You are almost never going to find a road favorite in an NFL preseason game because for the most part, preseason teams are equal because neither team uses its starters much or really cares whether it wins a game or not. That said, Week 3 of the preseason is the most important one in the NFL because the starters should see their most action of the preseason before likely sitting out Week 4. Here are two betting favorites I like on NFL odds.
Take a Closer Look at the Preseason Week 3 Betting Favorites
Nothing better than football in Denver.
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) August 23, 2016
Los Angeles Rams at Denver Broncos (-5)
Could we have a resolution in the quarterback battle on the Denver Broncos? It certainly says plenty that head coach Gary Kubiak has announced he’s going to start second-year man Trevor Siemian in Saturday’s exhibition game against the visiting Rams, the second week in a row that Siemian will start over the one-time front-runner for the job, Mark Sanchez.
In announcing his decision on Monday, Kubiak didn’t say whether Sanchez or rookie Paxton Lynch would follow Siemian into the lineup against the Rams, but he added he was still considering how long the starters would play in the game. In the past, Broncos starters have played into the third quarter of the third preseason game. It would be significant if Lynch was the second quarterback into the game against the Rams. It is expected that Kubiak will give the exact order after Siemian later in the week. Siemian was 10-for- 14 for 75 yards with a pick-six last week vs. the 49ers. Sanchez was 10-of- 17 for 120 yards with two lost fumbles — both in a four-play span just before halftime.
Siemian wasn’t even all that good in college. He started only three games in his first three seasons at Northwestern before making 11 starts as a senior until he tore his ACL on Nov. 11, 2014, against Purdue. In those 14 career starts, he finished fourth all time in school history in passing yardage (5,931) and seventh in career passing touchdowns (27). As he rebounded from his ACL surgery, Siemian put himself on the Broncos’ radar in the team’s 2015 training camp when he threw two touchdowns among his 23 attempts in the preseason.
Meanwhile, Rams rookie QB Jared Goff has struggled this preseason and appears set to lose the starting job to veteran Case Keenum. Goff had an interception and a sack in his only two possessions against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1, then looked lost for most of his first three possessions seven days later against Kansas City. Keenum was once again efficient and effective with the first-team offense Saturday, going 4-for- 5 for 53 yards and a touchdown against the starters for a solid Chiefs defense.
This is the Rams’ first road preseason game and that matters. Take the Broncos.
San Diego Chargers at Minnesota Vikings (-4)
There are no sure things when betting the NFL preseason, but I can guarantee you this: the Minnesota Vikings will be fired up for Sunday’s game against San Diego because it’s their first game in the new U.S. Bank Stadium. Thus I think the Vikes will easily cover the spread on NFL odds.
After playing in the Metrodome from 1982-2013, the Vikings spent the past two seasons at TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota. It was minus-six degrees when they played their final game there, a 10-9 loss last January to Seattle in the playoffs. Now, it’s back indoors. Three Minnesota players previously were with teams for the first season in a new stadium. Cornerback Terence Newman was with Dallas when AT&T Stadium opened in 2009, defensive tackle Linval Joseph was a New York Giants rookie for the debut of MetLife Stadium in 2010 and guard Alex Boone was with San Francisco when Levi’s Stadium opened in 2014.
Meanwhile, San Diego remains without its No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft, defensive end Joey Bosa. He dropped from third string to fourth string on the latest Chargers depth chart at defensive end. Darius Philon is listed as the starter, followed by Tenny Palepoi, Zamir Carlis and Bosa. Bosa and the Chargers are still locked in a contract stalemate over offset langue and the earlier payment of deferred signing bonus money. Chargers head coach Mike McCoy would not provide a time table for how soon Bosa could get into game shape if and when he eventually reports to Chargers Park.
The Chargers also have lost tight end Jeff Cumberland to a season-ending torn Achilles tendon. Cumberland suffered the injury in the first half of the Chargers’ second preseason game on Friday against the Arizona Cardinals and did not return. With 8:42 left in the second quarter, Cumberland pulled up short near the back of the end zone after accelerating to catch a deep ball thrown by quarterback Kellen Clemens. Not a huge loss but Cumberland, signed this offseason, was a good blocker.