- The Falcons are favored over the Broncos in the first NFL preseason game of 2019
- Starters on both teams are unlikely to play much, so the advantage goes to the team with the best depth
- Which team is the best bet?
It’s hard to believe, but the return of the NFL is less than a week away. The Hall of Fame game kicks off the preseason schedule Thursday, August 1st, and oddsmakers have made the Atlanta Falcons a 1.5-point favorite over the Denver Broncos.
NFL Preseason Hall of Fame Game Odds
|Denver Broncos||+1.5 (-110)||O 34.0 (-110)|
|Atlanta Falcons||-1.5 (-110)||U 34.0 (-110)|
*Odds taken 07/25/19
The total opened at 34, which is exceptionally low, and signals key starters on both sides likely won’t play many snaps if any at all. As a result, the advantage goes to the team with the most experience and depth on its second and third string units, especially at quarterback and on the offensive line.
Atlanta is the More Experienced Team
For the Falcons, Matt Schaub, a 14-year veteran, will see plenty of snaps as will Kurt Benkert who played in all four preseason games for Atlanta last year. The O-line is loaded with experienced players who will be very familiar with the Falcons scheme and that should go a long way in protecting their QBs and giving them time to run the offense successfully.
Next Thursday . Aug 1st. NFL Hall of Fame Game. ATL Falcons. pic.twitter.com/8ZrX2Si6VB
— Chris Johnson (@ChrisJayMusic) July 22, 2019
The Broncos meanwhile, will rely heavily on second round pick Drew Lock and a much less experienced crew of back-up linemen. Lock has shown flashes in camp, but live game speed is a much different beast. It won’t surprise anyone if he struggles to read the defense, and all it takes is one bad read to put Denver behind the eight ball early.
#Broncos HC Vic Fangio on Drew Lock “He’s not a quarterback yet, but he’s improving.”
— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) July 25, 2019
Atlanta is more experienced not only on the field, but off the field as well. Denver is breaking in a new head coach, with no previous head coaching experience, and a new offensive and defensive co-ordinator. A rocky start should be expected, which is another reason to back the Falcons as a short favorite.
Historically, Dan Quinn teams have struggled in the preseason going 4-12 against the spread, but Atlanta should be able to capitalize on an inexperienced Broncos team right out of the gate.
Play the Under
One trend to note if thinking about playing the Hall of Fame game total, is the contest’s propensity to be low scoring. Defenses usually take less time than offenses to get on the same page, which explains why the average total in the last 13 Hall of Fame games is only 33.7.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) July 25, 2019
If we shrink that sample size down to just the past five years, the average total lowers to 32.8 points per game and since we expect the Broncos to struggle on offense, playing the under becomes the most enticing bet.
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