Finally, after what seemed like way too long of a delay after that dreadful Super Bowl between the Rams and Patriots, NFL action is back on our television screens this Thursday night.
And even though it’s just pre-season, and it is just one standalone contest in the Hall of Fame Game between the Broncos and Falcons – it sure feels good to be breaking down NFL football action and handicapping match-ups once again.
As has been the case for a while now, the Sports Geek will always have your NFL betting needs covered, focusing in on the key matchups of each and every week, from the pre-season to the Super Bowl next February.
For Thursday’s contest, both the Broncos and Falcons weren’t pleased with how their respective seasons finished up last year, and both organizations certainly feel the pressure in 2019. That said, both groups went about their off-seasons a little differently. Atlanta chose to keep things mostly intact, keeping head coach Dan Quinn on in his role – but definitely with a tight leash. Meanwhile for the Broncos, John Elway knew his group needed upgrades in a tough division so he went out and acquired Joe Flacco at quarterback and Vic Fangio to be head coach. You better believe there will be a lot of interested eyes fixated on the Denver opener come Thursday evening, even if it just is pre-season.
Football is back, folks – and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Expect this to be a heavily bet game, as hungry football fans are once again eager for some betting action. Please continue to read on below the posted odds for some pre-season betting strategy tips, as well as a breakdown and betting selection for Denver vs. Atlanta.
Broncos vs. Falcons Betting Odds:
Denver Broncos -2.5 (-115)
vs. Atlanta Falcons +2.5 (-105)
Over 34 (-110)
Under 34 (-110)
Broncos vs. Falcons Pick:
Already this line has seen a lot of movement. It opened up as a PK, before shifting to Atlanta, and now it’s reversed entirely in favour of the Denver Broncos. Despite trying to integrate many new faces and schemes, it seems as if many within the betting markets anticipate Denver taking this match-up a little more seriously than the Falcons.
And that right there is one of the true keys to assessing value when it comes to betting your money on the NFL pre-season. Which teams value the win more? It also helps to do your research, and read pre-game reports on how long certain starting groups are expected to play. Of course, the most important position in all this is under centre with the quarterback. Looking into QB rotations is huge. Teams with veteran-tested second and third-stringers at quarterback tend to be well set-up during the exhibition campaign. So before your capping, be sure you do your research and check out the rosters and depth charts.
For this match-up, we’ve got that analysis covered. Vic Fangio has already come out and said his starter Joe Flacco will not suit up. His quarterback triumvirate will begin with former Stanford QB Kevin Hogan, before being followed up by promising second-rounder Drew Lock. Both play-callers have skill and by many reports have looked good in training camp. One notable development for the Broncos is that head coach Vic Fangio has already come out and said that his starters will be very limited in Canton for the HOF game. Whether this means they’re playing one series, or not at all – we’re not quite sure just yet, but be sure to look into pre-game reports. It’s also important to note that both Denver and Atlanta play an additional pre-season game to other teams, so they’ll definitely be easing their players more into the season than most.
On the other side, the Falcons will counter by sitting out their starting quarterback as well, Matt Ryan. Pre-season football, right!? Dan Quinn has yet to commit about playing the rest of his starters, but did come out and say that Thursday’s match-up will be a great chance to look at some of the young roster hopefuls within the Atlanta group.
One interesting point to note is that Matt Ryan is backed up by a very well-respected and experienced backup QB in Matt Schaub. The former starter is expected to suit up, and that could give the Falcons the early advantage in this contest. Beyond Schaub, it’ll mostly come down to Kurt Benkert under centre for Atlanta. He was brutal last year in the pre-season, and after an inactive season I’m not certain what would have changed for him. Expect the former Virginia product to struggle on Thursday.
Despite the presence of Schaub, expect the Falcons to really only rely on the veteran for a maximum of two offensive series. This is very likely going to come down to the depth of Atlanta vs. the depth of Denver, and given the changes and new faces John Elway made in the off-season, their squad looks a little stronger on paper right now. Beyond this, Kevin Hogan and Drew Lock are talented back-ups that will push Flacco in the Mile High City, while Kurt Benkert will very likely not even make the Falcons’ final roster. Dan Quinn has also never cared about the pre-season, entering this game with an all-time 4-12 record. On the other side, Vic Fangio has talked about getting his coaching debut in Denver off to a great start and wants this game to set the tone for the season, despite not using any starters. It might be a slight lean, but that tilts the edge to the Broncos here. Look for their QB depth and motivation to be the difference in our first game of the year. Enjoy!