The 2018 NFL preseason officially gets underway this Thursday night with the annual Hall of Fame game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. In a slated 8 p.m. kickoff on NBC, the Chicago Bears face off against the Baltimore Ravens in this inter-conference clash.
Chicago at Baltimore Game Preview
With a straight-up record of 5-11, the Bears finished last in the NFC North for the fourth-straight season. One of the few bright spots in last year’s campaign was a 27-24 road win against Baltimore on Oct. 15 as five-point underdogs at BetAnySports. Chicago was 9-6-1 against the spread last season with an 8-4-1 record when closing as an underdog. The total stayed UNDER or ended as a PUSH in it last six regular season games.
The futures odds to win the division in 2018 point to another long year, but the betting odds on the Bears’ projected 6.5 wins favors the OVER at -135. Much of the pressure to take a step forward are squarely on the shoulders of second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky. The team is hoping that wide receiver Kevin White can stay healthy for all 16 games after playing just five games since coming to Chicago as the first round pick of the 2015 draft.
The Ravens have been absent from the playoffs the past three seasons, but they did take a step in the right direction last season at 9-7 SU with an 8-7-1 record ATS. They were an even 5-5 when closing as favorites. Going back to Baltimore’s preseason performance in 2017, it went a perfect 4-0 both SU and ATS with the total staying UNDER BetAnySports’ closing line in three of the four games.
It is doubtful you will see Joe Flacco under center on Thursday night, but you should get a good look at Lamar Jackson as one of two first-round picks in this year’s draft. The former standout at Louisville could get the chance to throw the ball to tight end Haden Hurst as the 25th overall pick. Either way, veteran head coach John Harbaugh already knows that he has to find a way to improve a passing offense that was 29th in the league last season in yards.
Chicago at Baltimore Free Game Prediction
The total line is only set as 33, but that is still high enough for a bet on the UNDER. Each of the defensive-minded teams did a good job at keeping its opponents out of the end zone last season when it came to points allowed.