Patrick Semansky/Associated Press
Two teams looking to make a run at the postseason in 2018 will square off in Thursday’s NFL Hall of Fame Game, as the Baltimore Ravens are listed as small betting favorites against the Chicago Bears at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.
The Ravens missed out on last year’s playoffs in Week 17 while the Bears are hoping a new head coach will help them rebound from their fourth consecutive losing season.
Baltimore is easily the more established of the two teams led by an experienced veteran coach-quarterback combo in John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco. Harbaugh and Flacco are each in their 11th year with the Ravens, with both coming into the league in 2008. They won a Super Bowl together in 2012 despite totaling just one more victory during the regular season (10-6) than they did a year ago (9-7).
In addition, Harbaugh has been one of the best coaches during the preseason, going 28-12 straight up and 27-13 against the spread, according to the OddsShark NFL Database.
On the other side, Chicago is breaking in a second-year quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky, who won 27-24 in overtime at Baltimore last season. Trubisky’s numbers were far from eye-popping, but his leadership skills have impressed many, including teammates and first-year coach Matt Nagy. The Bears went 2-2 SU and ATS last preseason under former coach John Fox, and Nagy will look to bring in some energy and creativity as the former offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs.
The key to handicapping this matchup is trying to figure out how much the starters will play for each team. With Chicago, a 2.5-point underdog on the Hall of Fame Game odds, breaking in a new offense, Trubisky could get some snaps before giving way to reserves Chase Daniel and Tyler Bray. Meanwhile, Flacco could sit or play maybe one series, giving plenty of opportunities to rookie Lamar Jackson and veteran Robert Griffin III to win the backup job with a good showing.
Last year’s Hall of Fame Game was a surprisingly high-scoring affair that went over the 34.5-point total, at least from preseason standards. The Dallas Cowboys edged the Arizona Cardinals 20-18 after trailing 15-0 early on and pushed as two-point favorites. Four of the previous five games at Canton finished under the total.
For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.