On Thursday, August 1st, NFL action returns for the first time in nearly six months, as the Atlanta Falcons take on the Denver Broncos in the 2019 Hall of Fame Game. This gridiron battle marks the first preseason game, and it will take place at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. Being that this a neutral field site and the first time we will see any NFL team in live action, there are a lot of unknowns heading into Thursday’s Falcons vs Broncos game.
|Betting Data||Atlanta Falcons||Denver Broncos|
|2018 S/U record||7-9||6-10|
|2018 ATS Home||3-5||2-5-1|
|2018 ATS Away||2-6||4-4|
|2018 O/U Home||5-3||1-7|
|2018 O/U Away||4-4||2-6|
The 2019 NFL season marks the 100th season of the NFL, and this Thursday’s HOF Game is the first chance that the league will have to unveil their season-long celebration. The Falcons and the Broncos were chosen to participate in this year’s Hall of Fame Game because Denver’s owner Pat Bowlen and former cornerback Champ Bailey are being inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame along with the game’s greatest tight end Tony Gonzalez, who played five seasons for the Falcons.
Denver (0-0) is playing in their first HOF Game since 2004, when they lost to Washington by a score of 20 to 17. In total, the Broncos have played three times in this game and have a record of 1-2. In addition to their loss to Washington, the Broncos split two games with the Detroit Lions, losing in 1991 and winning in 1976.
Atlanta (0-0) has also played in three Hall of Fame games and have a 1-2 record like the Broncos. The Falcons last appeared in this game back in 1994 when they defeated the Chargers 21 to 17. However, their first two trips to Canton ended in defeat as they lost to the Browns in 1981 and to the Packers in 1969.
NFL betting sites saw the Falcons open as the favorite with a spread of -2. However, the action has moved the line to the Broncos favored at -1 point. Online sports betting sites also have seen the Over/Under come down from 34.5 to 34 total points this past week. Since we’re going with the under, keep an eye out for sports betting sites that offer a higher game total.
Since this is the first preseason action of 2019, the best approach to betting on this game is cautiously going with the biggest trend. And that NFL betting trend is to bet on this HOF Game being a low scoring contest. Because most of the starters and none of the superstars will be playing in this game, it’s hard to imagine that these two teams will combine to score 35 or more points.
Over the last 13 HOF games, the average score was 33.7 total points and the under went 7-6 during that span. Over the last five preseason kickoffs, the average score has been 32.4 total points. Since 2000, the combined scores have gone Under 34 total points in 10 of 17 HOF games.
The Broncos come into this season with a new head coach, new systems, and new key players, from rookies to veterans like Joe Flacco. That means this team will need every snap during the preseason to gel as a unit. However, Thursday’s Hall of Fame Game will be more for the backups than the starters of both teams, which bolsters the argument of going with the under.
The Falcons will be the more experienced team, as they’re in the same system and have plenty of depth. This depth should prove well for backup QBs like veteran Matt Schaub. Offensive line play will be one of the most watched aspects of this HOF game for both teams, as coaches look at how well they pass protect and run the ball.
For the Broncos, the under was 3-13 last year, including their last nine games. The under also went 5-0 in their last five road games. For Atlanta, the under went 4-1 in their last five games played on Thursdays, and it was 6-1 in their last seven games during August.
Last year, Atlanta scored a total of 27 points in four preseason games. That’s an average of 6.75 points per game. I see Atlanta scoring more points than that at the HOF Game due to their experience. However, I also believe that the Broncos won’t score that many points because of their inexperience, new coaches, new systems, and new players. I would be surprised if either team cracks 20 points.
Look for Atlanta to cruise to a 17 to 10 victory. I believe Atlanta’s spread of +1 is also in play for this Thursday’s Hall of Fame Game.
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