Packers, Colts kick off NFL betting slate with Hall of Fame Game

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Andrew Luck will see the field while Aaron Rodgers might be a mere onlooker when the Indianapolis Colts and the Green Bay Packers meet in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio on Sunday.

Being chosen to play in what is the unofficial kickoff to the NFL season gives a team five preseason games instead of the usual four, meaning one more exposure to possible injury. The Packers know full well about the perils of the preseason after top WR Jordy Nelson went down with a season-ending ACL injury last August. The Packers, who are the second favorite at +850 on the Super Bowl LI futures board, are pretty set on their starters.

Oddsmakers at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com have made Green Bay a one-point favorite for the Hall of Fame Game, and the total is set at 36 points.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy often sits his first-stringers as much as possible during the preseason. It’s doubtful Rodgers will make more than a token appearance. Second-year backup quarterback Brett Huntley has also missed practice this week due to an ankle injury. The next two men up at quarterback are Joe Callahan and Marquise Williams, who are each drafted free agents.

Green Bay is 11-9 straight-up and 9-11 against the spread in preseason games over the last five seasons, according to the OddsShark NFL Database. Since Rodgers became their starting QB in 2008, they are 4-4 SU and 3-5 ATS in preseason games when they are favored by three or fewer points.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano said on Thursday that Luck and all of the starters will play on Sunday, although he did not specify how long they will play. Interestingly enough, on a weekend when Packers legend Brett Favre is being inducted into the Hall of Fame while his former understudy Rodgers is in town, the Colts’ No. 2 QB is Scott Tolkien, who spent three seasons buried on the Packers’ depth chart.

At the very least, Tolkien has some NFL seasoning and insight into the Packers.

Indianapolis, which is listed at +2500 on the Super Bowl odds board, is just 6-14 ATS and 9-11 SU in the preseason over the last five years. That includes a 1-7 ATS and 2-6 SU trend over the last two years.

The total has gone over in 11 of the Packers’ last 20 preseason matchups, including five of the last six. The total has gone under in 11 of the Colts’ last 20 preseason games.

A team’s preseason record has no predictive value for the regular season, but that’s especially true for the Hall of Fame Game. In six of the last seven seasons, the game’s winner has failed to make the playoffs. The last time both teams made the playoffs was 2001.

Defending champion Patriots among early NFL Week 1 betting favorites

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With the completion of the NFL draft, it’s a bit easier to get a handle on how teams will come out of the gate when the regular season begins in early September.

The Week 1 slate of games begins with the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots listed as 7.5-point favorites against the Kansas City Chiefs at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Tom Brady and the Patriots are 8-2 straight-up and 6-2-2 against the spread in their last 10 home games where they were favored by at least 6.5 points.

New England is 9-1 SU and 5-4-1 ATS in their last 10 home games played in September. The Chiefs are 4-1 ATS in their last five games as a road underdog.

The Dallas Cowboys are favored by 5.5 points against the New York Giants in the first Sunday Night Football matchup of the season. Dallas is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games against the Giants when it was favored. The total has gone under in eight of the teams’ last 10 matchups in Dallas, according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

The Atlanta Falcons, the defending NFC champion, are favored by 6.5 points on the road against the Chicago Bears in Week 1. Atlanta is 7-3 SU and 5-5 ATS in its last 10 games as a road favorite. Since 2009, the Bears are 2-6 SU as a home underdog of 4.0 or more points.

The Detroit Lions are 2.5-point favorites against the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona is 5-2 ATS in its last seven road games in September. Detroit is 8-2 SU and 5-5 ATS in its last 10 home games as a favorite of 4.0 or fewer points.

The Tennessee Titans host the Oakland Raiders in a pick’em. Oakland is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 regular-season road games. Tennessee is 3-6-1 ATS in its last 10 conference home games.

The Washington Redskins are 2.5-point favorites on the NFL point spreads for Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Philadelphia is 0-3 ATS in its last three games as an underdog of 3.0 or fewer points. Washington is 4-6 SU in its last 10 divisional home games.

The Green Bay Packers are listed as three-point favorites against the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle is 2-8 both SU and ATS in its last 10 road games in September. Green Bay is 7-0 SU and 5-1-1 ATS in its last seven home games against Seattle.

The Minnesota Vikings, who could potentially be facing their former star running back Adrian Peterson, are 3.5-point favorites against the New Orleans Saints in a Week 1 Monday Night Football matchup. Minnesota is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 home games. New Orleans is 6-3-1 ATS in its last 10 conference road games.

And the Denver Broncos are four-point favorites against the Los Angeles Chargers in the second Monday Night Football matchup of opening week. Los Angeles (formerly San Diego) is 1-9 SU in its last 10 divisional road games. Denver is 3-6-1 ATS in its last 10 home games against the Chargers at sports betting sites.

NFL must play its cards right when it comes to Las Vegas

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It’s official.

The NFL has approved the relocation of the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas, and with the move comes the pressure the league must now face in a city that embraces its gambling and vibrant nightlife.

Not only could this cause problems for the league, which has been outspoken against gambling on sports, but it could impact its players, who now have to deal with being in and around gambling year round.

With so many questions, the NFL must embrace these realities of being a part of Sin City in the future.

PFT’s Mike Florio breaks down the NFL’s future in Sin City in the video above from the owners’ meetings in Arizona.