NFL Betting: McCarthy's Packers Could Run Up The Score Sunday's Hall Of Fame Game

Jason Lake

Tuesday, August 2, 2016 6:23 PM UTC

Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016 6:23 PM UTC

If it's August, it must be time to make our first NFL pick of the season – the preseason, that is. Will it be the Green Bay Packers or the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday?

When is an NFL game not an NFL game? When it's an NFL preseason game, of course. The Indianapolis Colts will “host” the Green Bay Packers this Sunday (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN) for the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. It may look like a normal football game. There's even a line posted on the NFL odds board, calling it a pick 'em with a total of 35.5 points. But in a normal football game, teams try to win. That won't be very high on Sunday's list of priorities.

Which means we need a different approach for our NFL picks. Our profit margin betting on preseason games will come from a much smaller pool of recreational bettors than during the regular season, and we're counting on them to make the mistake of thinking Sunday will be just like any other Packers-Colts game. In theory, they will overlook how much control the head coaches have over the outcome, and they will overlook the strengths and weaknesses of the backup quarterbacks who will be taking most of the snaps. Let's not make the same mistake.

Is This Real Life?
First and foremost, these exhibition games are warm-ups for the regular season, nothing more. The coaches will use this time to get themselves and their players ready for the real thing. However, some coaches do like to go out and win these faux games. Winning breeds winning, as they say. It's also nice to give the home fans something to cheer about, although that won't be on the agenda in Canton.

Without further ado, here are the preseason records for the two head coaches in question, both against the spread and the total:

Mike McCarthy, Packers: 20-19 ATS, OVER 27-13
Chuck Pagano, Colts: 7-9 ATS, UNDER 9-7

Check out that OVER record for McCarthy and the Packers. McCarthy was a tight end in college (at Baker University in the NAIA), and he's been coaching offense in the NFL since 1993, so it makes sense that he'd be leaning toward this aspect of the game during the preseason. Pagano, on the other hand, was a strong safety at Wyoming, and a longtime defensive coach in both college and the pros. His record against the total isn't as lopsided as McCarthy's, though.

As for those back-up quarterbacks...

Packers: Brett Hundley, Marquise Williams, Joe Callahan
Colts: Scott Tolzien, Stephen Morris

Hundley (129.6 passer rating) put up some very good preseason numbers for the Packers as a rookie. Former Green Bay back-up Tolzien (80.9 passer rating) got in some reps, too, but he was much busier in 2014, when he played all four games and posted a 112.0 passer rating. Pagano and the Colts intend to play Andrew Luck and the rest of the starting unit on Sunday, so that will help move the chains along. No word at press time on McCarthy's plans, but we're happy to pound the OVER on what should be a beautiful evening at Fawcett Stadium.

Free NFL Pick: OVER 35.5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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