NFL Hall of Fame Game Odds
The Jets and Browns are matching up to kick off the Preseason because legends Joe Thomas and Darrelle Revis are getting inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this week.
The Jets are favorites tonight in Canton, Ohio. The spread was 1.5 as of 4:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday afternoon, with the total sitting at 33.5.
For those who bet on last year’s Hall of Fame Game, that total might actually seem high. Raiders vs. Jaguars kicked off with the over/under set at 30.5 points, which was the lowest for any preseason game since 2004. Both of those games went over.
Historically, the under has been the pick for this game.
Since 2000, the under is 12-8 in the Hall of Fame Game, but it gets better for under bettors if you look at more recent history. The under is 7-3 in the last 10 Hall of Fame Games. Since 2014, only two teams have scored 20 or more points in the Hall of Fame Game: the Cowboys in 2017 and the Raiders in ’22.
Last year’s Hall of Fame Game saw the over hit late in the fourth quarter of a blowout Raiders win. Las Vegas was up 27-3 after scoring with 7:53 left in the game, but Jacksonville went down the down for a nine-play, 86-yard drive to score a touchdown and give the game its final score of 27-11.
Chris Raybon isn’t buying that trend, though. Here’s how our expert is betting the NFL’s first preseason game of 2023.
Jets vs. Browns Pick
Chris Raybon: In the latest bit of evidence that the world as we know it is coming to an end, 78% of the public has decided to kick off the 2023 NFL season by … betting an under? And at a total of a measly 33.5 points, no less. Despite those bets accounting for nearly the entire handle (89%, according to public betting data tracked in the Action Network App as of Wednesday night), sportsbooks haven’t moved the number down.
Despite making a living betting disgusting unders, I’m surprisingly on the same page as the books here.
Is there such a thing as an ugly over?
Despite shiny new (but very, very old) quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the regular-season Jets will be defined by their defense. But as far as preseason offenses go, the Jets have surprisingly been something of a juggernaut under defensive-minded head coach Robert Saleh. In six games under Saleh, the Jets are 5-1 to the over, averaging a point total of 24.2 and a combined total of 43.5.
Saleh will start 2021 second-overall pick Zach Wilson, who naturally is at his best when the games don’t count. Despite suffering an unfortunate injury nine snaps into the 2022 preseason, Wilson has still managed to average 8.6 yards per attempt and an 8.0% touchdown rate across three appearances.
Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on a Thursday night is by no means a cougar hotspot, but Wilson should still be able to drum up some motivation to show out in his first appearance since being unceremoniously benched and subsequently cast aside for Rodgers.
Third-string candidate Chris Streveler has been even better than Wilson in August, posting 8.4 yards per attempt with a 5-to-1 TD-INT ratio with the Jets across three appearances of his own. Hell, even Rodgers’ clipboard-holding lackey Tim Boyle has done his thing in the preseason, posting a 12-to-4 TD-INT ratio across 13 contests with the Packers and Lions.
Kevin Stefanski won’t be able to deploy quarterbacks with that level of established meaningless-game track record, but the Browns’ third-year head coach will be rolling with two signal callers who can create with their legs, which is often the most viable path to the end zone for offenses consisting of anonymous third-stringers and practice-squad types.
Cleveland will open the game with Kellen Mond, a 2021 third-round pick of the Vikings who rushed for 2,152 yards and 22 touchdowns across four years at Texas A&M. In the second half, he’ll turn to rookie fifth-rounder Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who rushed for 2,519 yards and 28 scores in his collegiate career at UCLA. The Browns went 3-0 to the over last preseason under Stefanski, and his offenses have averaged a solid 20.5 points per game across six preseason contests.
Preseason overs with a total below 37 are 221-163-6 (58%) since 2007, covering by 2.4 points per game. And when you filter for the rare intraconference matchup, that mark improves to 54-33-2 (62%), covering by 4.1 points per game and good for a 20.4% return on investment.
Zooming out, the over is 45-24-1 (65%) across all preseason games dating back to 2008 where the visitor is favored and the total is below 37 points.
Betting on the likes of Streveler and Thompson-Robinson to bring home an over in the second half – what could go wrong?
I would bet this over up to 34.
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