For the first time this season, there will be NFL moneyline action on Thursday. And what better way to kick off the preseason in earnest than by watching both Super Bowl finalists, the upstart Seattle Seahawks and Peyton Manning and Co. all in one night.
When the Baltimore Ravens kick off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 7:30 p.m. ET, it marks the club’s first step in their journey to repeat as NFL champions. While their odds of winning the Super Bowl may be relatively slim (25-1), they’re indicative of the adjustments the team will have to make with so many changes to their roster.
To put things in regrettable terms to which New Englanders can relate: Ray Lewis isn’t walking through that door. Ed Reed isn’t walking through that door. Anquan Boldin, and even injured Dennis Pitta, isn’t walking through that door. Sure, Joe Flacco is, but will that be enough to power the club to success against a +3 spread?
The Bucs, let’s not forget, are coming off of a down year and will be especially hungry to start their campaign off on the right foot.
Not long after play unfolds in Florida, the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers will duke it out in their own debut. The Broncos, of course, finished last season with an NFC-leading 13 wins, but it was the 49ers who scraped their way to the Super Bowl.
Heading into the 2013 campaign, each has 6-1 odds of winning the Super Bowl, top among their respective conferences. On this night, however, the hometown Niners have a slight -3 advantage. If Colin Kaepernick is on the hot seat to prove that he’s an elite quarterback, there’s no better place to start than against one of the game’s greatest of all time.
In the latest game on the docket, Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks (-2 favorites) will make their way south for an appointment with the San Diego Chargers. After years stuck toiling in mediocrity, there was a culture shift in the state of Washington last season; suddenly the franchise is a relevant and appealing choice for sports bettors and fans alike. The question is can Wilson and head coach Pete Carroll capitalize on the momentum?
History favors the bold, and if their uniforms tell us anything, that’s exactly the way the Hawks would prefer it.