The dog days are almost over as things heat up over the August 23-25 weekend. NFL preseason is in full swing as well as the CFL, MLB and the PGA tour is looking to wrap up for the year.
It’s Week 3 in NFL pre-season play which means you might actually see some starters on the gridiron for more than a handful of snaps. That said, more and more teams are opting to sit their key players until September. It will be a surprise if any Chicago Bears starters get off the sideline at all when they visit the Indianapolis Colts as 4-point underdogs after opening at +3. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has already been ruled out of practice and game action for another week as he battles a foot injury that may be more serious than anyone in Indy was letting on.
The Minnesota Vikings are the biggest favourite on the board as a 7-point chalk at home to the Arizona Cardinals. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is a pre-season favourite among NFL exhibition bettors. Zimmer is 19-4 against the spread in his pre-season games. Minnesota put up 34 points in a win two weeks ago at New Orleans and beat the Seattle Seahawks 25-19 as a field-goal favourite last week. The Vikes could make life difficult for Arizona rookie quarterback Kyler Murray on Saturday.
The New England Patriots are also 2-0 straight and against the spread, as they host the Carolina Panthers as 3.5-point favourites on Thursday. The Pats won’t say whether Tom Brady, who hasn’t taken a snap yet in pre-season, will see any playing time against Carolina. Brady told reporters he hoped to play earlier this week. Panthers quarterback Cam Newtown and other starters will play, according to head coach Ron Rivera.
The top two teams in the West Division square off in Edmonton on Friday night as the Eskimos host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers as 6.5-point favourites. The Eskimos have won two in a row and lead the CFL having allowed only 164 points. Winnipeg has won three of the last four meetings between the two teams and leads the West at 7-2 overall. The Bombers are also 6-3 against the spread but will be tested without injured starting quarterback Matt Nichols. Chris Streveler, who was 1-4 in five starts last year, will get the call again this week.
Two of the best bets in baseball go head-to-head this weekend in Los Angeles. The New York Yankees and Dodgers are tied for the best record in MLB at 83-44 heading into Wednesday’s action and both squads earned their bettors a bundle this year. The Yanks top the money standings having earned almost 19 units for their supporters while the Dodgers check-in at +16 units, third overall.
The PGA Tour’s season and FedExCup playoffs finish up this weekend with the Tour Championship in Atlanta. There’s $15 million on the line in East Lake and Justin Thomas is the +250 favourite among the field of 30 golfers. Brooks Koepka (+550) and Rory McIlroy (+800) are seeing strong support from bettors. Dustin Johnson is currently the favourite long-shot bet at +2200.
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