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The first full week of exhibition football is behind us and the NFL’s 32 teams each have three more opportunities to figure things out before the regular season starts in less than one month.

For most teams this past week starters saw very little action and, in some instances, no action at all. That should change this week and a number of teams will play their starting units into the early part of the second quarter which usually translates into about three, possibly four, possessions.

It cannot be stressed often enough that if you wager on preseason football you need to be tuned in to sources that provide up to date information as to coaches’ plans on quarterback rotations, positions that are up for grabs and other such information that my suggest the objectives for an upcoming game.

In the preseason we often see lines stay stagnant for the first few days after they open with the line fluctuations, often great fluctuations, occurring literally in the 4 to 6 hours leading up to kickoff.

In reviewing the first 17 games of the preseason, which includes the Hall of Fame game, 9 went Over the total with 8 staying Under.

Favorites were 11-5 ATS with a couple of those covers by a half point. One game closed pick ‘em (Washington at Cleveland).

For handicappers and bettors much of the summer is spent in preparing for the regular season. Here in Las Vegas we are fortunate in that there is an outstanding resource to get information to help us, the Gamblers Book Club.

Now part of the Gamblers General Store in downtown Las Vegas, GBC has a wealth of information available all in one place to give handicappers and bettors with any level of experience plenty of material for this endeavor.

It is worth noting that in addition to providing nourishment for the mind GBC now provides nourishment for the body. The recently opened Gamblers Café, with a separate entrance to accommodate diners from 6 a.m. until the store itself opens at 9, features a very Brooklyn-style deli menu.

Open until 3 p.m., it provides a very comfortable setting to start your day or to start reading the football material you may have just purchased while enjoying a bagel with cream cheese and lox or one of their filling sandwiches or heros.

Although continuous Monday night football does not begin until the college game between Ohio State and Virginia Tech on Labor Day, the lone preseason Monday night game will be played this week.

Here are some thoughts for the game to be played between Thursday and next Monday.

THURSDAY

Detroit at Washington: Detroit was sharp in its preseason debut and solidly outplayed the New York Jets. Washington was not quite as sharp in its win at Cleveland and has more areas to address than do the Lions. Playing at home adds to the edges that appear to side with Washington, especially as they work through their QB concerns.

Buffalo at Cleveland: Both teams came up just short in their opening games on the scoreboard but each can take away some positives. Both project as stronger on defense this season and thus may both be inclined to place more preseason focus on developing their offenses. As such we could see the offensive starters playing deeper into this game.

FRIDAY

Atlanta at NY Jets: With the injury that will sideline QB Geno Smith for a couple of months the Jets have serious issues to address, especially with a lack of depth behind Ryan Fitzpatrick. Atlanta’s offense looked sharp in its win over Tennessee and thus more attention may be on their defense. The Jets are likely to me the more aggressive team on offense which should translate into a greater need to show significant progress.

Seattle at Kansas City: Both teams have most of their starting positions set and would be expected to focus on developing depth, especially at the skill positions. As such the starters may see less action than other teams and after both teams were involved in high scoring games last week this one may take on more of a conservative, ‘ground and pound’ complexion.

SATURDAY

Miami at Carolina: Both teams are expected to be Playoff contenders this season and that often signals attention to depth and taking fewer risks in preparing for the regular season. Miami is playing a second straight road game and thus will have had less time to practice over the past few weeks which could be considered an edge for the Panthers.

Baltimore at Philadelphia: Both teams got off to fast starts in their debut games with rosters that boast above average talent. The Eagles do have more key players to assimilate, especially on offense, with several starters not seeing action last week. Thus Philly may play their starters deeper into this game which would generally be considered a key edge.

Chicago at Indianapolis: Despite losing at Philadelphia on Sunday the Colts have little to be concerned about although their emphasis during August will be more focused on their defense. After a sluggish start the Bears played with some purpose in their win over Miami for new coach John Fox. With more questions than the Colts we could see Chicago put forth the more inspired effort while the Colts treat this game more as a scrimmage and limit the exposure of franchise QB Andrew Luck.

New England at New Orleans: Both starting QBs should see more action this week with the starting unit. Both teams enter August with more certainty on offense than on defense. Additionally, these teams have veteran coaches who understand the purpose of preseason games. This would make for a very entertaining game in October. But not so in August so we might see a lower scoring game than anticipated.

Jacksonville at NY Giants: There should be a greater sense of urgency for the Giants to show improvement on offense, something they lacked last summer and which carried over to the regular season. Jacksonville has more questions overall but did gain some confidence with last week’s winning effort over Pittsburgh. But a three season absence from the Playoffs with a declining number of wins in each season may put some pressure even on a veteran coach like Tom Coughlin, given the impatience of the vocal fan base.

Denver at Houston: The Broncos are another veteran team that looks at August games as tuneups and opportunities to develop depth. They can take away several plusses from their win at Seattle. Houston has a QB battle and other concerns on offense and might be more inclined to put a greater emphasis on play execution that provides signs of tangible progress.

Oakland at Minnesota: Both teams are off of wins last week that tend to build confidence for young teams, especially those whose fortunes will rest in the hands of young quarterbacks. Although both Oakland QB Derek Carr and Minny QB Teddy Bridgewater may only play into the second quarter their play may set the tone for a high scoring game.

San Diego at Arizona: Both teams have concerns about developing strong ground games and that may result in more running than passing plays that in turn leads to a lower scoring game as the clock continues to run with fewer incomplete passes. Backup QB concerns may lead to more offense in the second half so a first half UNDER may be worth considering although a lower scoring game overall than anticipated still seems to make sense.

SUNDAY

Green Bay at Pittsburgh: This game features a pair of veteran coaches with Super Bowl wins who understand the purpose of preseason games. Having a solid backup QB becomes a priority as does establishing a strong game are key objectives as will be lessening the risk of injury by limiting the play of starters. Both teams accomplish much more during the week in practice than they expect to accomplish in preseason games. If that approach is taken here this game would be less enjoyable to watch in August than it would be in October.

Dallas at San Francisco: Dallas plays a second straight road game and showed little interest in winning in their opener in San Diego, treating that game more like a scrimmage. San Francisco showed many areas of concern in their loss at Houston and may be much more interested in playing with greater intensity in front of their home crowd. Often this shows up in the play of the defense which suggests the Niners could create more scoring opportunities by forcing turnovers. If so, the 49ers would have the edges.

St. Louis at Tennessee: This is another game in which one team may have more of a sense of urgency to win than their opponent. Tennessee should want to give rookie QB Marcus Mariota more work than the Rams will give to QB Nick Foles. The Rams are much closer to being a Playoff team than are the Titans (2-14 in 2014) and are less likely to place an emphasis on results, especially on the road. The intangibles would suggest Tennessee has more of the edges.

MONDAY

Cincinnati at Tampa Bay: As with other games this week the host would seem to have more reasons to play with greater purpose and intensity than would the visitors. The Bengals are pretty set at most positions and have been to the Playoffs four straight seasons. Tampa rookie QB Jameis Winston had his ups and downs in last week’s debut but his talent is obvious. The Buccs have more concerns, more position battles and more need to develop a positive attitude than does Cincy which gives Tampa some added edges.

Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to Gaming Today readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Email: [email protected]

About the Author

Andy Iskoe

Owner and author of “The Logical Approach,” Andy Iskoe has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football.

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