How To Bet On NFL Hall Of Fame Game- Odds Preview & Experts Final Thoughts

Kevin Stott

Sunday, August 7, 2016 3:59 PM UTC

Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016 3:59 PM UTC

Expect the Green Bay Packers to be extremely tentative and cautious personnel-wise as they face Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL Hall of Fame Game. Let’s analyze this exhibition and come up with an NFL pick.

Green Bay Packers vs Indianapolis Colts 
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers will face Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game on Sunday night from Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium and the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio in the annual Exhibition game which kicks off the NFL season. Offshore sportsbooks currently either have the Packers as tiny, 1-point favorites (GTBets, at Pinnacle) or the game as a Pick ‘em (BetDSI, 5Dimes) with the Total Points at a low 36 (5Dimes) due to the nature of this unique game while in the Money Line (Winner) marketplace, the Packers are priced as slight -115 chalks with the Colts at -105 (at 5Dimes). The Green Bay Packers Total Team Points is at 18½ (at BetVictor) while the Indianapolis Colts Total Team Points is at 17½ (BetVictor). The Weather Channel forecast for Canton on Sunday night is currently calling for Clear Skies, a Low of 61° with NE Winds of 5-10 mph and 66% Humidity. Legendary Packers QB Brett Favre and longtime and former Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy and former Colts WR Marvin Harrison will all be inducted in the Hall of Fame over the weekend.


Thoughts on the State of the Modern NFL Hall of Fame Game
The NFL’s Hall of Fame Game drew a 6.9 overnight rating last year, more than significant NBA Finals, MLB World Series and NHL Stanley Cup games all did, so any thoughts the league may one day abandon this game because of Teams or Head Coaches or NFL Players bitching about the potential adding of a 5th game to the traditional 4-game Preseason schedules is just wishful thinking or whining in the media. So Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers may enjoy seeing Favre enshrined in Canton, but actually playing the actual game is completely another story, especially considering how the Preseason crippled the Packers (11-7 ATS in 2015) in the Regular Season last year when they saw star WR Jordy Nelson injure his knee and tear an ACL on the first drive against the Steelers in Preseason game on the unforgiven soft grass at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. So the Packers will not be playing WR Jordy Nelson in this game and rightfully so. Nothing worse than season your season go down the drain before it’s even started.

“The excitement for me is being a part of the environment, to watch Brett [Former Packers QB Brett Favre] and Kevin [former teammate Kevin Greene] go in,” Rodgers told reporters earlier this week. “I don’t know if anybody’s real, real excited about a fifth Preseason game—except for the people making the money on that. But it’ll be exciting to be there because there is so much history and tradition surrounding Canton and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”

Green Bay (10/1 to win Super Bowl, at WilliamHill) will be making its fifth appearance in the Hall of Fame Game with the L3 all being low-scoring affairs (Chiefs 9 Packers 0, 2003; Raiders 19 Packers 3, 1993; and Packers 0 Chargers 0, 1980 in a game called early due to Heavy Rain and Lightning) with the Cheeseheads’ first Hall of Fame Game a high-scoring game back in 1969 (Packers 38 Falcons 24). The L3 Green Bay Hall of Fame Games have seen a grand Total of 31 points (10.3 ppg) with the Packers unable to manufacture an actual TD in Canton since Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix were all still alive. I am not sure that this actually qualifies as ammo to use in a handicap here. I will let you be the judge.


Final Scores of Last 20 NFL Hall of Fame Games
2015—Vikings 14 Steelers 3
2014—Giants 17 Bills 13
2013—Cowboys 24 Dolphins 20
2012—Saints 17 Cardinals 10
2011—Canceled, Lockout
2010—Cowboys 16 Bengals 7
2009—Titans 21 Bills 18
2008—Redskins 30 Colts 17
2007—Steelers 20 Saints 7
2006—Raiders 16 Eagles 10
2005—Bears 27 Dolphins 24
2004—Redskins 20 Broncos 17
2003—Chiefs 9 Packers 0
2002—Giants 34 Texans 17
2001—Rams 17 Dolphins 10
2000—Patriots 20 49ers 0
1999—Browns 20 Cowboys 17
1998—Buccaneers 30 Steelers 6
1997—Vikings 28 Seahawks 26
1996—Colts 10 Saints 3


Final Score Analysis in Context of Totals, Modern Day Hall of Fame Game Mentality
As you can see, scoring in the NFL Hall of Fame Game has diminished somewhat over the last decade, with NFL Head Coaches knowing the risks of Injury and the significance of games that don’t count in the Regular Season standings. Whereas may in MLB look forward to Spring Training and the actual games and fighting for Roster spots in the spring, the modern mentality in the NFL is that it’s almost become burdensome for the NFL’s teams to have to play these games in a sport in which Collisions and Concussions and ACL tears are all part of the pie. 

It’s one thing to give young players fighting for Roster spots the Playing Time against another NFL opponent in a live game situation like the Preseason and Exhibitions, but to have a key cog like Nelson hurt—although it wasn’t in the Hall of Fame Game—further justifies not playing any key players as much nor making winning the game an actual priority. For many NFL Head Coaches the Hall of Fame Game and Preseason have evolved/devolved into more a delicate chess game-proving grounds of survival with Week 1 in mind. It’s nice to give key Starters some Playing Time before things get real, but to have what happened to the Packers and Nelson on the unforgiven grass in the Steel City last year is what many will prioritize.

Anyway, scoring in the Hall of Fame Game the L10 times (17, 30, 44, 23, 39, 47, 27, 26, 51, 37) the game has been played—it was cancelled in 2011 because of the Lockout—has averaged 34.1 ppg with 3 of the L4 have gone Under the posted Total, so the number is right where it should be with many sportsbooks expecting that Under action from Sharps. At (a Total of ) 36, it’s so much harder to blindly back the Under here. But the NFL Hall of Fame Game is also definitely one of those quirky apathy-driven games where a freak TD or crappy tackling can send the game Over, so buyer best beware. This is really like betting on an organized Scrimmage.


Final Thoughts: This Isn’t Really a Game, More of a Commitment for These Teams
With the mentality of not letting anyone get hurt combined with the now public bitterness of actually having to play in this Exhibition, backing the Under seems wise but remember this is a meaningless game and although Football is back, exercising discipline in Sports Betting both on decisions to actually play a particular game and/or the actual amount wagered would best be employed here. In other words, this may not be the best game in which to start your NFL betting year off, with so many nice NFL Futures Book odds out there and the reality of knowing those bets can at last survive until Monday morning. Just saying. But the general Public and the Wiseguys always bet what they want and when they want and with (American) Football and Sports Betting both as popular as they have ever been, trying to advise a brother about throwing $22 on an Exhibition game may fall on deaf ears. Many simply back the sage words of the great American cartoon philosopher and Brontosaurus Burger-eater, Fred Flintstone: “Bet, bet, bet, bet, bet, bet, bet, bet, bet, bet, bet, bet.” And who’s to argue with Fred Flintstone?

The biggest thing outside of the tentativeness a prospective bettor needs to looks at here will be the 2nd- and 3rd- and possibly even the (for now) 4th-string QBs who might playe here on Sunday. For Green Bay (-175 to win NFC North, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) that means 2nd-string and 2nd-year QB Rod Hundley (UCLA; Probable, Nicked in Practice Wednesday) and Rookies Marquise Williams (North Carolina) and Joe Callahan will likely see the vast amount of actual Playing Time here with Rodgers probably playing a safe series and then grabbing some Bench. For Indianapolis (28/1 to win Super Bowl, Stan James), expect the same MO with Starting QB Andrew Luck seeing a series or two and then making way early for Colts 2nd-string QB (and former Packer) Scott Tolzien (Wisconsin, 6th season) and Rookie QB Stephen Morris (Miami-Florida, 6-2, 218) as well as maybe some other fighting to make the squad. 

So expect Hundley and Williams at QB for the Packers (+550 to win NFC, BetBright) for the bulk of this Exhibition with no WR Nelson and minimal Rodgers and probably no or minimal RB Eddie Lacy. And expect Tolzien and Williams for the Colts (14/1 to win AFC, Stan James) with WR Ty Montgomery (Right Ankle) sitting out the game just to be safe. Smart. Expect minimum minutes from any Skill Position guys that really matter here and this is one of those rare games in which both Head Coaches as well as the Referees will care less about the Game Clock ticking down. The sooner this game ends, the better seems to be the mentality heading in, making the Under the only look with either Side capable of winning, but not prioritizing doing so while using game-time to look at and evaluate young talent fighting for Roster spots.


PREDICTED FINAL SCORE: Colts 17 Packers 16
NFL HALL OF FAME GAME PICK: Under 36 at 5Dimes
2016/17 NFL PICKS RECORD: 0-0-0

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