The NFL regular season is still month away, but the pre-season kicks off today with the annual Hall of Fame game.
Hall of Fame Game
When Is It: Friday morning, 10am AEST
Where Is It: Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, Ohio
Who Is It: Chicago Bears v Baltimore Ravens
What Is It: An exhibition (pre-season) game featuring two teams selected by the league to kick off the season at the same time as the Hall of Fame ceremonies.
The Ravens Actually Care
Pre-season games are also called ‘exhibition games’ because teams don’t tend to take them too seriously. They’re a chance for coaches to see how rookies (but not always top draft picks) and free agents play and to give veterans a bit of a hit out. In short, winning or losing isn’t that important. John Harbaugh’s Baltimore Ravens, however, buck that trend. Harbaugh is 28-12 overall in exhibition games and an amazing 27-13 against the spread, with 4-0 records in three of the past four pre-seasons.
Lamar Jackson Time?
The Heisman Trophy winning quarterback out of Louisville fell to Baltimore with the 32nd and final pick of the first round. Jackson is an exciting prospect in the Cam Newton mould, and with starter Joe Flacco unlikely to log much time, this could be his moment to shine. Robert Griffin III is also on the Ravens’ roster and could see some playing time.
The Matt Nagy Era Begins
The former offensive coordinator at Kansas City takes over from John Fox as head coach of the Bears. He’s got a potentially good young quarterback in second-year man Mitch Trubisky, but we’re unlikely to see too much of him nor all facets of Nagy’s offensive game plan.
The Missing Man
The Bears’ #1 draft pick, Roquan Smith a linebacker out of Georgia, has still not signed and has missed two weeks of training camp. The team says it’s contract language having to do with the NFL’s new helmet-to-helmet penalties (say what?) but fans and the media are starting to get restless.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 29, 2018
The game was created in conjuction with the yearly NFL Hall of Fame induction. This year’s class includes some well-known modern day players like Ray Lewis, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens, as well as a few oldtimers like Jerry Kramer, star guard for Vince Lombardi’s Super Bowl winning Green Bay Packers of 1967 and 1968.
Terrell Owens has some of the best statistical numbers of any wide receiver who’s ever played, but he’s also one of the most temperamental and moody players to have donned a helmet. True to his character, T.O. has decided that he won’t attend the ceremony, but instead hold his own personal celebration in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he played college football.
— Terrell Owens (@terrellowens) July 22, 2018
$1.82 Baltimore Ravens
$2.o3 Chicago Bears
$1.89 Baltimore Ravens -2.5
$1.95 Chicago Bears +2.5
All Hall of Fame Game markets here (odds subject to change).