Week 1 of the NFL’s preseason featured a legitimate bad beat.
Up 16-6 in the fourth quarter, Kansas City (-3.5) looked to be cruising to a well-deserved cover. The Chiefs intercepted Russell Wilson on the brink of the end zone and limited Trevone Boykin and Jake Heaps to field goals before mounting an unlikely comeback.
Boykin actually returned to the game after the Seahawks forced one last Kansas City punt, and Pete Carroll exuberantly pumped his fist after his defense got the stop, knowing he was going to get his rookie backup quarterback, currently No. 2 behind Wilson, the opportunity to run a two-minute drill.
Boykin really only had just over 60 seconds, hit his first pass for a long gain and then made a bad decision in taking a short completion to the 38-yard line that bled the clock down to one final play. He got the offense composed, scrambled and avoided the pass rush after a blatant holding penalty went uncalled and hit Tanner McAvoy on a Hail Mary.
The cover was blown. For good measure, Seattle went for two and got out of Arrowhead with a 17-16 win, crushing any money-line players.
Chip Kelly’s 49ers ran 52 offensive plays and racked up over 300 yards in the first half, then wound up losing convincingly to Houston because of a fumble at the goal-line and the fact Jeff Driskel can’t throw. The under came in since the total was bet up to 38 by kickoff. The Texans beat San Francisco 20-17.
Similarly, L.A.’s primetime comeback win over the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night produced a 28-24 final covered if you got in at -3.5, but otherwise lost since the public bet the Rams up to as high as a six-point favorite by kickoff.
Yes, it’s only preseason, but the same betting rationale plays. Get in at the right number and hope for the best. Here’s an early look at NFL exhibition play for Thursday and Friday:
Eagles at Steelers: Carson Wentz got his ribs broken in an otherwise successful NFL debut against Tampa Bay, so McLeod Bethel-Thompson will get the bulk of the work in crunch time for Philadelphia. Mike Tomlin’s Steelers scored just three second-half points in losing at home to Detroit and don’t plan to use Ben Roethlisberger.
Bengals at Lions: Detroit looks like it is playing with a purpose this preseason. Matthew Stafford looked sharp, while backups Dan Orlovsky and Jake Rudock combined to throw for 236 yards. Andy Dalton looked sharp in his first game back since breaking his thumb last December, as did A.J. McCarron.
Raiders at Packers: Oakland put its speed on both sides of the ball on display in an upset win at Arizona and has assembled quite a bit of talent. They’ll look to win on the road again, but with both Aaron Rodgers and Brett Hundley potentially making their first preseason appearances, it won’t be easy.
Bears at Patriots: Rob Gronkowski left Monday’s practice with an injury and Tom Brady is being limited early, so the folks at Gillette Stadium should get another significant dose of Jimmy Garoppolo. The Bears were manhandled by Denver at home.
Falcons at Browns: Robert Griffin III debuts in front of the Dawg Pound and made some nice throws at Green Bay. The Browns need to make a strong impression as Hue Jackson looks to change the culture.
Vikings at Seahawks: Both Mike Zimmer and Carroll pulled off one-point wins in Week 1 and boast two of the top three winning percentages of coaches with at least 10 preseason games under their belt. Russell Wilson and Teddy Bridgewater may see extensive first-half action.
Jets at ‘Skins: Action along the trenches will be worth watching here, since both teams looked extremely physical early.
Dolphins at Cowboys: It doesn’t matter that Dallas blew a huge lead in L.A. since rookie QB Dak Prescott looked tremendous. We’ll see if he can keep it up against the Dolphins.
Cardinals at Chargers: Carson Palmer directed a 73-yard drive that resulted in a field goal in his only action against the Raiders, while Philip Rivers connected for a 44-yard score to RB Melvin Gordon on his lone drive. Both should play at least a quarter in what should be a fun start to this one.