Preseason Picks of the Day, August 10th

Denver Broncos

Jay Pryce

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 5:10 PM GMT

Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017 5:10 PM GMT

Our NFL Preseason Picks of the Day highlights two contests with teams desperate to evaluate offseason changes to their offenses: the Redskins vs. Ravens and Broncos vs. Bears. Check out our best bets for each game here.

Redskins vs. Ravens

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh told reporters ahead of the team’s preseason opener versus the Redskins that backup quarterback Ryan Mallett will “play extensively” in the contest. This should signal a giant red flag for bettors, as the five-year pro has struggled to run an NFL offense in his career. Mallett has handled the majority of snaps in camp with starter Joe Flacco sidelined with a bad back. The reports are not assuring. The 29-year old signal caller is proving wildly inconsistent according to observers, including tossing five INTs in one practice. Pressure to add QB depth is mounting for the franchise. In 19 regular-season appearances, Mallett averages 5.4 yards per attempt with 7 TDs and 10 INTs.

The Redskins, meanwhile, are healthy on the defensive side of the ball. The unit will likely run vanilla schemes all night, but coordinator Greg Manusky is encouraging his unit to “play hard.” This should be enough to rattle Mallett and keep scoring down.

On offense, many of Washington’s receivers are injured, including Jamison Crowder, Jordan Reed and Josh Doctson. Colt McCoy and Nate Sudfield will back up Kirk Cousins at quarterback. Last year’s heavy passing attack amounted to 403.4 yards per game (third-most in the NFL), tops in franchise history, but it will be interesting to see how new offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh operates. His Ravens-led offenses in the early 2000s ranked in the top-10 in rushing attempts in each of his five seasons being in charge. Head coach Jay Gruden has also expressed a desire to improve the rushing game inside the red zone. It would not surprise to see a heavy ground attack versus the Ravens as the team attempts to nail down the backfield battle between Semaje Perine, Matt Jones, Chris Thompson, and Robert Kelley. Look for offense to be deliberate and largely inefficient in this matchup. ‘Under’ 37.5 presents some valuein our NFL Picks.

Free NFL Pick: Under 37.5Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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 Broncos vs. Bears

The Broncos pummeled the Bears 22-0 in this preseason Week 1 matchup last year, holding Chicago to 150 total yards. Expect head coach John Fox to offer a little more offense with a trio of new quarterbacks slated to play: Mike Glennon, Mark Sanchez, and No.2 overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft Mitch Trubisky. Neither signal caller is Super Bowl quality, but the Broncos have plenty of offensive issues of their own with their quarterback (Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch) and running back (CJ Anderson, Devontae Booker, Jamaal Charles) positions up for grabs.

Denver also has a new head coach in Vance Joseph and returns one-time coordinator Mike McCoy to lead the offense after a stint in San Diego. Look for both teams to work on the basics, which will amount to a low-scoring, ugly contest. As of publication, the total had been bet down to 35.5 from a 36.5 opener at many online sportsbooks. This number is getting too low to flirt with. The value here lies with the Bears winning outright.

Since 2006, teams with a win-total of less than 6 prior the regular season are 12-5 SU at home in Week 1 of the exhibition period. The Bears (5.5) and Browns (4.5) fall under this trend Thursday night. Head coaches know building confidence and generating a winning culture is step one with young teams not expected to compete for playoff spots, and you can bet Fox will make an effort to pick up a victory in front of a fan base largely writing off the season. The veteran coach is 10-5 SU all-time in Week 1 of the preseason. For what it’s worth, Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson is 0-8 SU in his preseason career. Whether he’ll have the Browns ready for the Saints is playing with fire. Bears plus the points is the play.

Free NFL Pick: Bears -1.5Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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