1. #1
    Chance Harper
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    Betting the NFL's final preseason action

    Betting the NFL's final preseason action

    The final week of preseason play begins tonight with a Super Bowl rematch between the New England Patriots and New York Giants. Both stalwarts have some key injury questions to answer before they take to the field for real next week. Meanwhile out in the desert, it appears veteran pivot Kurt Warner has won the QB job in Arizona as the Cardinals prepare to take on Mike Shanahan's Denver Broncos.

    Thereís just a little housecleaning left to do before the start of the NFL regular season. Thursday is cut-down day to 75 players; the final 53-man rosters will be set on Monday. Itís the last chance at a career in the pros for some; others will go back to the CFL or the Arena Football League. These marginal players are the ones weíll see the most in Week 4.

    New England Patriots at New York Giants (-2, 36)
    Thursday, Aug 28, 7:00 p.m. (ET)

    Neither of these Super Bowl representatives has done much in exhibition play. The Patriots, usually strong against the preseason betting odds, are 0-3 SU and ATS this year. They havenít used QB Tom Brady at all, ostensibly because of a foot injury. We should see a battle for the No. 2 spot between incumbent Matt Cassel (50.9 passer rating this preseason) and Matt Gutierrez (98.5). So far, itís Gutierrez by a mile.

    The Giants (1-2 SU, 1-0-2 ATS) have more work to do than most teams in Week 4. The season-ending knee injury to DE Osi Umenyiora has forced the team to shuffle the front seven. Linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka will go back to his original end position, but thatís also a position he struggled to hold down as a rookie in 2006. Retired DE Michael Strahan decided Tuesday against rejoining the club Ė even with the Giants reportedly offering him $8 million. Strahan will make $2 million instead as a TV analyst.

    New England has some injury concerns of its own, aside from whateverís bothering Brady. Starting OG Stephen Neal was put on the PUP list on Wednesday; he wonít be eligible to come off until Week 6 of the regular season. Neal hasnít practiced at all since having knee surgery after the Super Bowl. Worse, capable back-up RT Ryan OíCallaghan is out for the year after going on injured reserve. The New England offense could be in for a pounding Thursday night.

    The Giants are 2-point favorites with a total of 36.

    Denver Broncos at Arizona Cardinals (-3, 37)
    Friday, Aug 29, 10:00 p.m. (ET)

    Mike Shanahan isnít having his usual preseason success this year. He went into 2008 with a 40-24 (35-25-2 ATS) record coaching exhibition games, but his Broncos are just 1-2 (1-1-1 ATS) with one week left to go. This is despite the fine work of QB Jay Cutler, who has a 117.6 passer rating thus far. Heíll play very little in Fridayís matchup. Patrick Ramsey (46.8 QB rating) and Darrell Hackney (77.4) will take the vast majority of the snaps instead.

    In sharp contrast, the Cardinals will use Week 4 to decide which of their two quarterbacks gets the starting job this year: Matt Leinart or Kurt Warner. Overly eager reports from ESPNís Chris Mortensen had the job already going to Warner; he may deserve it after taking the reins from the injured Leinart in Week 3 and posting an 89.8 passer rating. Arizona has added depth this year with former Pittsburgh third-stringer Brian St. Pierre, an excellent preseason QB with a 118.8 passer rating after three games.

    Whoever lines up behind center wonít be lining up behind Al Johnson. Heís out with a knee injury, which takes Arizonaís rapidly improving offensive line down a peg. Denverís starting O-line, meanwhile, has yet to allow a sack this preseason after the additions of Ryan Clady and Ryan Harris. However, Week 4 is all about depth. Neither team has much in this case.

    Arizona is a 3-point favorite with a total of 37.

  2. #2
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    jjgold's Avatar Saloon Moderator
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    betting this week is crazy
    Plenty of ncaaf this week

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