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How To Bet Thursday’s NFL Hall of Fame Game: Jaguars vs. Raiders

Find out where the smart money is heading into the 2022 Hall of Fame game between the Jaguars and Raiders.

Trevor Lawrence (16) of the Jacksonville Jaguars reacts after the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on Sunday, September 12, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images/TNS)
Trevor Lawrence (16) of the Jacksonville Jaguars reacts after the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on Sunday, September 12, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images/TNS)Read moreCarmen Mandato / MCT

You know the NFL is right around the corner each year when the Hall of Fame game comes around. Thursday night, the Jacksonville Jaguars take on the Las Vegas Raiders in Canton, Ohio.

Preseason games tend to be somewhat nuanced, which is why they don’t draw much attention from casual sports bettors. However, those who don’t mind mining for clues regarding the inactive list, starting lineups, and player snaps, are more likely to succeed.

While there are other factors to consider during the preseason, such as motivation and coaching tendencies, information trumps everything.

And on Thursday night, information regarding who the Jaguars plan to play at quarterback could be vital to finding an edge in this handicap.

Jaguars vs. Raiders NFL odds

Odds provided by FanDuel

Moneyline: JAC (+120) vs. LV (-140)

Spread: JAC +2.5 (+105) vs. LV -2.5 (-115)

Total: Over 29.5 (-114) | Under 29.5 (-106)

Betting favorites during the preseason is usually a losing proposition. According to our Action Labs database that goes back to 2004, favorites in this spot are 499-545-32 for a loss of 75.78 units.

However, the favorites have done well in the Hall of Fame game. They are 7-5-3 for a return of 1.5 units and 3-1-1 for 1.79 units since 2015. Yet, while it’s fair to say this might not be the strongest of trends, it has even more value when paired with the news that the Jaguars are down to their third-string quarterback with Trevor Lawrence and C.J. Beathard set to miss the game.

As for the Raiders, while they haven’t officially ruled out their starting quarterback Derek Carr (Carr didn’t take a single snap last preseason), they’re likely to start Nick Mullens, with Jarrett Stidham possibly seeing some action as well.

Another angle that could factor in this game is that Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels grew up in Canton, Ohio. As the starting quarterback at Canton McKinley High School, he played his varsity games at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium (formerly Fawcett Stadium).

McDaniels begins his tenure as Raiders head coach, and surely someone in the organization has informed him that the Raiders are a perfect 3-0 when selected to play in the Hall of Fame game.

Since this is McDaniels’ first year in charge of the Raiders, we don’t have any numbers on him as a head coach. However, we can surmise that the outcome of preseason games will matter to him just as much as to his former Patriots boss Bill Belichick.

With McDaniels as an offensive coordinator under Belichick, New England went 9-2 straight up and 8-3 against the spread over the past three preseasons. In contrast, Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson is just 2-7 against the spread in his last nine preseason games.

This matchup seems to line up nicely for the Raiders, which could explain why the point spread moved to -2.5 after opening at -1.

While I still like Las Vegas at the current price, I’d recommend a play on the moneyline with the Raiders winning this one outright at -140 odds.

Jaguars vs. Raiders pick

Raiders ML (-140)