Ladies and gentlemen, football is back! After months of anticipation and speculation, we will finally start getting answers for what to expect in the upcoming NFL season.
Las Vegas Raiders vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Thursday, August 04, 2022 – 08:00 PM EDT at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium
Let the Season Begin!
The season begins with the NFL Hall of Fame Game between the Jaguars and the Raiders.
These teams both have new head coaches and additions to the receiver room. The number of questions is high, but so are the hopes for each team.
Let’s break down the opening matchup of the NFL preseason and see what exactly we’re working with as Thursday approaches.
When the lines opened, the Raiders were favored by 1.5 points. However, sportsbooks can’t agree on where the value should move. Some online betting sites have the Raiders at -2, and some have this as a pick ‘em game.
The real problem with betting on the preseason is that teams have different philosophies. With two new head coaches, it’s hard to predict how they will treat this game.
Two Schools of Thought
Some teams refuse to play veterans for a single snap of the preseason to keep them healthy. Others insist on getting plenty of reps, so it’s hard to treat this like a normal game.
Also, we’ll see plenty of players in this game that won’t make the final roster. Outcomes won’t impact the teams for the long term, so you have to analyze the preseason differently.
That being said, let’s look at what each team brings to the table.
Las Vegas Raiders preview
The Raiders somehow made the NFL Playoffs despite the multitude of distractions last season. Credit Derek Carr for keeping the team focused every week as things off the field got crazy. With a new head coach, things should be on the rise for the Raiders.
Adding Davante Adams will change things significantly on the offensive side, but that likely won’t impact this game. Even if the vets see the field, it will be for only one or two drives. The fact remains that the stars are too valuable to risk losing to a preseason injury.
With how stacked the AFC West is, the Raiders will need all-stars to remain healthy to have a shot at making it back to the NFL Playoffs. They can work on chemistry and timing in training camp, but they shouldn’t risk getting hurt against the Jaguars this early.
Jacksonville Jaguars preview
Speaking of turmoil off the field, the Jaguars are looking to turn the page on a new season after the dumpster fire Urban Meyer left last season. With a proven head coach like Doug Pederson in charge, this team should at least be focused and prepared.
The Jaguars are younger, but they bring many players back from injuries. Will Travis Etienne see the field after missing all of his rookie season with an injury? How many of the rookies from this year's draft will be ready to contribute early in the preseason?
The Jaguars have questions, but they should be ready to play. The team will want to build chemistry, and the younger players still need NFL reps to prepare for a long season. Don’t be surprised if more starters play for Jacksonville than the Raiders.
Hall of Fame Game Prediction
While the Raiders easily have a more talented roster and weapons joining the team, it’s hard to imagine we will see most of their vets for more than a couple of drives. In fact, we may not see them play at all in this game.
Instead, expect Jarrett Stidham to get reps under center. He knows the offense, but he struggled to remain the backup for New England.
Hall of Fame Game Best Bets
On the other side, we should see plenty of Trevor Lawrence and C.J. Beathard for the Jaguars. Both of these quarterbacks are better than Stidham, and the weapons will be looking to build chemistry early in this season.
Strictly in a preseason game, give me the Jaguars to cover the spread for my NFL picks. In terms of the points total, I would bet on the under. Offenses take more time to build chemistry, and we will likely see plenty of errors in this game.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.