After a sleepy first half of the summer betting wise, the NFL returns Thursday with the Hall of Fame game. The annual preseason contest kicks off the 2019 season.

This is the first game as a head coach for Vic Fangio, but he has he isn’t concerned about winning Thursday’s Hall of Fame Game. (Image: USA Today Sports)

This year Atlanta will face Denver at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. The Broncos opened as a 2.5-point favorite, and the over/under at 35 points. The line has pretty much stayed at 2.5, though at the Mirage they have it at three, and the CG Technology sportsbooks have it at two. The over/under has come down a half-point to 34.5.

The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has the Broncos at -145 on the moneyline, while the Falcons are at +125.

Searching for Value

Some bettors avoid preseason football because the star players usually are only in for a few plays. Staying away from the games before the regular season starts would be a mistake.

There are trends that can be advantageous to gamblers, and since it is the beginning of a new year for the sport, there can be some bets that should be made.

The first one is wagering on the favorite. In the last 10 games the favorite is 8-2 straight up, and 6-3-1 against the spread. Denver, who is giving away the points, went 2-2 both straight up, and ATS. Ironically, the victories were on the road, while the losses were at home.

Atlanta was 0-4 straight up, as well as ATS in last year’s preseason games. They lost by double digits in all four of their games. Head coach Dan Quinn said this game will be a showcase for the rookies.

“It’s an advantage, and when you’re presented with that opportunity, I want to take advantage of it,” Quinn said. “Of course it’s a really important day for the 25 or so rookies.”

The over/under holds another interesting stat regarding this game, as well as the preseason. The trend is the under, though this game has seen the line bet down, with more thinking the over is going to hit.

The Broncos went over in all four of their games, scoring 28, 23, 29 and 21 points. The Falcons went under in three of their four games. They were shutout in the first game, then scored 14, six, and seven points.

Game Notes

Denver first-year head coach Vic Fangio has already said that Joe Flacco won’t play at all, so his backup Kevin Hogan will get some significant snaps. Rookie Drew Lock and Brett Rypien will also see a lot of action. Atlanta’s starter Matt Ryan is not expected to play as well. Their backups are Matt Schaub and Kurt Benkert.

This is Fangio’s first game as a head coach. The longtime defensive coordinator said he has a specific game plan.

“The main thing that we want to accomplish is get the individual and the team ready for the regular season,” Fangio said. “There will be times whereas coaches we may have a good feel for what the other team is going to run, but we’re going to call something that’s hard for us just to see if guys can handle it.”

Ryan has shown he is not concerned with winning preseason games. He is 0-8 in his last two years.

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