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The NFL officially kicks off the 2017 football season with the annual Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio this Thursday at 5 p.m. PT on NBC. Our trivia question this week is what was the score of last year’s Hall of Fame game?

The answer is it was canceled because of poor field conditions.

This year for the first time it will be played on a Thursday and the site is the brand spanking new Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

Being from Steubenville, naturally I have been to the Hall of Fame game, usually on our way to the Ohio State fair in Columbus. Always a great place to check out with the Hall of Fame itself and some great pizza spots.

This year we fittingly have the Cowboys playing the Cardinals. I say fittingly because Super Bowl and former Cardinal quarterback Kurt Warner and Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones will both be enshrined into the Hall this Saturday at the Stadium on national TV. Check it out.

We know what Jerry is doing now but what is Kurt up to? Well, he is the offensive coordinator for his son’s football team, the Scottsdale (Ariz.) Desert Mountain high school. His son is a junior receiver and linebacker. More Warners set to come for the NFL.

So who will win this Hall of Fame game? Well, this bettor will probably make some play and I know one them will be on the UNDER as I doubt we will see QB’s Dak Prescott or Carson Palmer.

Next week will start the four-week NFL preseason with the Texans at the Panthers on Wednesday, Aug. 9 and games on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We will have some plays in next week’s column.

Believe it or not the college football season starts on Saturday, Aug. 26 with one of the biggest games of the year coming on Saturday, Sept. 2, which will stamp one team as No. 1. The game pits Florida State +7.5 vs. Alabama in Atlanta.

With just four weeks till the game the Tide has already had some problems off the field with Da’Shawn Hand, who was going to be the starting defensive tackle. He got arrested for a DUI last week. As of late last week Hand was still being held on a $1k bond in a Tuscaloosa jail. I guess he won’t make practice.

Head coach Nick Saban said he was not happy with Hand. I guess not, Nick! Now don’t fret for the Tide as they have plenty of five star players that can step right in and get the job done.

The opening line was Alabama -6.5 against FSU and it bet up to -7.5. Saban has gone 119-19 SU at Alabama so it is bad for your bankroll to bet against him on the money-line. The Tide has a new offensive coach in Brian Dabol, who they paid a whopping $1.3 million a year salary. Dabol spent 17 years in the NFL, so it looks like the Tide will continue to roll.

The Seminoles are completely loaded and head coach Jimbo Fisher would love to beat the Tide. He looks to have a shot with QB Deondre Francois back off a sensational freshman year, passing for over 3,300 yards. Florida State will have a great defense and the +7.5 points is very appealing to this bettor in what will be a titanic battle of two giants. The victor should hold the No. 1 ranking for some time.

Ah, Del Mar!

There have been some great payoffs so far with some good fields. The Play of the Week last issue Looking At Thelake had a horrible trip, finishing third just missing the place by ¾ of a length. Trainer John Sadler is wheeling this 3yo filly back in just seven days as she is listed to run on Wednesday in race 8. If she goes we will be singling her in the late pick four. She is No. 10 with Evin Roman again getting the leg up.

This week’s Top Play comes on Thursday in race 3, a mile turf for maiden fillies and mares. No. 2 Mag the Mighty exits our horses to watch list. She started her career going down the hill at Santa Anita but hopped at the start, was steadied and never really got into the race after that. She is by Giant’s Causeway so going long will be right up her alley. Look for a big effort at what will be a square price.

In race 8 on Thursday, which is the last leg of the pick four, we also have No. 10 Majestic Journey exiting our HTW list. This is also a maiden race going a mile on the grass. He gets his first start off the Robert Hess Jr. claim. Hess puts his go-to rider Kent Desormeaux in the irons so we will take a shot with him.

Spa to Spa great racing continues so get out and make some bets. You could be walking around lucky and not even know it.

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