The NFL is officially back as football fans can look forward to the annual Hall of Fame Game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday night.
With a conference-worst 3-14 record during the dismal 2021-2023 season, the Jaguars enter the 2022–23 season looking to make progress toward the future with a solid young core.
The Raiders just finished a valiant season in which they battled their way into the playoffs before falling to the eventual AFC champion Bengals in a close game in the AFC Wildcard round.
It’s unlikely that many starters will play in this game or for a significant portion of the preseason, but football fans all over the world should rejoice at the fact that football is finally here. Fans will be able to get a good look at some young players and the depth of NFL rosters with players hungry to make an impact.
Sportsbooks give the Raiders the slight -135 moneyline favorite, while the Jaguars will be +115 underdogs. The total will be set at 30.5 points.
Jaguars Will Showcase New Young Talent
Football in the preseason is notoriously difficult to handicap because there are so many unproven players. Since Doug Pederson, the new head coach of Jacksonville has publicly stated that he doesn’t particularly care about win-loss records, we may anticipate him to liberally use rotations.
The three other quarterbacks in Jacksonville will be the center of attention, with Trevor Lawrence taking the bench. Kyle Sloter, Jake Luton, and CJ Beathard all seem likely to see some action here.
Beathard has the most experience as a starter with the 49ers, but Luton threw more interceptions than touchdowns in three starts, while Sloter hasn’t played an NFL down.
Either way, the Jaguars were a poor team last year, but they have added a plethora of talent to hopefully give this roster a jumpstart to contend in the future.
Raiders and Josh McDaniels Have High Expectations
Josh McDaniels takes over the reins for the Las Vegas Raiders and comes from a team that placed a premium on winning preseason games.
He served as New England’s offensive coordinator for the previous ten seasons, and New England held a preseason record of 9-2 over the previous four years. The Patriots went 3-0 and defeated their opponents 79-33 last year.
Additionally, the Raiders probably have an advantage in backup quarterbacks in a game that will primarily feature second- and third-stringers.
Coach McDaniels will look to get the offense going, and the backup quarterbacks Nick Mullens, Chase Garbers, and Jarrett Stidham will probably be looking to make a strong impression.
Both Mullins and Stidham started multiple offensive games for their respective teams last year and will be vying for the backup job in Las Vegas.
The Raiders look primed to breakout offensively as Josh McDaniels is an offensive-minded coach. Las Vegas is hoping that the Super Bowl victories he helped the New England Patriots win while serving as their offensive coordinator will transfer into success for the Raiders.
Free Betting Pick
Head-coaching tendencies must be prioritized when breaking down the lines during the preseason. Although both teams boast new head coaches, Doug Pederson has an 8-8 record over 16 preseason games and is in charge of a roster with less talent. Meanwhile, Josh McDaniels hails from the Bill Belichek coaching tree where winning is all that matters.
We like the Raiders to win this one. Las Vegas quarterbacks are more experienced, with Mullens and Stidham both having starting success in the NFL. Additionally, there is a lot of hype attached to this Las Vegas team, and I believe they start the season with a bang.
Betting Pick: Raiders ML (-135)
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