The 2018 NFL season is finally here, as the Chicago Bears meet the Baltimore Ravens in the Hall of Fame Game on Thursday on NBC. It is just preseason, but it is still NFL football and it gets the spotlight in prime time. Neither team will play many starters in this game, so it will be a true preseason game,
but there will be some players to keep an eye on. Let’s look at the contest and Hall of Fame Game picks.
Chicago Bears vs. Baltimore Ravens
Date and Time: Thursday, August 2, 2018, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, OH
NFL Odds at BETCRIS: Ravens -2, O/U 33
Bears vs. Ravens TV Coverage: NBC
The Bears are going to look different this season, as they have a new head coach in Matt Nagy and a number of new players. Nagy was the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs and he will bring his offensive style to the Bears. Chicago probably won’t play starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky much, if at all, so it will be all about Chase Daniel and Tyler Bray. It is worth noting that both quarterbacks are probably more familiar with Nagy’s offense than is Trubisky, so the Bears should be able to move the ball with their backups.
The Ravens won’t give Joe Flacco much time, if he plays at all. That means a lot of rookie Lamar Jackson and the other two quarterbacks, Robert Griffin III and Josh Woodrum. Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh has said he would just as soon this game was a practice. “We need all the practice we can get,” he said. “We’re not preparing for this game. We’re just preparing to be the best team we can get. Every practice day we get is valuable. It’s a camp game — it’s not an in regular season game. It’s a camp game. It’s like a practice. So we’ll go out and play it, and we’ll learn and get better from it.”
Players to Watch
Jackson is definitely the player to watch for the Ravens on Thursday night. He was great with Louisville and he has looked really good in camp for Baltimore. Jackson or Robert Griffin III will start and the other player will probably finish the first half and possibly play into the second half. Woodrum will likely finish up. If the Ravens are going to win and cover the spread in this game they will need Jackson to play well.
The Bears have an interesting running back battle behind Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. Ryan Nall was undrafted out of Oregon State but he has looked really good in camp and could make the team. It is all about the backups in the preseason and Nall is someone to keep an eye on for the Bears.
Bears vs. Ravens Free Picks
NFL preseason betting is completely different than regular season betting. You can forget about the trends and situations, because most of them are completely meaningless. It is all about the quarterback rotations and how long the starters play. This is the first preseason game and it is actually an extra game, so neither team is going to play their starters long. In fact, most starters won’t play at all. Many people will look at the Ravens and think they have the edge in backup quarterback play, but I don’t agree. I think Jackson is a great talent, but we really don’t know yet what we are going to get with him. And we know that Griffin isn’t anything special. Daniel and Bray are capable quarterbacks and they know their roles. Both are backup quarterbacks who are familiar with Nagy’s system. I give the edge to the Bears in this game and think they are worth taking plus the points.
Usually in the preseason I lean toward games being low scoring, but it doesn’t take much to go over a total of 33 and I expect both offenses to play well. I will also play the game over the total.
Bears vs. Ravens ATS Pick: Bears and Over the Total at BETCRIS
Bears vs. Ravens Score Prediction: Bears 20, Ravens 17