From a pure handicapping standpoint, the Hall of Fame should be avoided as a wager. On the most basic level, the game is as close to a coin flip as you can have.
You would never read about betting previews on the first day of baseball spring training games or those in the NBA or NHL.
But this is football, professional football and it matters to people. It's time to start getting that pigskin pleasure and let's face it, next weekend there is a full slate of Week 1 preseason football and you and many others will be seeking information for NFL previews and predictions.
At MyBookie, Atlanta opened as a 1.5-point favorite but they've been flipped to +2.5 point underdogs as of Monday afternoon. Look for that to hold up and the number to land anywhere from -2 to -3 on the Broncos unless there a breaking news story on either team.
Among the methods of betting NFL August football is knowing quarterback rotations. Because the Falcons and Broncos are playing five exhibition games (sorry Commish, preseason contests) it seems unlikely we will see Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco, though they could make a cameo appearance in their team's first series.
Here are the projected quarterback rotations.
Falcons - Matt Schaub - Kurt Benkert
Broncos - Drew Lock - Kevin Hogan - Brett Rypien
Because of Schaub, Atlanta has an edge in experience, but there are no reports how much the veteran will play and our guess he will get more work in games later on.
Team Fixes That Matter Immediately
Coming into this season, Atlanta has the better team and more players at set positions. That doesn't mean the Falcons are way ahead of Denver, as they are coming off a hugely disappointing 7-9 campaign (5-11 ATS) compared to the Broncos at 6-10 (6-8-2 ATS).
Coach Dan Quinn wants immediate improvement in the offensive line, which was a huge weakness a year ago. The Falcons drafted guard Chris Lindstrom and tackle Kaleb McGary in the first round and signed other free agents to change the complexion of the O-Line. Quinn is on record in saying the five best offensive linemen will start and it is their responsibility to work together and become a cohesive unit.
Another area requiring fixing is the No.29 total defense from last year. Remember, Quinn, got this job coming from Seattle for those defenses they had in the Super Bowl seasons. It's time he fields a group to match his previous reputation.
New Denver head coach Vic Fangio will undoubtedly fix any problems on defense, as he has everywhere he's been. Last season, the Broncos were 22nd in total defense and 24th in points allowed and did not play with the usual discipline we used to see at a mile high.
What he really needs is the have an offense that doesn't turn the ball over, which places more pressure on his defense. Where the Broncos get better is a stronger running game that sets up more play-action passing. Having studied his team on tape, Denver has to stay ahead of the chains on first and second down, which will surely help them improve on ranking 28th on third-down conversions.
The Game Outcome
In the preseason, motivation is a big factor for making NFL picks. Each team comes into each game with an agenda. Coach Quinn does not place a great deal of importance winning contests in August and is 4-12 ATS in the preseason. He's also 0-7 ATS if the foe is from the AFC of late.
Frequently, a first-year coach like Fangio wants to alter a losing culture and they place a greater emphasis on winning, just to get their team in a better frame of mind and to heighten practices. Let's take Denver 17-13 for the win and cover.