NFL preseason begins on Thursday August 3
If you’ve been missing the NFL since Jalen Hurts threw an incomplete pass to end Super Bowl LVII, you are in luck. The NFL preseason begins on Thursday August 3 with the Hall of Fame Game at Tom Benson Stadium in Canton, Ohio between the New York Jets and the Cleveland Browns.
It is a huge weekend for Browns fans with the induction of Joe Thomas and the kickoff to the exhibition portion of the year. There will be a lot of barking and a lot of orange in the crowd, as this one is a true home game for Cleveland, which isn’t always the case in the lid lifter for the preseason. That may be the only reason why the Browns are -2,5 in Thursday’s game with a very low total of 31.5.
New York Jets at Cleveland Browns (-2.5, 31.5)
DraftKings Sportsbook moved Cleveland up to -2.5 to start the week and there are some interesting storylines to the game. QB Zach Wilson will be out there as he looks to hold off Tim Boyle for the backup spot behind Aaron Rodgers. On the Browns side, fifth-round pick Dorian Thompson-Robinson out of UCLA should get a good number of snaps, along with 2021 third-rounder Kellen Mond, as he gets a fresh start with a new team.The Athletic’s Browns beat reporter Zac Jackson expects Mond to get the start.
Jets head coach Robert Saleh told reporters that none of his starters will play and some of the vets will sit out as well, so that could mean guys like Randall Cobb and CJ Uzomah on offense, along with guys like Solomon Thomas and Al Woods on defense. Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski had not said anything one way or another as of Monday morning, but the expectation is that none of the starters and regulars will play.
Remember that for the preseason, the fourth quarter will be decided by guys like DTR and Chris Streveler, so it may make sense to look more at first-half wagers when you know who will be playing, though Streveler had five touchdown passes in three preseason games last season for the Jets. He was 24-of-33 for 277 yards with a 5/1 TD/INT ratio and nine carries for 71 yards during New York’s perfect preseason in 2022.
As a member of the Vikings, Mond was 29-of-51 for 303 yards with a 2/2 TD/INT ratio last preseason with eight yards on five carries. He did take four sacks in the final preseason game against the Broncos. Thompson-Robinson has never played an NFL game, but threw for 10,710 yards and had 88 touchdown passes in five seasons with the Bruins at the collegiate level.
A couple other players to watch on Thursday include Pitt RB Israel Abanikanda, who was a fifth-round pick by the Jets that rushed for over 1,400 yards last season and RB Zonovan Knight, who had 20 total touchdowns at NC State over three seasons, including three kick return scores, and 400 yards in seven games as a runner and receiver for the Jets last season.
The Under is 7-3 in the last 10 versions of the Hall of Fame Game, as last year’s matchup between the Jaguars and Raiders sailed over with 38 points and a total of 30.5. Many of the games have stayed way under the total in that span.
However, I do like the Over 31.5 a little bit here, as Streveler is an experienced preseason QB and DTR has terrific running ability, which is important because protections often break down with the third and fourth-stringers on the offensive line and that forces the QB to improvise. The Jets also could have some really exciting depth at running back.
Pick: Over 31.5