NFL Hall of Fame Game Betting Preview

The NFL preseason kicks off Thursday night with the annual Hall of Fame Game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.

This year’s Hall of Fame Game matchup is the Atlanta Falcons vs the Denver Broncos. The latest odds at Bovada Sportsbook have the Falcons listed as a 2.5-point favorite and the total at 34.

Don’t expect to recognize most of the players suiting up for the Falcons and the Broncos on Thursday night. Denver has already announced that third-stringer Kevin Hogan will get the start at quarterback. He’ll be followed by newly drafted Drew Lock and Brett Rypien, while new starting QB Joe Flacco won’t play at all.

QBs Flacco, Ryan won’t play in Hall of Fame Game

Atlanta starting QB Matt Ryan will also sit out the preseason opener. Expect to see a lot of Matt Schaub and Kurt Benkert taking snaps for Atlanta.

Both Atlanta and Denver have played in the Hall of Fame Game three times previously, and both have posted 1-2 records straight up. The Broncos last played in 2004, losing to the Washington Redskins 20-17 as a 1-point underdog. The Falcons haven’t played since 1994 when they fell to the then San Diego Chargers 21-17. No odds were available for that game.

The Broncos were 2-2 SU and against the spread in the preseason a year ago. They’re much better over their last 10 preseason games at 7-3 SU and 6-3-1 ATS. Taking Denver as an underdog in the preseason has been a money-maker for years. In their last nine preseason games as an underdog, the Broncos are 7-2 SU and ATS.

Falcons haven’t been a good preseason bet

Betting on the Falcons in the preseason in the last few seasons has been the equivalent of lighting your money on fire. Atlanta was 0-4 SU and ATS in the preseason last year and overall has lost eight straight preseason games both SU and ATS. When favored in the preseason, Atlanta has lost three straight SU and four in a row ATS. One other preseason trend for the Falcons: they’re 9-2 UNDER in their last 11 games.

There is no preseason matchup data for the Broncos and Falcons, as this is the first time they’ve ever met in the preseason. During the regular season and in the playoffs, the Falcons are 3-1 SU and ATS in their last four vs Denver, while the Broncos have the advantage over the last 11 matchups at 7-4 SU and 5-5 ATS (one game had no odds).