It’s been almost six full months, but we finally have a professional football game to watch.
The New York Jets and Cleveland Browns, two teams with extremely high expectations, will square off in the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 3 in Canton, Ohio.
The Jets, who finished last in the AFC East at 7-10 last season, made waves by acquiring quarterback Aaron Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers and loading their offense with some of his favorite targets. Cleveland, who also went 7-10 and finished last in the AFC North, will have a full season of Deshaun Watson under center.
Rodgers and Watson aren’t likely to play in Canton but here’s what to expect for the 58th annual event.
Jets vs Browns Odds
NFL odds used for this New York vs Cleveland preview were found at DraftKings Sportsbook and are current as of July 18 at 11 a.m. ET.
Jets vs Browns Predictions
Score Pick: Jets 19, Browns 13
We shouldn’t expect to see Rodgers except on the sideline, but New York has a streak to protect. The Jets haven’t lost a preseason game in almost four years, going 6-0-1 in their past seven exhibition slates dating back to 2019.
Part of that may be good fortune since they have had multiple coaches and have not played many starters in those games. But there’s clearly a method to New York’s recent hot streak in the preseason.
In a game that likely will not feature starters or even regulars, New York still has a deep roster of players competing for spots, especially on offense. One would have to think Zach Wilson will see the bulk of the playing time and that having a young quarterback with something to prove and who may pick up something from Rodgers will want to showcase it.
Watson almost certainly won’t play, and backup Joshua Dobbs will probably also cede the signal calling to Kellen Mond and rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson. We’ll see how each is able to produce against the Jets’ rookies and backups.
Defenses are generally ahead of the offenses in preseason, so look for a low-scoring affair, especially without offensive starters playing. Wilson has been a turnover machine historically, so maybe the Browns will pick him off once or twice.
Still, look for the Jets to score a tight, low-scoring victory in front of a pro-Browns crowd in Canton.
Jets vs Browns Best Bets & Props
Under 33.5 Points (-110)
DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 unit
There have been 33 points or fewer in seven of the past 10 Hall of Fame games, although last year’s game between Jacksonville and Las Vegas finished 27-11. Still, the Jets and Browns are two defense-first teams, and defenses are almost always ahead of offenses, especially in games that feature third- and fourth-string players.
Rodgers and Watson will almost certainly not play, and they won’t be alone. Jets running back Breece Hall, returning from a torn ACL, will almost certainly avoid the questionable-at-best playing conditions at Tom Benson Field.
Consider also that the Jets and Browns will meet in Week 16, and you can bet the offenses won’t be showing each other much. Take a tight, low-scoring game as our NFL bet of the day
Jets +1.5 (-110)
DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 unit
The more lucrative pick would be Jets moneyline, and I’d advocate that as well. But roughly 10 percent of all preseason games were decided by exactly one point in 2022, and 20 percent were decided by two points or fewer.
That trend makes sense given how hard the reserves play in what could be their only opportunity to dress in an NFL uniform.
In a game that may as well be a coin flip, taking points is the way to go. If this line moves to two, it’ll be worth mashing since two of the past five Hall of Fame Games have been decided by two points or less.
Jets Win by 1-6 Points (+340)
DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 0.5 units
About 40 percent of all preseason games last season were decided by six points or fewer. Plus, five of the past eight Hall of Fame games were decided by less than a touchdown.
If you believe in the Browns, take them to win by 1-6 points (+310). I picked the Jets and would stick to that pick for this prop bet.
Jets vs Browns Same Game Parlay
There are no Hall of Fame Game parlays yet, but this space will be updated when there are.