Football! NFL preseason gets going with Hall of Fame Game

Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium will host another Hall of Fame Game on Thursday night. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium will host another Hall of Fame Game on Thursday night. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

The Super Bowl was a long time ago. In fact, it was 172 days ago.

Unless you’re a big fan of the CFL, XFL, USFL or any other random FL’s out there, that was the last taste we had of football. It’s hard to say Thursday night’s Hall of Fame Game is normal football, but it will still be a wonderful sight.

The New York Jets are 1.5-point favorites against the Cleveland Browns at BetMGM. Don’t lie: It’s pretty cool seeing an NFL point spread, wasn’t it?

The total might be more interesting than the side. It’s 33.5, which is actually higher than last season’s 30.5. Before last season’s Hall of Fame Game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars, the under had hit in seven of the previous nine games in Canton. Starters rarely play in the game, and the offense’s struggle. In 2021, the total was 33 points for Dallas Cowboys vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, and only 19 points were scored.

Of course, last year the Jaguars and Raiders burned the trend bettors, with the Raiders beating the Jaguars 27-11. That might be why the total is bumped up three points from last year. Of all the money bet on the total at BetMGM, 69% is on the under.

Good luck figuring out the total. The Jets won’t play any starters, coach Robert Saleh said. Zach Wilson will start, which could be a good or bad thing if you want to take the Jets. Browns third-string QB Kellen Mond will start for the Browns, the team’s site said, while most of the team’s veterans will sit. The line opened with the Browns as a 1.5-point favorite and has moved three points to the Jets’ side. At BetMGM, 59% of the money on the spread is on the Jets.

There won’t be many recognizable players on the field Thursday night. But it’s an NFL game, and a chance to bet on football again.

Here’s a first look at the sports betting slate for Thursday:

MLB has 11 games

A few MLB teams have off Thursday but there are still 11 games.

The Toronto Blue Jays try to finish their four-game series against the Baltimore Orioles with a split, after dropping the first two games of the set. The Blue Jays are -165 favorites. The Chicago Cubs are streaking up the NL Central standings, and they can take three of four from the Cincinnati Reds with a win in the series finale on Thursday. The Cubs are -160 favorites. Late Thursday the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels, both on the fringe of the AL wild-card race, start a series in Anaheim. The Angels are -155 favorites with Shohei Ohtani on the mound.

The rest of the sports schedule

The PGA’s Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, NC gets going on Thursday. Hideki Matsuyama, Russell Henley, Si Woo Kim and Sungjae Im are the co-favorites at +2000. There is one WNBA game, as the Atlanta Dream takes on the Phoenix Mercury. The Dream is a 7.5-point favorite. There’s not a whole lot else, as usual in the summer. But at least there’s an NFL preseason game.

What’s the best bet?

The Houston Astros travel to the Bronx to face the New York Yankees, and I’ll keep fading the Yankees. I’ll go with the Astros, with Cristian Javier on the mound, as a reasonable -120 favorite. And heck, take the under in the Hall of Fame Game too.

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