NFL betting trends, odds and predictions for Saturday, August 19th, 2017 from various handicappers and websites
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Saturday's NFL Preseason Best Bet
L.A Rams vs. Oakland Raiders
Odds: L.A Rams (+3) vs. Oakland (-3); Total 40
The Rams and Raiders both had inauspicious starts to their 2017 season last week, but L.A at least was able to get a SU win, whereas the Raiders fell 20-10 in Arizona.
That was a tough spot to back the Raiders (although the majority of bettors did) as it was actually the second preseason game for the Cardinals and they gave their starters a bit more time because of it.
This week, Oakland and L.A should give their first-teamers about a full quarter of action (if not more), and given that Oakland has become the most popular Super Bowl futures bet out there – there odds have gone from about 20-1 to now 6-1 – NFL bettors should expect the Raiders to get plenty of love both this week and next in the preseason.
There are plenty of folks that have high expectations for the Oakland Raiders in 2017, but it's important to not project those thoughts too heavily on their preseason games. The preseason is all about getting some work in and staying healthy, and while the starters on Oakland should see some solid action in this game, that doesn't always equate to an easy SU or ATS victory.
Remember the Rams starters will be on the field for a similar amount of time, and with L.A being the organization that probably needs more work from top to bottom in terms of their roster depth, it could be the Rams who have more motivation to do well in a game like this.
So rather than attack the side in this contest, I'm looking at the total for my best bet here.
A total of 40 may seem a touch high for a 2nd preseason game between two teams that put up 13 and 10 points respectively in Week 1, but I would beg to differ.
Oddsmakers know that Weeks 2 and 3 of the preseason are the ones that more closely resemble actual regular season NFL lines (Week 3 especially), and more time on the field for the starters and 2nd string guys gives them ample opportunity to find a rhythm.
When a starting QB (one quarter) and a backup QB (two quarters) get the bulk of the playing time in a game like this, points will be scored, especially since they've all had another week of practice under their belts.
From Oakland's perspective, this will be the first time many of their starters see the field after they were held out in Week 1. With limited time left in preseason play (this week and next), those guys will look to squish in as much quality work as they can, and fans who are all over the Raiders futures bets this year will likely get a taste of what's to come.
QB Derek Carr has an abundance of weapons around him and while Carr may be one guy who sees the field the least out of the starters as he's coming off a broken leg, those weapons will still be there for backups E.J Manuel and Connor Cook to use against a Rams defense that's still a way's away from being considered one of the league's best, no matter if it's the starters or backups on the field.
From L.A's perspective, getting a 13-10 win last week was nice, but the coaching staff would still like to see what they've got in terms of offensive weapons from a depth point of view. L.A recently brought in WR Sammy Watkins via trade so he's likely to get a few snaps, and the growth process of QB Jared Goff is still in it's early stages.
Testing themselves and connecting on some big plays against a team like Oakland – who everyone expects to do big things this year – would be a great boost of confidence to this Rams organization entering the year. Whether it turns into another preseason win or not only really matters to bettors, but expect L.A to not be shy about taking some shots early on and seeing if they can go toe-to-toe with a talented team like the Raiders.
So while the majority of bettors, at least according to VegasInsider.com's betting percentage numbers, are flocking to this 'under' after both sides had lackluster Week 1 performances, I've got no problem going against the masses here and expecting to see some points.
Both sides will be looking to get their offensive game in check after tough Week 1's, and for a team that's got realistic championship hopes like Oakland, even tackling on defense may become somewhat “optional” because a key injury there would be just as bad for their long-term prospects in 2017.
Best Bet: Over 40
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Saturday’s NFL Preseason Primer
Carolina Panthers at Tennessee Titans (-3, 41)
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.
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)
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.
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)
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.
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)
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.
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)
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.
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)
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.
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)
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.
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)
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.
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)
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.
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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