The first unofficial weekend of the 2023 NFL season is here.
After two preseason games Thursday night, there are 14 games over the next three days. That includes six on Friday night as the Browns play their second preseason game of the season and 11 other teams get their preseasons started.
Green Bay heads to Cincinnati, the New York Giants visit the Detroit Lions, the Atlanta Falcons play at the Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh is at Tampa Bay, Washington is at Cleveland and Denver visits Arizona.
The total is the way to go if you want to bet on any of these games and get some practice in before Week 1 begins in September. And there’s not much variation among the six totals on Friday.
The lowest total is in Cincinnati at 35.5. That makes some sense with Joe Burrow sidelined because of a calf injury and the Packers beginning the Jordan Love era at quarterback even if backups and players who won’t make the final roster are going to get most of the playing time.
The highest total is in Tampa Bay at 39, where Baker Mayfield is set to start over Kyle Trask. The Bucs have made it clear they haven’t made a decision between Mayfield and Trask and that game is worth watching just to see if either quarterback can jump ahead in the QB competition.
The total in Miami is 36.5 as former Jets QB Mike White will likely get a lot of the playing time along with Skylar Thompson. White signed with the Dolphins in the offseason to compete with Thompson to be Tua Tagovailoa’s backup.
It’s 38.5 in Cleveland as the Browns and Jets hit the over in the Hall of Fame Game thanks to Cleveland’s comeback in the second half. And the total is 37 in Arizona as the Cardinals begin preparations for the season without Kyler Murray. Broncos coach Sean Payton has said that the starters will play for at least part of the game, so it’s our first chance to see Russell Wilson in Payton’s offense in a “real” game.
The Broncos are the biggest favorites of the night at -5.5. The Packers are 4.5-point favorites while both the Browns and Giants are 3-point favorites. The Falcons and Steelers are both 2.5-point favorites.
Rangers visit the Giants
The biggest MLB series of the weekend features the AL West-leading Rangers against the San Francisco Giants. Jon Gray takes the mound for the Rangers while Scott Alexander is the opener for the Giants. Texas is -115 to win while the Giants are -105. If you want to take the Rangers -1.5 runs, they’re at +145.
The Angels are in Houston as they attempt to make a last-ditch run to the playoffs. Houston is eight games ahead of Los Angeles in the AL West as the Angels are 10.5 games back of the Rangers and now 6.5 games back of the third and final Wild Card spot. Reid Detmers starts for the Angels while Justin Verlander is making his second start for the Astros since he was acquired from the New York Mets at the trade deadline.
Who cashed tickets Thursday?
We had a push in Seattle on the total as the Seahawks beat the Vikings 24-13 on Thursday night. The Seahawks scored 17 points in the second half after trailing 10-7 at halftime. C.J. Stroud didn’t have a preseason debut to remember for the Texans as the under hit in Houston’s 20-9 win over the New England Patriots.