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Kaepernick, Niners Underdogs vs. Chargers as NFL Preseason Concludes

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Colin Kaepernick, who has been the most talked about athlete in America after his sitdown protest during the national anthem, will be in at quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers when the NFL preseason ends on Thursday.

From a talent standpoint, Week 4 is the least exciting stage of the preseason, as most teams will rest stars and take a last look at players on the bubble ahead of final cuts. The 49ers haven’t decided on a starting QB between Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert, and have confirmed that Kaepernick will play in their game against the San Diego Chargers.

The Chargers are listed as three-point favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, with a total of 39 points. The 49ers are 6-4 both straight up and against the spread in their last 10 preseason games as road underdogs. Six of those games have gone under the posted total. San Diego, which will count on backup QB Kellen Clemens, is 4-0-1 ATS in its last five tuneup games at Qualcomm Stadium according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

With Tony Romo injured, the Dallas Cowboys have a dilemma over whether to risk injury with rookie QB Dak Prescott or get him more experience by playing on Thursday. The Cowboys are one-point underdogs against the Houston Texans, with a total of 39. Dallas already plans to sit out their entire offensive line. Houston has an all-time 5-3 ATS record in preseason games against the Cowboys. Dallas is 4-12 SU and 6-10 ATS in the preseason since 2013.

The Philadelphia Eagles are listed as four-point favorites against the New York Jets, with a total of 39. It appears unlikely that the Eagles will use rookie Carson Wentz, the No. 2 overall pick, and might in fact sit every starter except LB Mychal Kendricks.

The Jets have not ruled out playing backup QB Geno Smith, a former starter who could be sought out by a team in need of a seasoned second-stringer. The Eagles are 6-1 SU and ATS since 2013 in the preseason. New York is 3-6 SU and 3-6 ATS on the road over the last five preseasons.

The New England Patriots-New York Giants matchup will mark the last time that Tom Brady can play before serving his four-game Deflategate suspension. Still, the Patriots, who are listed as 2.5-point underdogs, don’t need Brady to prove anything, and nor do the projected winners of the AFC East need to get temporary starter Jimmy Garoppolo injured.

New England is 3-7 SU and 3-5-2 ATS versus the Giants in their annual preseason meeting. Six of those games went under the posted total. The Giants have a seasoned backup QB, Ryan Nassib, and WR Victor Cruz will likely get a lot of run as he returns from the knee injury that has cost him the last two seasons.

Veteran backup Matt Schaub has had a strong preseason, and his – well, Matt Ryan’s – Atlanta Falcons are listed at 3.5-point favorites against the Jacksonville Jaguars for Thursday night. The total is 40. Atlanta is on a 4-1 SU and 3-2 ATS run at home in the preseason. Over the last five preseasons, the Jaguars are 3-6 SU and 5-4 ATS while on the road

O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing draws ‘hundreds of letters’ regarding case

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O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing in Nevada on Thursday drew nationwide attention, and the Board of Parole Commissioners demonstrated that by showing the “hundreds of letters of support and opposition” for Simpson.

The commissioner noted that a majority of the opposition letters asked the board to consider Simpson’s 1995 acquittal in the murder case of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ron Goldman and the subsequent civil case that ordered Simpson to pay $25 million to the victims’ families. But the letters were not considered in the case, in which the board paroled the former football star after he was sentenced to nine years in prison for armed robbery and kidnapping in 2007 when he attempted to retrieve memorabilia that he claimed belonged to him.

The commissioner displayed what appeared to be five stacks of letters and said that the board “always encourages public opinion.” The parole hearing received widespread public attention, broadcast live nationally and drawing hundreds of reporters.

Simpson could be released as early as October.

Parole commissioner makes awkward-yet-hilarious slip up in O.J. Simpson’s hearing

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O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing Thursday captured moments of remorse and regret from the former Heisman running back but also a moment that was awkward, embarrassing and, frankly, comedic.

When the chairman of the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners, Connie Bisbee, was verifying Simpson’s information, she made an unfortunate slip.

“We have that you are currently — well very recently you turned 90 years old,” Bisbee said to Simpson. After she realized she added a full 20 years to the 70-year-old Simpson’s actual age, Bisbee quickly apologized and corrected herself.

Laughing, Simpson responded “I feel like it, though.” The courtroom burst out laughing in a short moment of comedic relief.

It was announced shortly after the hearing that Simpson’s parole had been granted. Simpson is on track to be a freed man this year.