BetOnline patrons have certainly become accustomed to things moving kind of slowly on offense in the Hall of Fame Game, which takes place rather early in training camp. But there is no question that the Jacksonville Jaguars and Las Vegas Raiders are quite happy that matters off the field have been slow as well. Each team has made off-season changes in the coaching staff, and that usually brings optimism.
So is that optimism justified?
We're not going to sit here and tell you that Thursday night's game will be an indicator, but we can guarantee that the game will kick off sometime around 8 PM ET at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. There will be plenty of new inductees, and that includes the first Jag, former All-Pro offensive tackle Tony Boselli.
The guy expected to make the big leap this season is Trevor Lawrence, who had an unsettling rookie season last year in Jacksonville. Of course, bumpy rides on a maiden voyage are not at all unexpected, but Lawrence experienced a lot of unsolicited and unwarranted static along the way, because of the presence of coach Urban Meyer, who turned out to be an ill-advised hire by owner Shad Khan. Meyer displayed some of the most bizarre behavior of any coach in modern history, and his firing was almost like a mercy killing.
In steps Doug Pederson, known as an offensive guru as an assistant and then a head coach who was able to lead the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl title with backup QB Nick Foles at the helm. It should be noted, though, that Pederson's last season in Philly was not calm, as he had conflicts with ownership as well as his starting QB (Carson Wentz).
Here are the football betting odds on the NFL Hall of Fame Game, as they are posted by our friends at BetOnline:
Las Vegas Raiders -2.5
Jacksonville Jaguars +2.5
Over 30.5 points -107
Under 30.5 points -113
The Raiders had to go through the whole Jon Gruden saga last season, where the coach's emails were, well, infiltrated, with some "racist" and "misogynistic" comments found. He resigned, and he's suing the league. It was commendable how interim coach Rick Bisaccia was able to hold things together, as the team got to the playoffs and came close to knocking off the Cincinnati Bengals. But his reward was a termination (he is now special teams coach in Green Bay).
So now Josh McDaniels returns to the AFC West, where he was head coach of the Denver Broncos from 2009-10. He was most notably the offensive coordinator in New England for a combined 14 seasons over two tenures.
He is the latest guy to try to get more out of Derek Carr, who has been good enough to go to three Pro Bowls but not good enough to take a team far in the playoffs. McDaniels brings the same offense that he used with the Patriots, winning six Super Bowl rings.
The presence of Davante Adams should help. Adams got himself traded to Vegas, where he reunites with Carr, who was his quarterback at Fresno State.
They'll produce. But they may not be very prominent on Thursday night. And by the way, Lawrence will not be playing for the Jags. Neither will running back Trevor Etienne, who will have to make J-Ville fans wait a little longer after sitting out all of last season with a Lisfranc injury.
When looking at these preseason games as a handicapping proposition, examining the respective QB situations is a viable angle. The Jaguars will use Jake Luton, who's got six INT's in 110 NFL attempts and a QB rating under 40. Then there is Kyle Sloter, an interesting prospect, but a guy who completed 58% with a 9-11 ratio of touchdowns to interceptions for the New Orleans Breakers of the USFL, and signed with the Jags just eleven days ago.
In situations like this, you like to see backup quarterbacks with some experience, and specifically in the system. Las Vegas' Nick Mullens has 17 NFL starts under his belt. And then they have Jarrett Stidham, who the Raiders sent a sixth-round pick to New England to acquire. There was a point where Bill Belichick thought Stidham might be a successor to Tom Brady. So he liked him. That means McDaniels likes him. And he is helping the staff and the other players learn the Patriots' system that is being installed. So he knows it, inside and out. The Raiders also have Chase Garbers, who played at Cal, but if there are no trades made, he is a real longshot to make the roster.
This quarterback edge is as good a rationale as any for us to lay the points with the Raiders, since we don't see Jake Luton lighting things up.
At BetOnline, they have no shortage of betting options for you as the preseason gets underway....... Remember that with Prop Builder, you can attack the game from all angles, and then there is the "Live Betting" option that keeps you very much in the action throughout....... You can use your credit card, as always, to open up an account, but also keep in mind that they accept just about every form of cryptocurrency imaginable!