Denver (0-0) at Atlanta (0-0)
When: Thursday, August 1st, 2019
Where: Tom Benson Stadium,
Time: 8:00 ET | TV: NBC
Opening Odds: Pickem/34
The NFL season is here! Yes, it’s only preseason and we won’t be seeing many of the stars on the field the first week, but it lets everyone know the regular season is only a month away. This year’s Hall of Fame Game will take place on Thursday, August 1st and feature the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons – two franchises that will have representatives enter the Hall of Fame. Denver will have two of them this weekend in late owner Pat Bowlen and former cornerback Champ Bailey, while the Falcons will have one of the best tight ends in NFL history in Tony Gonzalez enter the Hall. Both teams are 1-2 all-time in this game, with Denver last playing in 2004 and Atlanta in 1994. They were both able to open training camp before any other teams and will be the only clubs to play five preseason games instead of four. The game opened at Pickem with a total of 34 and has since moved to Denver -2.5 with the total holding still.
This will be the head coaching debut for Denver’s Vic Fangio, who was the defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears’ top-ranked unit in 2018. This season will feature another changed at quarterback with the aging Joe Flacco coming over from Baltimore to replace Case Keenum. We are more likely to see second round pick Drew Lock take the snaps along with Kevin Hogan and Brett Rypien, who is fourth on the quarterback depth chart. No. 1 receiver Emmanuel Sanders had his 2018 season end early due to an Achilles injury and likely won’t play at all this pre-season.
This is a very important season for head coach Dan Quinn, who will be taking a dual role in also calling defensive plays while Dirk Koetter takes over the offense. Quinn is just 5-11 in the preseason and the franchise has taken a step back since blowing the Super Bowl three years ago. The Falcons made the playoffs the next year, but exited early and fell to 7-9 in 2018, but was ravaged by injuries. Superstar receiver Julio Jones is dealing with a foot injury and won’t play Thursday and maybe not at all this preseason.
Don’t go nuts betting preseason games, including this one. Play small and have fun with it. I’m taking Denver here because first-year coaches like to make a quick impression and I can see that with Fangio. Quinn’s preseason record is another reason not to go with Atlanta.
Pick: Broncos -2.5
Broncos are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 Thursday games.
Broncos are 5-13 ATS in their last 18 road games.
Broncos are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
Falcons are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 Thursday games.
Falcons are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home games.
Falcons are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
Falcons are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games on fieldturf.
Under is 4-0-1 in Broncos last 5 road games.
Over is 19-7 in Broncos last 26 games on fieldturf.
Under is 20-8-1 in Broncos last 29 games overall.
Over is 16-5 in Falcons last 21 games on fieldturf.
Under is 3-1-1 in Falcons last 5 Thursday games.