than 17 points in any of its four preseason games in 2018, while the Titans own a 2-7 ATS record in their last nine exhibition contests.

    Chiefs (-2 ½, 46 ½) at Steelers - 7:30 PM EST

    Kansas City
    Head Coach: Andy Reid (39-42 SU, 37-40-4 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Patrick Mahomes, Chad Henne, Chase Litton, Kyle Shurmur

    After allowing an early touchdown last week, the Chiefs ran off 24 straight points on their way to a 38-17 home blowout of the Bengals. Kansas City easily cashed as 3 ½-point favorites, as last season's MVP Patrick Mahomes was sharp in his limited time by completing all four passes for 66 yards. Former Marshall signal-caller Chase Litton threw two touchdown passes, while three different Chiefs hauled in touchdown grabs. Kansas City seeks consecutive preseason victories for the first time since 2016, while the Chiefs have won each of their last two Week 2 exhibition contests, each by double-digits.

    Pittsburgh
    Head Coach: Mike Tomlin (29-22 SU, 23-26-2 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Mason Rudolph, Joshua Dobbs, Devlin Hodges

    The Steelers held off the Buccaneers, 30-28 at Heinz Field as Pittsburgh built a comfortable 30-16 lead before Tampa Bay scored two touchdowns in the final four minutes. Mason Rudolph threw a pair of touchdown passes in the win as the former Oklahoma State standout will start once again for the resting Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers have now eclipsed the 30-point mark in four of their last five preseason contests, while Pittsburgh has won four of its last exhibition games at Heinz Field.

    Lions at Texans (-4 ½, 42) - 8:00 PM EST

    Detroit
    Head Coach: Matt Patricia (1-4 SU, 1-4 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Matthew Stafford, Tom Savage, David Fales
    Beat Writer Twitter Follow: Dave Birkett

    It was an ugly debut for the Lions, who were routed by the Patriots at Ford Field, 31-3 as New England outgained Detroit by 366 yards. Matthew Stafford didn't suit up in the loss to New England, but the veteran Lions' quarterback is expected to see action early on Saturday. Detroit's offense hasn't produced many points under Matt Patricia in the preseason by scoring fewer than 17 points in four of five exhibition affairs. The Lions have never faced the Texans in the preseason, while taking on their first AFC South team in exhibition play for the first time since beating Indianapolis in the 2017 opener, 24-10.

    Houston
    Head Coach: Bill O'Brien (12-8 SU, 11-8-1 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Deshaun Watson, AJ McCarron, Joe Webb
    Beat Writer Twitter Follow: Aaron Wilson

    The Texans fell behind the Packers at Lambeau Field, 28-10 before scoring 16 late points in a 28-26 defeat to Green Bay. Joe Webb played the entire game at quarterback for Houston as the journeyman threw for 286 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. It is unknown if Deshaun Watson will see his first preseason action for the Texans, but it definitely won't be for long. Houston has won six of its last seven preseason games at NRG Stadium since 2015, including a perfect 5-0 mark against NFC foes.

    Cowboys (-2 ½, 40) vs. Rams - 10:00 PM EST - In Honolulu

    Dallas
    Head Coach: Jason Garrett (12-22 SU, 10-21-3 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Dak Prescott, Cooper Rush, Mike White

    The Cowboys and Rams head to Hawaii as the two playoff teams from last season combined for 12 points in their first preseason action last week. Dallas led San Francisco, 9-7 at halftime before the 49ers scored the final 10 points in a 17-9 home victory to cash as 3 ½-point favorites. Dak Prescott completed all four of his pass attempts, while Ezekiel Elliott remains out due to his contract dispute with the organization. The Cowboys are looking to snap a five-game preseason skid as Dallas last won an exhibition contest in the 2017 finale against Oakland.

    L.A. Rams
    Head Coach: Sean McVay (4-5 SU, 4-5 ATS in preseason)
    Quarterback Rotation: Blake Bortles, Brandon Allen, John Wolford

    The NFC champion Rams are patiently waiting for the regular season to begin as Los Angeles will sit stars Jared Goff and Todd Gurley once again this week. L.A. didn't put much effort into last week's 14-3 setback at Oakland as the Rams mustered less than 200 yards of offense. Former Jaguars' quarterback Blake Bortles will be making his second straight start after throwing for 50 yards in his Rams' debut last week. The Rams have lost four of their last six exhibition games, while scoring 10, 7, 0, and 3 points in their past four preseason contests outside of Los Angeles.
    Last edited by StarDust Bum; 08-17-2019 at 11:05 AM.

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    Seahawks at Vikings
    Matt Blunt

    A pair of NFC teams coming off SU and ATS wins in Week 1 of the preseason meet in Minnesota on Sunday night, as it's a high-profile, under the lights preseason contest for the Seahawks and Vikings.

    Minnesota's 34-25 win last week was arguably the more impressive of the two, as they managed to put up 35 points against the Saints in New Orleans. Strong performances by QB's Sean Mannion and Kyle Sloter were a big reason for that result, as both guys managed to throw a TD pass and were a combined 13-for-20 throwing the ball. Kirk Cousins did his thing as well in one drive going 4-for-4 for 65 yards and a TD, and he'll likely cut into a bit of the playing time for Mannion and Sloter in this one.

    From Seattle's perspective, their 22-14 win at home was fueled by a strong all around effort from QB Paxton Lynch. Lynch went 11-for-15 throwing the ball for 109 yards and a TD, but it was his four rushes that totalled 38 yards and a TD that helped Seattle grab the lead in the 3rd quarter for good. Lynch is a guy that's looking to revitalize his career after his failed stint in Denver as a 1st round pick, and based off one performance, his dual-threat ability is something that Seattle covets.

    Doing it at home is one thing though, as can Lynch and company get it done on the road in prime time?

    NFL Odds: Minnesota (-4.5); Total set at 41.5

    As is the case with NFL preseason lines every week, there is significant line movement early on in the week and this game is no different. Bettors have already shown their hand in terms of backing the Vikings and the 'under', given that this line originally opened up at Minnesota -3.5 and a total of 42.

    An average of 28 points put up between them on offense last week makes the 'under' look a little puzzling to some, especially given the QB battles both teams seemingly have going on for that backup role. But without question both sides would like to tighten things up defensively – especially in Minnesota's case, and I do suspect that's what we see to a degree form both sides in this one.

    Seattle and Minnesota also have a recent history of preseason games finishing with 41 or fewer points, as they've met in August each of the past three years, and last year's 21-20 Minnesota win was the highest point total of the three. It was also the only one played in Week 3 of the preseason – typically the dress rehearsal game for starters – as the previous two years they met in Week 2 as they are this season, and those games finished with 33 and 29 points respectively.

    So the 'under definitely makes a lot of sense here, and typically you'd better have a few good reasons to go against line moves in general during the preseason, and outside of last week's offensive performance by both sides, there really isn't a lot to suggest otherwise this week. Given that Seattle's 2nd preseason game has cashed 'under' tickets in each of the past four years, it would be that side of the total where I believe you can only look.

    However, it's actually the side that may present a slightly better betting opportunity as there is at least one strong enough reason to go against the line move that's gone Minnesota's way already.

    Going back to the start of the 2011 NFL season – essentially a year before the Russell Wilson era started there – the Seahawks have not minded travelling for preseason games at all. In road games outside of the Pacific Time zone (PST), Seattle has gone 7-1 ATS overall, and 5-0 ATS when lined as an underdog. That's an ATS run that has significant weight to stand on for this game, especially when you consider that QB Geno Smith will be looking to up his performance after what he saw from Lynch a week ago.

    And for as much as Minnesota would like to see improvement on defense, it may be hard to completely flip that around in just a week. Mike Zimmer's defense have also been built around getting pressure and being physical, and those are two things that can be very limited in August action. At the same time, Mannion and Sloter are two guys I wouldn't count on lighting up the stat sheet again, which makes it very tough to back Minnesota at anything over a FG in this case.

    The early money may have got the best of the number on Minnesota now, but I wouldn't be surprised to see some buy back come Seattle's way the closer we get to kickoff. Remember, as a stand alone, SNF game, most of the action here has yet to hit the board, and I'm looking to stay ahead of the curve.

    Best Bet: Seattle ATS

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    49ers at Broncos
    Matt Blunt

    The final game for the second week of the preseason is actually Game 3 for the Denver Broncos, as they get to play at home for the first time this summer. The Broncos welcome in a San Francisco team that general market perception is quite high on this year, as they get another crack with Jimmy Garoppolo under center, hopefully for the whole campaign.

    Garoppolo won't be on the field much on Monday night, but with two guys behind him in Nick Mullens and CJ Beathard – both who started in his absence a year ago – San Fran has plenty of people thinking highly of them in the preseason as well.

    Can that trio of QB's go out on the road under the bright prime time lights and stretch their preseason record to 2-0 SU and ATS?

    NFL Odds: Denver (-2.5); Total set at 41.5

    Denver's QB rotation shouldn't be slept on either


    This will be the 16th time Denver finds itself on Monday Night Football in August, and a 6-9 SU record in the previous 15 occurrences isn't great by any means. But the last time they were in this role was back in the 2007 preseason, and oddly enough it was against this 49ers franchise out in San Francisco. That was a 17-13 win for the Broncos, who would love to duplicate that result this week.

    Given that it is the third preseason game for Denver, chances are we see the starters get a bit more playing time this week then we will for other teams, and that can't hurt someone like QB Joe Flacco who is still establishing a rapport with his new teammates. Flacco's yet to see really more than one drive in game action this summer, and as long as you can avoid injury, the more live-game reps you get the better in his scenario being with a new team.

    At the same time, Denver's reserves at QB may not have the starting NFL experience that San Fran's backups do, but they are battling it out for that #2 role as well. Rookie Drew Lock was given the bulk of the work last week in Seattle, and he performed well to the tune of 180 passing yards (1 TD, 1 INT) on 17-for-28 passing. Broncos brass are hoping that he ends up being the QB of the future in Denver and giving him as many snaps as they can now can only help his development as well.

    Three-Headed QB's in San Francisco

    Garoppolo will be seeing his first action in this game, but the bulk of the work is still going to go to Mullens and Beathard, as both guys look to build upon their flashes of great play from a year ago. It's because those two started regular season games a year ago that they are essentially “more known” to the casual market, and generally speaking bettors prefer to back/fade what they 'know' as opposed to doing so with more unknowns.

    Which is interesting in the sense that the point spread for this game hasn't changed in number, just in vig, as action all week is seemingly coming in on both sides. The three-headed beast that is the 49ers rotation will likely get some more love the closer we get to kick-off because of their 'known' status, but this Denver defense is going to be the strength of their team once again in 2019, and it's the 3rd game for them as well. Seeing Broncos defenders fly around to the ball and make a concerted effort that they don't routinely get beat is another thing to consider here.

    Total move correct?

    While there hasn't been much movement on the side, the total has already been bet down a point from it's opener of 42.5, and that's arguably the right move. If Denver's starters come to play on defense, the early work for Mullens/Beathard will be much tougher than what they faced against Dallas a week ago, and each guy threw an INT in their time on the field there. Both had solid completion rates (11-for-17 for Mullens and 13-for-17 for Beathard), but they are still developing consistency in their respective games and didn't exactly put up many points off all those pass completions.

    The 'under' is probably the correct move here though, although I wouldn't rule out the number climbing back up higher as we approach Monday. It's these QB rotations that tend to attract a lot of belief in points being scored. But look for Denver's defense to step up and be tough to move the ball on early, while the 49ers defense does its best to match them in that regard.

    Final Thoughts

    As much as I do lean on the 'under' being the correct side on the total, I can't help but see this as a much more advantageous spot to back the Broncos. Over the past five years, teams involved in playing the Hall-of-Fame game have come away with a 6-2 SU record in Week 2 of the preseason (their third game). There was no Hall-of-Fame game in 2016 which is why the numbers may appear off, but the built-in advantage of treating this as more of the third game/dress rehearsal has proven highly beneficial in terms of picking the outright winner in these games.

    With the Broncos looking to put on a show for their own fans the first time this year, backing them on the ML is where my money is going on MNF this week.

    Best Bet: Denver ML

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