The NFL regular season is almost upon us, so right now is a perfect time for honing in on the best-looking teams in the NFL, as within the next few weeks we’ll be set for wagering on legitimate games with real-world stakes tied to them. Though the preseason as always presents a challenging task when wagering at one of the top online sportsbooks reviewed here, if you pick your bets carefully and avoid trying to cash in with big money in the preseason, there’s lots of fun to be had, and plenty to learn from the match-ups taking place right now. For Week 4 of the preseason, which starts off with 3 match-ups tonight, let’s take a look at the breakdown between the top match-ups, and spot the best wagering options at today’s featured online sportsbook at target=”_blank”>Betonline.com.
Match-up #1 – Green Bay Packers at Cincinnati Bengals, 7:00 PM ET.
The Green Bay offense has yet to click on all it’s high-powered cylinders so far this preseason, dropping games to the Cleveland Browns and San Diego Chargers in the past two weeks. Tonight’s focus for the Pack will be set on getting synchronization happening on offense, which has turned the ball over 8 times already in just two games. Head coach Mike McCarthy has stated that he’ll look to play the first team offense for the whole first half, which should give Aaron Rodgers some time to show why he’s one of the best QBs in the league. Rodgers is just 8-for-19 for 75 yards in the preseason, but with his type of caliber behind the offensive line, it’s just a matter of time before he starts hitting his stride. A huge boost for the Packers tonight will be the additions of TE Jermichael Finley and WR Greg Jennings in the line-up, as neither player participated in the first two preseason games. Add in newly-acquired Cedric Benson the backfield, who is ready to go after quickly learning a new offense, and the Packers should be set to have a solid first half that could set the tone for the rest of the game tonight.
For Cincinnati the preseason has looked pretty good for them, with quarterback Andy Dalton splitting time with back-up Bruce Gradkowski, and the team coming off a solid 24-19 victory over Atlanta last week. One area of concern however lies with their secondary, which was torched for nearly 400 yards against the Falcons due mainly to some injury concerns there. They’ll likely not see much improvement in that area tonight as Green Bay gets it’s receiver talent back in play, and Cincinnati continues to sit Dre Kirkpatrick, Adam Jones, Jason Allen and defensive end tandem Carlos Dunlap and Robert Geathers. Though the Bengals own an 11-4-1 preseason record against Green Bay and haven’t lost to them ahead of the regular season since 1982, they may have to resort to a pass-first approach to their offense, with Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis sidelined from the backfield, and could be susceptible to a big opening half from Aaron Rodgers.
Betting Lines for Green Bay vs. Cincinnati:
Green Bay gets the slight favorite tonight at -135 odds straight up on the money line, while Cincinnati lingers as a +115 dog.
The bookmakers at Betonline sportsbook have the Packers as a 2 ½ point favorite tonight, giving -115 odds to take Green Bay with the points, and -105 odds taking the Bengals to beat the spread.
For the over/under, look out for some scoring tonight from the passing game, with a 44 point total line giving -110 odds for either over or under wagers. With a banged up Cincy secondary, and Green Bay looking to get it’s offense in rhythm, there’s a very good probability we’ll see a break out of the total points here.
Match-up #2 – Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Baltimore Ravens, 7:30 PM ET.
This should be a hard-nosed match-up tonight as the Ravens rematch the Jags after last season’s regular season battle ended in a 12-7 win for the Jags behind rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert on a Monday Night stage. Moving into his second year at the helm of the Jacksonville offense, Gabbert has still yet to prove that he can become an accurate passer in the regular season, and that may be difficult to prove tonight with Baltimore putting in most of its starters for a dress rehearsal game that should feature the core defense for up to 3 quarters. However, it’s good to note that so far in this year’s preseason action, Blaine Gabbert has been solid with a 18-for-26, 174 yards, 3 touchdowns, no interceptions stats line.
Although Jacksonville will remain without the NFL’s leading rusher from last season, Maurice Jones-Drew, who is still locked in a contract dispute and hasn’t played in the preseason thus far, they’ll have the benefit of facing a Ravens D that was lit up for over 500 yards against Detroit last week, and fortunately for them, understudy running back Rashad Jennings has played very well, amassing 160+ yards in his first two preseason games, and along with first-round WR Justin Blackmon, could give the Jags plenty of offense to take on the strong-natured Baltimore D. Jacksonville is young, but with plenty of talent coming on, there’s definitely hope for the fans of northern Florida, and in tonight’s game expect to see another solid effort as the team locks in its final roster spots and gets ready for a big challenge from a playoff-contender like the Ravens.
Betting lines for Baltimore vs. Jacksonville:
The Ravens head into this home contest as 5 ½ point favorites, getting -110 odds for going with Baltimore to cover. For the Jags, who have been solid in two preseason wins so far, they’ll have an enticing 5 ½ points to play with in tonight’s game, which is where we’re siding our wagers.
On the money line, the Ravens are a heavy -250 favorite, as it’s expected they’ll start their key players for up to 3 quarters. That again makes Jacksonville a tasty choice for risk takers, who will look to ride on the success the Jags have had this preseason. Look for them at +215 odds to win straight up. Stranger things have happened before the regular season commences.
For the over/under, 40 ½ total points have been offered up by Betonline, with either wager getting -110 odds. With the way things have gone in this series, with defense playing the dominant role, it’s going to take some big marbles to choose the over wager, but if you’re feeling saucy and looking for Baltimore to continue to struggle on defense, a low-money wager could pay off nicely. That said, our money is seeking out the under total points line, hoping for a low-scoring first half, followed up with some tight play as both teams keep their starters in throughout the second half.