NFL · Sat (8/20) @ 10:00 pm ET
|SoFi Stadium, Ingelwood, CA|
Eight NFL games are scheduled for Saturday with over/under totals being generally higher than in the openers last week on betting boards. For TV viewers, there’s a quadruple-header on NFL Network starting at 1 p.m. EDT. Here’s a look at the odds for Saturday’s slate of NFL Preseason Week 2 games.
In Week 1, three were no games listed with an O/U above 37. But after 10 of the 16 games had scores flying over 40, 15 of the 16 Week 2 games have totals listed over 37, including each one Saturday.
Also of note, rookie coaches are 5-1 straight up this summer, including Matt Eberflus of Chicago, which is 2-0 after its victory at Seattle on Thursday night.
Broncos (+6, 4.5) at Bills
NFL · Sat (8/20) @ 1:00 pm ET
|Highmark Stadium, Orchard Park, NY|
Quick look: Buffalo (the favorite to win the Super Bowl at +600 at DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, and BetMGM) was only a 2.5-point pick early this week, but the spread jumped with the news that Bills coach Sean McDermott would give his starters “a healthy amount” of work Saturday while rookie boss Nathaniel Hackett of Denver mentioned his main guys would play briefly, if at all.
So, we’ll be seeing more of Buffalo QB Josh Allen, the across-the-board favorite to win league MVP honors this season at +700. The Broncos, meanwhile, revealed that journeyman Josh Johnson will get the QB start, with Brett Rypien working in later. No sense risking Russell Wilson here.
And since the Broncos had trouble in intrasquad red-zone drills earlier this week, more trouble appears to be in store against a team that had by far the best defense in the league last year. The Bills appear to be a nice choice giving the points.
Odds below via DraftKings:
Lions (-3, 38.5) at Colts
Moneyline: Lions -150/Colts +130
Time: 1 p.m.
Quick look: The teams are coming off a pair of hot-and-heavy midweek joint practices, with the Lions getting so manhandled Wednesday that coach Dan Campbell was reported to have destroyed the tape. Detroit came back with gusto on Thursday, which helped spur the line to move from Indianapolis by 2.
While the Lions, who have lost eight straight exhibitions dating to 2018, try to determine which of their uninspiring backup QBs, David Blough or current second-teamer Tim Boyle, deserves to be on the roster, the Colts are in good shape with Super Bowl-winning QB Nick Foles as the backup to another QB who has Super experience, Matt Ryan.
Commanders (+4.5, 43.5) at Chiefs
Moneyline: Chiefs -190/Commanders +160
Time: 4 p.m.
TV: NFL Network
Quick look: New Commanders QB Carson Wentz got positive reviews after his performance last week while going 10-for-13 for 74 yards, and perhaps more impressively, not getting sacked in a loss to New England. But already, star RB Antonio Gibson, who fumbled six times last year, faces time on the bench for a fumble again last week. Thus he’ll certainly treat this game like more than a glorified practice if he is allowed to play. And his backups will be gung-ho, too, with a sniff at being the alpha RB. That’s especially true for rookie third-round pick Brian Robinson out of Alabama.
As for Kansas City, last Saturday the Chiefs had their way against Denver before yanking QB Patrick Mahomes and his first-team buddies early on. This week, though, KC coach Andy Reid said his starters will probably play most of the first half. That news contributed to the line moving from Chiefs by 3 and for the highest over/under number of the week.
Buccaneers (+3, 38) at Titans
Moneyline: Titans -155/Bucs +135
Time: 7 p.m.
TV: NFL Network
Quick look: All of a sudden grooming a backup to Tom Brady seems much more important now that his return to the team is somewhat muddled, with coach Todd Bowles being noncommittal when on his No. 1 QB will return from an excused absence. Brady wasn’t going to play in this game regardless, but now the backups, veteran Blaine Gabbert and second-year man Kyle Trask, could be auditioning to be the Game 1 starter.
For Tennessee, rookie QB Malik Willis could get a lot of work in case coach Mike Vrabel is inclined down the road to have him take over for starter Ryan Tannehill (three INTs in playoff loss last season). As for Saturday, both teams could be short-handed at receiver, with Titans first-round pick Treylon Burks seen limping this week and with Bucs stalwarts Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Russell Gage sitting out midweek drills.
Tampa Bay probably would be wise to hold out bulldozing RB Leonard Fournette, who was in a fracas with Titans defenders Thursday late in their joint practice. Sound like this could be an “under.”
Raiders (-1, 41.5) at Dolphins
Moneyline: Raiders -115/Dolphins -105
Time: 7 p.m.
Quick look: The focus for the Raiders probably will be on the running backs since all eight survived the first cut, but it’s inevitable at least three will hear from The Turk in the near future. So, there surely will be some extra effort on their end. Among them are veterans Josh Jacobs (trade bait?) and Kenyon Drake (expensive $8M contract), who have had their fair share of the carries through LV’s first two games, including the Hall of Fame win over Jacksonville.
As for Miami, first-team QB Tua Tagovailoa reportedly has requested to play in this game after a shaky week of practice, which included five interceptions. Yikes! If he gets in, it can be expected that the Dolphins will emphasize their short passing game to help bolster his confidence.
49ers (+4.5, 39.5) at Vikings
Moneyline: Vikings -200/49ers +170
Time: 7 p.m.
Quick look: During midweek joint drills, both defenses excelled even with first-team QBs in action: S.F.’s Trey Lance and Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins, off his COVID-19 isolation that caused him to miss last week’s game. Reports indicate 49ers boss Kyle Shanahan will sit Lance for the remaining two preseason games. And since Jimmy Garoppolo, listed as second on the depth chart, is bound to be traded/cut soon, that leaves third-teamer Nate Sudfeld to play this week. He’s the guy who infamously replaced Philly’s Jalen Hurts in the season finale against the Giants two seasons ago and drove the Eagles off a cliff in a loss to Washington and cost NYG a playoff berth.
Meanwhile, rookie Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell is hoping he’ll be able to settle on who will be Cousins’ backup, Sean Mannion or Kellen Mond. The under seems to be the way to gamble on this one.
Steelers (+2.5, 41.5) at Jaguars
Moneyline: Jaguars -135/Steelers +115
Time: 7 p.m.
Quick look: Steelers coach Mike Tomlin promises to give first-round pick Kenny Pickett, a QB out of Pitt, lots of work “with the varsity” to see what he’s capable of doing against a first-team defense after impressing the staff late last week against Seattle backups. Tomlin also has a history of giving his vets playing time in the next-to-last exhibition.
Meanwhile, Jaguars coach Doug Pederson will no doubt be wary of risking first-team QB Trevor Lawrence and will be wanting to see how highly touted undrafted rookie QB C.J. Perry (Boston College/Brown) fares in his effort to make the roster as the No. 3 passer. Perry, though, has missed most of training camp — being released July 24 with a non-football injury before being re-signed Aug. 9. Anyhow, the Steelers are getting points?! Go figure.
Cowboys (+3, 37.5) at Chargers
Moneyline: Chargers -155/Cowboys +135
Time: 10 p.m.
TV: NFL Network
Quick look: After two days of practice against each other, QBs Dak Prescott of Dallas and LA’s Justin Herbert will sit this one out yet again, joining most of the other top players on each team. One of the biggest concerns for Dallas coach Mike McCarthy is the injury situation with his receivers, with CeeDee Lamb (foot) and Noah Brown (toe) joining Michael Gallup (knee) and James Washington (leg). They are listed as the top for WRs on the depth chart.
Plus, what’s with all the penalties? The Cowboys led the league in infractions in the 2021 regular season, and had 14 in their wild-card loss. Then they had 17 in their exhibition defeat in Denver last week, which is more than any team had in an outing the past two regular seasons.