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Saturday, August 4, 2012

NFL Preseason Predictions 2012: Hall of Fame Game

2011 seems like a long long time ago, but here we are!  Another season of picks ATS is about to kick off--even if it is just the preseason.

I am taking a pass on the Hall of Fame game, but I'll offer my thoughts.

There are too many conflicting variables and uncertainty on both teams.  Not much information has come out of either coach either.  Betting markets are pretty divided as well--both on the spread and the total.

From SBNation Arizona,
As far as the starting lineup and number of plays or minutes each player will have, Coach Whiz has not even thought about it yet. He said that he will probably review this with the coaches Saturday morning and inform the team Saturday night.

From Washington Post,
Interim coach Joe Vitt refused to talk about the plan for snaps, saying only that it would be similar to what the Saints did in 2007, the last time they were in the Hall of Fame game.

Well, in 2007 the Saints opened with the HOF game and the starters barely played at all.  They lost 20-7 against the Steelers.  Who knows how the New Orleans coaching situation will shake out, but I do expect Spags to have an early effect on the defense.

Wisenhunt is only 7-13 in the preseason, but most of the damage is thanks to a 1-4 record in week 2.   In week 1 he is 2-3.  Last season he finished with a 2-2 record in exhibition play.  ATS he is 8-11-1 overall and 10-10 on totals. 

Some key starters for both teams are being sat out here entirely because there's no sense risking further injury on the bonus preseason game on the schedule.

The Saints have a serious chip on their shoulder, Sean Peyton will be in town for the HOF ceremony, and this is their first team appearance on prime-time. The Cardinals have a key battle going on at the QB starting position with Kolb coming off a thigh contusion. On the flip side, Daniel and McCown are duking it out for the backup role for the Saints.

The other factor I really don't like is the idea of replacement officials.  The last time the league saw replacement refs there were fewer average penalties per game, but Goodell has gone out of his way to emphasize safety to these refs, so we could see more this time around.  I'm curious to see how (or if) this has an impact on the game.

The only option I considered was under 37 (bet up from 34.5) because I think both defenses will have the upper hand, but I don't feel strong enough about it to add it to the card. 

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