Most NFL coaches don’t care a lick whether their teams win a preseason game. The goal is to get the starters a few repetitions and out of there before getting injured. In addition, it gives the coaches a chance to look at rookies and guys fighting to make the roster.
However, there are a few NFL coaches out there who like to build a winning mentality regardless of the situation. One such guy appears to be Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh. He’s an amazing 28-12 in his preseason career and 27-13 against the spread – most teams who win are going to cover the spread in an exhibition game because the numbers are so low.
Harbaugh’s Ravens bring an eight-game preseason winning and covering streak into Thursday night’s annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, according to the OddsShark NFL Database. Baltimore, in its first-ever Hall of Fame Game, is a 2.5-point betting favorite at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com over the Chicago Bears, who are 4-0 all time in this game.
Two legendary linebackers from each side, Ray Lewis of the Ravens and Brian Urlacher of the Bears, will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend. The NFL generally schedules teams for this game who have a tie to a HOF inductee that year.
We have no betting trends to decipher for Chicago head coach Matt Nagy as this is his debut in that role. The former Kansas City Chiefs coordinator was hired this offseason to replace John Fox, who was an ugly 14-34 in his three years in Chicago. The Bears have finished last in the NFC North each of the past four years and are projected to again in 2018 on the NFL futures.
Don’t expect to see many starters play Thursday and very briefly if so. Perhaps Nagy plays his offensive guys a bit more than usual because he’s implementing a totally new scheme and needs as many game-like situations as possible. Chicago’s 2018 first-round pick, linebacker Roquan Smith (the next Urlacher, the team hopes), will not play due to a contract holdout. However, Baltimore’s second first-round pick in this year’s draft, former Louisville Heisman-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson, should see the field plenty.
What to expect Thursday? A close, low-scoring game. This decade, just one HOF game (two were canceled) has exceeded 40 total points. Thus, only a total of 33 points for this one. Four of the past five Hall of Fame Games have been decided by 7 points or fewer. Last year, Dallas beat Arizona 20-18.
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Source: Heavy Sports