OG learned more about the teams in the first week, and even more should be gleaned in NFL Week 2 of the preseason. The starters will play a bit more, but the real battles between second- and third-string players should show who will be survive the first round of cuts.
The games below all have subtle backstories that we believe will affect the final score and/or the over/under, leaving bettors with good opportunities to score some extra scratch before regular-season competition begins.
1. Buffalo vs. Cleveland (Over 40.5)
The Buffalo Bills are in the midst of a quarterback quandary, as all three of the signal callers have had good training camps so far. A.J. McCarron, Nathan Peterman, and rookie Josh Allen have been rotating around with the first and second teams.
That means there is more urgency to impress coach Sean McDermott. The three will get some significant playing time against Cleveland on Friday, and all three will be looking to score. The team had 23 points in its last preseason game.
The Browns have Buffalo’s starting QB from last year, Tyrod Taylor. He won’t play a whole lot, but will want to score against his former team as many times as he can.
The Browns scored 20 points in their last preseason game. The two teams should match their offensive output in this contest.
Take the over.
2. Miami vs. Carolina (Over 43)
The over/under for this game hasn’t moved, and that might be an advantage to those looking at the over. Carolina scored 28 points in its victory over Buffalo last week, and starter Cam Newton didn’t throw a touchdown pass. That may change this week, as he should see a little more action.
Miami scored 23 points in their loss against Tampa Bay. They should tally up the same against the Panthers in Friday’s game. Take the two teams points from the last game and it adds up to 51.
Take the over.
3. Oakland Raiders (+1) vs. LA Rams
The two teams were already rivals and they are going to face each other the opening week of the regular season. This will be a bit of a preview of the opening game, but they should be totally different contests style-wise.
Saturday’s game will feature less of the starters, and more of the backups. The Raiders are going to treat this as a regular season game and will have plenty of fans in the stands rooting for them. Though star linebacker Khalil Mack continues to hold out.
They also are quite deep at running back with five strong players at the position. Not all of them are going to be around the first week of September, and they will be trying to further impress coach Jon Gruden.
We like the Raiders to cover, and possibly win outright.
4. Chicago vs. Denver (-3.5)
This game has jumped up a point in Denver’s favor, which is curious since they got lambasted by Minnesota last week, 42-28. Can the defense improve that much in seven days?
The sharps apparently believe so, and have moved the line from 2.5 to 3.5 points. Never bet against the sharps.
Take Denver and give away the points.
5. Baltimore (+1) vs. Indianapolis
We made the mistake of going against Baltimore in the Hall of Fame game, and last week against the Rams, and got burned both times. We have learned from that blunder.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh loves to win in the preseason and after crushing the Rams last week, believe they will do the same against the Colts. The won’t win by 26, but they will win.
Take the point and Baltimore.