Anaheim, CA (PressExposure) August 13, 2009 -- The NFL kicks off their 2009 preseason schedule with an opening weekend Hall of Fame Game. This matchup features two AFC teams for the first time in the history of the game, due to the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the American Football League.
That's also the reason the first two Monday night regular season contests highlight original AFC teams, the Bills at the Patriots and Al Davis' Raiders are hosting the Chargers.
NFL Preseason Odds and History: The first Hall of Fame game was played in 1962, featuring two teams from the National Conference.
Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Baltimore played in the NFC until the two leagues merged in 1970 and the aforementioned three moved to the AFC Conference. Even though the AFC merged with the NFC and began league play at the start of the 1970 campaign, the 1970 Hall of Fame game had been previously allocated and the Vikings played the Saints.
From 1971 until this 2009Titans/Bills contest, the game always featured an AFC team vs. a NFC team. Incidentally the first Inter-Conference match-up was between the LA Rams and the Houston Oilers on July 31, 1971.
Preseason Line Moves Over at BetRepublic.com we were discussing lines moves in the preseason on one of the latest BetRepublic.com online TV shows. The Hall of Fame game has a few examples of wild swings with preseason lines.
The two largest line swings for Hall of Fame games were in 2001 in a contest between the Rams and Dolphins. St. Louis opened at - 4 and closed as a 3-point underdog. What caused a 7 point swing in that line? The sports betting community jumped on that line based largely on the belief that the battle for the #1 QB spot in Miami between Ray Lucas and Jay Fielder would provide a significant edge for the Dolphins, as both players would be given time and want to show well. On the other side, it was announced and well known that Ram QB Kurt Warner would only play a series, maybe two. The rest o the game would be divided between former Ohio State QB Joe Germaine, Paul Justin and perhaps Marc Bulger. It was also announced that Marshall Faulk wouldn't see any action.
Ouch...sports bettors got stung in that big move, and the books counted the dough after the Rams closed out a 17-10 win, covering all the pointspreads from -4 all the way to +3.
In 2005 NFL bettors jumped on the Dolphins again, this time in their matchup with the Bears. Chicago opened at -3 and were quickly bet down, closing at pick'em. Once again, Miami disappointed their backers, as the Bears won 27-24 (those who bet Miami at +3 pushed, all the other Dolphin bettors lost).
2009 Hall of Fame game line: This year the Tennessee Titans opened at - 3 and money has been trending the Bills way. The line is currently at -2 Â½ at many online sportsbooks and we here at BetRepublic.com expect the underdog to keep seeing the bulk of action, with that number creeping even lower.
Over/Under Line for Hall of Fame game What happens when there is a low total in a Hall of Fame game? The line is currently sitting at 31 at most online sportsbooks.
While this number is low, it is not the lowest Over/Under Total for a Hall of Fame game. In 1992 the Jets and Eagles matchup had a 30 put up on it, in 1995 Jaguars vs. Panthers Total was 30Â½ points, in 2002 the Giants and Texans had a 30Â½ number and way back in 1982 the Over/Under between the Colts and Vikings was 31 points.
Worth noting is that all four of those games played over the number.
Preseason Trends Since 1962 a total of 15 games had a combined score that exceeded 37 points while 28 contests had a combined score that resulted in 37 or less points. There was no Hall of Fame Game in Canton in 1966 and two games were called due to lightning. Since 1993 and league parity began, 10 of the 15 games saw 37 or fewer total points scored. On the flip side 31 out of last 40 completed games, (dating back to 1967) have seen a combined score of more than 25 points.
Greg's Hall of Fame Teaser Selection They don't call them teasers for nothing so tread lightly. In looking for a little fun with the first preseason game of the season, I'm suggesting a small "beer and pizza" teaser to keep things interesting. I played a two-team 6-point teaser on the Bills + 8Â½ points to over 25 points for 1-unit.
Check out BetRepublic.com for more NFL preseason picks, plus you can watch and chat with Greg Dempson and Sonny Palermo on the innovative live streaming online TV programming each week.