NFL Preseason Week 3 kicks off Thursday

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NFL Preseason Week 3 kicks off Thursday


It's commonly believed that that the third full week of the NFL preseason is the "dress rehearsal" for the regular season openers. Most coaches will go with their expected starters for up to three quarters of the action. Therefore, you would think that bettors who have been studying their materials over the offseason would be well prepared for what happens this weekend. With that in mind, let's take a look at the two games that will jumpstart the schedule. According to oddsmakers at, New England is a 7.5-point favorite over St. Louis, and Green Bay is laying 3.5-points to Indy at home.
St. Louis (1-1) at New England (2-0), 7:30 p.m. EDT Line: New England -7.5 Total: 37.5

Coming off a pair of rough performances, number one overall pick Sam Bradford is expected to get the start at QB for the Rams due to thumb and elbow injuries to starter A.J. Feeley. Bradford has completed just 44 percent (12-27) of his passes so far and has yet to find the end zone. On the bright side, he has not thrown a pick either.
The Patriots have displayed a balanced run-pass attack in winning their first two preseason games over the Saints and the Falcons. Veterans Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris both topped 50 yards against the Falcons and both scored on TD runs of 20 yards or more. Meanwhile, Tom Brady completed 10 of 12 passes for 85 yards and a TD to rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez. Fellow rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski also caught a TD pass courtesy of backup QB Brian Hoyer.
The Patriots are an obvious favorite in this matchup, but there are conflicting handicapping signs from StatFox demonstrating their ability to cover the rather large number in this contest.
First off, this system suggests the Rams are due for a bounceback:
  • Play On - Underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (ST LOUIS) - after gaining 5.5 or less passing yards/attempt in last game. (53-24 over the last 10 seasons.) (68.8%, +26.6 units. Rating = 2*)
    That angle boasts a perfect 6-0 ATS record over the last three seasons, including 1-0 last weekend.
    Still, statistically speaking, this game could be a mismatch. The Rams were outgained by 188 yards per game in their first two preseason affairs, while New England has outscored its foes by 10.5 PPG in going 2-0 SU & ATS. As such, the StatFox Game Estimator calls for a 31-11 rout.
    Indianapolis (0-2) at Green Bay (1-1), 8:00 p.m. EDT Line: Green Bay -3.5, Total: 44

    The Colts travel to Green Bay Thursday night still looking for their first win of the preseason. They are infamous for not typically giving a hoot about what happens in these games, but it is apparent that oddsmakers and bettors are expecting a different type of effort today. For one, the Colts are only a 3.5-point dog at Lambeau Field after playing as 4-point dogs at home against San Francisco and in Toronto against the Bills. For two, the line actually opened as Green Bay -4, but has dumped a half-point since.
    Peyton Manning played five series and led the Colts to a pair of TD (one rush, one pass) in the first quarter of their 34-21 loss to the Bills last Thursday, but also had an INT returned 78 yards for a score. The Colts D surrendered a pair of long first-quarter scores: a 31-yard run and a 70-yard pass. Backup Curtis Painter bounced back from a dismal opener to complete 5-of-6 passes for 97 yards, including a 43-yard TD strike to Taj Smith.
    The Packers dropped their preseason opener to the Browns 27-24, but bounced back to beat the Seahawks by the same score in their second game. Through two games, Aaron Rodgers is already in midseason form, having completed 20-of-24 attempts for 275 yards and 3 TD without an INT. Backup Matt Flynn has not been as sharp, connecting on 19-of- 35 for 199 yards and 2 INT without throwing a TD. He's also been sacked three times to Rodgers' none.
    It's difficult to think the Colts would go winless in the preseason again. Consider this system from FoxSheets:
  • Play On - Underdogs or pick (INDIANAPOLIS) - winless in the preseason. (80-42 over the last 10 seasons.) (65.6%, +33.8 units. Rating = 2*).
    However, this game also has a large statistical imbalance, like the Patriots-Rams game. Perhaps a play on the total makes more sense:
  • INDIANAPOLIS is 12-1 OVER (+10.9 Units) in games played on a grass field since 1993 in the preseason. The average score was INDIANAPOLIS 19.5, OPPONENT 23.4 - (Rating = 3*)

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