2019 HOF Game Picks – Falcons vs. Broncos
Denver Broncos (0-0) vs. Atlanta Falcons (0-0), 8/1/19
Time: 8 pm ET Thursday, Aug. 1
Where: Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, OH
Point spread: Den -2.5/Atl +2.5 (MyBookie)
Moneyline: Broncs -140/Dirty Birds +120
The 2019-20 NFL betting season kicks off Thursday night when the Broncos and Falcons meet in the Hall of Fame game in Canton. Both these teams have been regular playoff participants over the last decade or so, but both missed the playoffs last year. How are we playing this game with our free NFL pick?
NFL Betting Odds
The NFL betting odds opened Atlanta at around -2 over Denver, with an over/under of 34. Early betting action then flipped the Broncos into 2.5-point favorites.
Broncos vs. Falcons Set-Up
Denver is a team in transition. After going 11-21 straight-up, 10-19-3 against the spread over the last two seasons and missing the playoffs the previous three seasons the Broncos dumped Coach Joseph and hired Coach Fangio, who most recently served as defensive coordinator with the Bears. With Fangio, the Chicago defense improved from ranked 30th in the league in 2014 to No. 3 last season.
Denver not only changed head coaches, but it also dumped quarterback Case Keenum and traded for former Raven Joe Flacco. It also drafted Drew Lock out of Missouri with the 42nd overall pick in the April draft. But it looks like Kevin Hogan, who owns a career 4/7 TD/INT ratio in parts of eight games with the Browns over the last few seasons, will take most of the snaps Thursday night.
The Broncos ranked 19th in the NFL last year in total offense, averaging 350 yards per game, and 22nd in total defense, allowing 365 YPG.
Considering Denver’s performance over the last few seasons, Fangio might want to try to foster a winning atmosphere from the get-go, starting Thursday night.
Atlanta, meanwhile, fell to 7-9 SU, 5-11 ATS last season and also missed the playoffs, after back-to-back appearances. The Falcons then used their two first-round draft picks and two free-agent slots on offensive linemen, in an effort to provide better protection for QB Matt Ryan and juice a running attack that only averaged 98 YPG last year.
Ryan won’t play Thursday night so veteran Matt Schaub and rookie Kurt Benkert, a fellow Virginia Wahoo, will split time at QB for Atlanta.
The Falcons ranked No. 6 in the league in total offense last year at 389 YPG but 28th in defense, allowing 385 YPG.
These teams last met back in 2016, and that’s already a long time ago.
NFL Betting Trends
Denver played 7-1 SU, 5-3 ATS over the last two exhibition seasons under Coach Joseph.
Atlanta is 5-11 SU, 4-12 ATS in four pre-seasons under Coach Quinn, 0-8 both SU and ATS over the last two.
- Overs played 9-7 in Falcons games last season, which averaged 52 totals points.
- Unders played a lopsided 12-3-1 in Broncos games this season, which averaged 42 points.
- Overs, somewhat surprisingly, played 11-6 in Week 1 of last year’s NFL exhibition season.
Free NFL Pick
We do not recommend betting heavily on NFL pre-season games; there’s too much unknown. But it does appear Denver has more motivation here, with the new head coach, and Hogan is trying to make the team. Meanwhile, Atlanta has the longer run in mind and will give its youngsters most of the field time. We’re going with the Broncos here for our free NFL pick.