Week 1 of the NFL Preseason played out just as we should have expected it. It was very slow and sloppy, with plenty of third- and fourth-stringers playing the majority of the snaps. There were a few things bettors could take away from these games, but it must be taken with a grain of salt, as preseason Week 1 only serves as a glorified scrimmage. The top two storylines for Week 1, in my opinion? Watching how the first and second overall draft picks fared. Yes, I am talking about Jared Goff and Carson Wentz. Both quarterbacks had an up-and-down game. Statistically and aesthetically speaking, Wentz had the better outing, but he was out there for longer. He went 12-for-24 for 89 yards with one interception - in the red zone. What shocked me the most about his time on the field was how poorly his offensive line blocked for him and how many big hits he had to absorb. I don't know who called the plays for that game, but he needs a stern talking too from management on how to protect the supposed franchise quarterback. Goff, on the other hand, came into the game early in the second quarter and went on to complete four of his nine pass attempts for just 38 yards and one interception. He was supposed to return for the start of the third quarter, but stiffness in his non-throwing shoulder ended his night.
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Week 2 gets underway Thursday night with six games on tap. Friday follows up with three games and Saturday's seven games mark the end of the week. In my opinion, the most interesting games on the schedule involve those teams that didn't play any of their starters in Week 1. Guys like Eli Manning, Tony Romo, Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers were all holding clipboards last week and are expected to see a series or two this week. It will also be interesting to see how both of the aforementioned rookie QBs bounce back in Week 2.
As always, you can find great NFL lines and Futures odds courtesy our friends at Bovada.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Pittsburgh Steelers
The battle of Pennsylvania goes down at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh this Thursday, and both teams have a lot of kinks to work out over the next couple of preseason weeks.
Philadelphia comes into this game after a sloppy performance against a completely unprepared Buccaneers team that turned the ball over twice inside their own 20-yard line. The Eagles took advantage of those two turnovers and converted them into touchdowns. However, the rest of the game offensively was very bad to watch. Chase Daniel, who played the entire second quarter completed just 4-of-10 passes for 15 yards. If we see more of him in the second preseason game, I like the Steelers chances to cover the small number.
The Steelers come into this game on the heels of a 30-17 loss courtesy of the Detroit Lions. The Steelers held a 14-13 lead at the halftime interval but were only able to manage three more points the rest of the way. It was a rough night for the three quarterbacks that saw action. Landry Jones fared the best, completing 50 percent of his passes for 55 yards and a touchdown. Dustin Vaughn and Bruce Gradkowski were ineffective to say the least. The Steelers were without Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell, DeAngelo Williams, Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton and Maurkice Pouncey. That's a lot of talent to have sitting on the bench in civvies. To make matters worse for Steelers fans, all six of those players will be held out of action once again as a precaution.
If my eye test of both of these teams is correct, this will be another sloppy game, and points will be at a premium. The Steelers defense could not be any worse than last week, so I expect an improved effort. Offensively, both teams will feature average quarterbacks, which will leave the total well short of the number.
Pick: "Under" 39.5 (-110)
Miami Dolphins @ Dallas Cowboys
This game is taking place Saturday night at 8 p.m. EST at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. This game should feature plenty of points, and I am inclined to take the "over" 40.5 points at the time of writing this article.
The Cowboys come back to Dallas after a rude awakening in the second half courtesy the new-look Los Angeles Rams. The Cowboys had a commanding 24-7 lead at halftime before getting outscored 21-0 in the second half. Offensively for the Cowboys, Dak Prescott, rookie out of Ole Miss, stole the show. He went 10-for-12 with 139 yards and two passing touchdowns. His replacement - Jameill Showers- completed 8-of-16 passes for 99 yards. The offense looked smooth, but the defense left much to be desired.
The Dolphins, on the other hand, come into this game making quick work of the Giants in New York. They won the game 27-10 after being down 10-0 after the first quarter. The outlook is positive despite Ryan Tannehill finishing 2-of-4 for 8 yards passing. The backup play was the bright spot, with Matt Moore finishing 10-of-14 for 122 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Doughty, the seventh-round pick from Western Kentucky, finished up strong, hitting 7-of-9 for 66 yards. The bad news for the Dolphins is that they were charged with nine penalties and one turnover. The defense forced four turnovers, which knocked the Giants right out of the game.
My gut tells me that more of the same should be expected when these two teams play. Both teams possess quarterbacks that can light it up, as seen last week. Both teams have defense that can be vulnerable. If not for the four Giants turnovers, they would have been right there with Miami.
I expect a high-scoring game, with both teams able to get into the 20s.
Pick: "Over" 40.5 (-110)
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