NFL Betting Preview: 2018 Hall of Fame Game

Posted by Derrick Harper on July 30, 2018 in

It’s finally here, the start of the NFL season. Well, it’s the start of the preseason at least. Thursday night, the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens will kick things off in the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. The Ravens are a 2-point favorite with an over/under of 33 points, so this should be an interesting game from a betting perspective. Let’s take a closer look at the first preseason game of 2018.

NFL Betting Preview: 2018 Hall of Fame Game

The Quarterback Situation

As in any NFL game, the quarterback position will have a huge influence on who wins the Hall of Fame Game. However, since both teams have five preseason games this year, they will likely give more playing time to their backup quarterbacks. That means the starters may be out after a series or two.

For Baltimore, that means very little Joe Flacco and a lot of Lamar Jackson. There is already speculation that Jackson could steal Flacco’s job at some point in 2018, possibly sooner rather than later if he has a strong preseason. Whether Jackson is a viable NFL quarterback is to be determined. However, his speed and athleticism could be dangerous against Chicago’s backups. The same could also be said of Robert Griffin III, who is in camp with the Ravens and hoping to impress during the exhibition season.

Meanwhile, the Bears may not give Mitchell Trubisky too many snaps. He may get a little more time than Flacco, as he has to build some chemistry with Chicago’s new skill position players. But for the most part, Chase Daniel and Tyler Bray will be getting most of the snaps for the Bears. Daniel’s job should be fairly safe, so it may be the inexperienced Bray who plays the most.

The Motivation

Motivation is always important in a preseason game. Obviously, the players on the field are all trying to make a good impression, so they will be trying their hardest. However, the winners and losers of exhibition games can often be decided by how much a coach wants to win a game.

The Bears, for instance, have a rookie head coach in Matt Nagy who is no doubt looking to start his career on the right foot. Even if it’s a preseason game, it will be nationally televised, so the entire league will be watching. It would be a real shot in the arm for Nagy and the rebuilding Bears to start out the year with a win.

The Ravens are favorites for the NFL 2018 Hall of Fame Game.

 

Of course, Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh has a track record of caring about preseason results. The Ravens have put together a 4-0 preseason in three of the last four years. That kind of winning doesn’t just happen, even in the preseason. The Ravens have also missed the playoffs the last three seasons, so Harbaugh knows he needs to create some positivity and momentum heading into the regular season.

Prediction

Ultimately, the Hall of Fame Game is about backups. The Ravens are a little deeper than the Bears and will have better backups at most positions. Baltimore’s backup quarterbacks are also a little more dangerous when playing against backups. It’s as simple as that. Bet on the Ravens -2 to beat the Bears comfortably in the Hall of Fame Game.