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Denver Broncos @ Chicago Bears (Chi -2.5, 34.5)
The Pick: Chicago -2.5
The Peyton Manning era kicks off for the Denver Broncos tonight as they travel to Chicago to face the Bears in the preseason opener for both teams.
Of course, Manning himself will only be on the field for a series or two, as will his counterpart, Chicago’s Jay Cutler. Early preseason games can be wildly unpredictable due to the limited playing time given to the starters, so it’s generally wise for bettors to be cautious in games like this. However, I’m ignoring my own advice tonight and having a small play on the Bears.
As I’ve said before, the two things to look for when betting preseason football are motivation and quarterback rotations. Some teams, usually teams with new coaching staffs or teams who are perpetual losers, care about winning preseason games, while other teams do not. I don’t think motivation will be a big factor tonight.
The quarterback rotations of these two teams, on the other hand, should be taken into consideration. Neither of the starters will play very much, so the game tonight will should come down to Jason Campbell/Josh McCown (Bears) vs. Caleb Hanie/Brock Osweiler/Adam Weber (Denver). Even though Hanie played in Chicago last year and will want to play well tonight, I feel much more comfortable backing veteran NFL quarterbacks Jason Campbell and Josh McCown than I do Denver’s trio of inexperienced signal callers.
After cameo appearances from Manning and Cutler this one, like many preseason games, could get ugly. Might as well make it more interesting with a little wager… I’m having a 1-unit play on Chicago tonight.