2010 Hall of Fame Game NFL Odds: Bengals Vs Cowboys

Hall of Fame Game Bengals vs Cowboys
Oddsmakers currently have the Bengals as a 3 point favorite
Sunday’s NFL Hall of Fame Game pits the Cincinnati Bengals against the Dallas Cowboys, which would be an outstanding matchup for the regular season and still makes for an intriguing preseason battle.  If this were the regular season, the publicly popular Cowboys would definitely be favored by more than the opener of -1.  Instead, injuries and the fact that Dallas could be resting several key players as well as not caring about games in prior preseasons has seen the Hall of Fame Game NFL odds shift to Bengals -2.5 or -3 with the total set at 32.5. 

Preseason NFL games have notoriously low totals due to the unpredictable nature of who will play and for how long.  This year’s Hall of Fame Game is no different despite the presence of two potentially explosive offenses.  The key word there is “potential” because each team’s starters may only play a possession or two before watching their reserves take over.

The Cowboys already will be without rookie WR Dez Bryant, who suffered a high ankle sprain in practice and will miss 4-6 weeks of action.  Bryant hopes to be back in time for the regular-season opener against the Washington Redskins, but pushing him to do too much too early in his young career seems to have served as a wake-up call for head coach Wade Phillips and owner Jerry Jones on how to use the rest of their players in warming up for a potential Super Bowl run.  To make matters worse for Dallas, starting QB Tony Romo is also dealing with arm soreness.  The only positive aspect of this game for the team to rally around is the induction of NFL all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith into the Hall of Fame during the enshrinement ceremony on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Bengals expect to have a small home-field advantage playing in Ohio and would love to get off to a great start in front of their fans.  Even though WR Antonio Bryant will not play due to a knee injury, former Cowboys WR Terrell Owens and CB Adam “Pacman” Jones will make their debuts and would like nothing more than to prove they can still play at a high level against the team that cut them loose.  How much they will actually play remains to be seen, but Cincy figures to have more to prove here with an additional motivational edge that justifies them as favorites.

Both of these teams have their eyes on repeating playoff appearances following this season, so fans and bettors alike should expect them to be cautious and not to go all out right away.  Last year, Cincinnati scored only seven points in each of the first two preseason games yet went 1-1 straight-up and against the spread before averaging 29.5 in the last two.  Those first two games for the Bengals went way UNDER the total while the last two soared OVER.  Dallas also got off to a sluggish start in the 2009 preseason opener, scoring just one touchdown in a 31-10 loss at Oakland.  The Cowboys have scored more than 17 points three times in their last 10 preseason games, so their priority clearly has not been focused on the offensive side of the ball.

If you are undecided on who to go with on Sunday’s contest, consider Maddux’s NFL spread picks season long package.  An excellent investment if you are going to be wagering on pro football this year. 

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