Preseason Picks Of The Day, August 11th

Jay Pryce

Friday, August 11, 2017 1:42 PM UTC

Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 1:42 PM UTC

The injury-riddled Steelers will start rookie quarterback Joshua Dobbs versus the Giants Friday night (7 p.m. ET), while Kyle Shanahan makes his debut as 49ers head coach against veteran leader Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs (9 p.m. ET). What to expect and picks for each here.

Steelers vs. Giants

When asked about shortening the preseason on Wednesday, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin remarked, “I like the preseason personally…This process that is team development, a division of labor and team building, I just have a lot of respect and appreciation for it. And I think the preseason games are a big part of it.” Although his praise appears genuine, Tomlin’s Week 1 record in the exhibition period suggests he needs the current four-game model to help ready for the regular season. Under his guidance, Pittsburgh is 4-8 SU out of the gates. Tomlin gives ample playing time to youngsters in the exhibition opener, and their understanding of formations, personnel, and reaction to general game conditions are a work in progress typically.

Expect plenty of young players to see time tonight, with upwards of 16 Steelers missing practice time last week. Rookie quarterback Joshua Dobbs will get the start for Pittsburgh, as Ben Roethlisberger will rest (ankle). Backup Landry Jones is also sidelined with an abdominal injury, leaving another first-year pro-Bart Houston as the only other option under center. The learning curve will be steep for the Pittsburgh, especially its signal-callers.

Giants head coach Ben McAdoo played his starters a couple of series in last year’s preseason opener, but sat his stars like quarterback Eli Manning and wide receiver Odell Beckham. Each will rest tonight, but New York fans will watch a battle between veterans Geno Smith and Josh Johnson under center. Each are vying to serve as Manning’s primary backup for the year, and should bring a more advanced approach to the offense then what Ryan Nassib offered last preseason. Rookie third-round pick Davis Webb will also take a few reps at quarterback.

A noticeable advantage at the quarterback position and a healthier Giants squad will cover the 3.5-point spread at home. Dobbs reportedly is struggling with his delivery and accuracy downfield. How he reacts to the speed and look of NFL defenses will be telling. It could be a dull night for the Steelers offense. Pittsburgh’s defense, meanwhile, is allowing 23 points per game the last five exhibition openers. Giants put up 20-plus points and win by four or more as our NFL pick for this game.

Free NFL Pick: Giants -3.5Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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49ers vs. Chiefs

San Francisco’s new head coach and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has engineered a top-10 ranked unit in six of nine years running an NFL offense. Can he turn around a Niners group that averaged 19.3 points per game (26th ranked) last season? Time will tell. Shanahan’s attack is complex, and there is a downgrade at the quarterback position with Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley one-two in the Bay City.

Expect San Fran to concentrate on the basics tonight offensively. Shanahan’s units average 20.8 points per game in Week 1 of the preseason, the total boosted significantly by Matt Ryan and the Falcons with 31 and 23 points respectively the last two openers. Prior to that, a Shanahan group put up more than 20 points once in seven years. Rookie C.J Beathard and Barkley will take the majority of snaps, running vanilla schemes almost exclusively.

Alex Smith, rookie Patrick Mahomes, and Tyler Bray will see action at quarterback for the Chiefs, the latter two taking the majority of snaps. Look for K.C. to focus on the run game, both offensively and defensively. The team spent much of the offseason improving this area.

The Chiefs have allowed 17 points or more in each of head coach Andy Reid’s last four exhibition openers. The Niners should hit this mark, but barely. K.C. will pull out a victory late and push the total ‘over’ 37.5 points. In the last 10 years, teams with a win-total less than six in the futures market are 4-8 SU in preseason openers on the road. San Fran’s over/under is 5 victories.

Free NFL Pick: Over 37.5Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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