Bettors, rejoice: The NFL is back on Thursday night

The NFL is back! Well, sort of.

Training camps are underway across the league, and that means preseason games are fast approaching. The first of those preseason games is the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, on Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET.

This year’s matchup features the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys. And you can most certainly bet on it.

The Steelers are currently 1.5-point favorites at BetMGM with the total set at a meager 33 points.

Even though it’s the preseason, there’s plenty of money being wagered on the game as fan excitement ramps up for football season. According to BetMGM, 71% of the bets and 83% of the money have come in on the Steelers.

The over-under bets are split 50-50, but 75% of the money is on the under, which opened at 34 but subsequently dropped down a point to 33. That’s a very low number for a total for the average NFL game, but four of the last five Hall of Fame Games have actually totaled 33 points or fewer.

CANTON, OH - AUGUST 02:   A General view of the Hall of Fame Logo at midfield prior to the National Football League Hall of Fame Game between the Chicago Bears and the Baltimore Ravens on August 2, 2018 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohi0.(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
The NFL preseason kicks off Thursday night with the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no Hall of Fame Game last year. The most recent one was in 2019, when the Denver Broncos beat the Atlanta Falcons, 14-10.

You’ll see some familiar faces on the field early on in Thursday night’s game, though Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott almost certainly won’t play as he deals with some shoulder soreness. But the starters will quickly shuffle out — perhaps even after a single series — in favor of the backups who are fighting for roster spots.

The lack of cohesion and the general talent on the field makes preseason games very unpredictable and difficult to handicap. But that won’t stop bettors from getting back to the action.

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