In an alternate world, August in the NFL would be filled with only joint practices, not preseason games. But season-ticket holders don’t have to pay for joint practices.
Coaches get a lot out of the joint practices and it’s in a more controlled environment than preseason games. Last week Philadelphia Eagles coach Nick Sirianni held starters out of the preseason opener, and said one reason was that joint practices against the Cleveland Browns began on Monday. That speaks to what coaches prioritize.
“We’re here to treat these joint practices like games,” Sirianni said last week, via the team’s site.
The Eagles and Browns had their joint practices, with a little bit of bad feelings from what the Browns perceived to be “cheap shots” at their quarterback Deshaun Watson, and the game on Thursday might feel a little anticlimactic for those involved. However, the game is what’s on NFL Network on Thursday. And there was no point spread attached to the practices.
The Eagles are a 3.5-point favorite at BetMGM over the Browns. Both teams are coming off close preseason losses last week.
With the preseason changing from four games to three and many coaches adopting the philosophy of starters sitting in August, there’s little that bettors can count on in terms of playing time. Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said his starters won’t play Thursday night; rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson will start at quarterback as Deshaun Watson and Joshua Dobbs sit. Watson started last week. The Eagles aren’t expected to use many starters either after they got live reps against the Browns during the week.
Just remember when you play your preseason betting angle on the Browns or Eagles that for those involved, the most important competition already happened this week on the practice field.
Here’s the first look at the sports betting slate for Thursday:
Light MLB card
There are only six games in Major League Baseball on Thursday. We do get some good pitchers on the mound, however. NL Cy Young favorite Zac Gallen is on the mound for the Arizona Diamondbacks against the San Diego Padres. Arizona is a small -115 favorite. The Milwaukee Brewers have Corbin Burnes, the 2021 NL Cy Young winner who has had an up-and-down season, starting against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Los Angeles is a -140 favorite.
Great matchup in WNBA
There’s one WNBA game on Thursday, and it’s a good one. The Las Vegas Aces, who lead the league with a 27-3 record, face the New York Liberty. The Liberty lead the East at 24-6, but are still 6.5-point underdogs at the Aces. That shows plenty of respect for Las Vegas, the defending WNBA champs.
What’s the best bet?
There’s not much to pick from and I won’t touch the NFL game, so let’s go with the Liberty. How many times can you get a 24-6 team catching 6.5 points?