The NFL preseason kicks off tonight with the Hall of Fame Game in Canton Ohio. The Dallas Cowboys will take on the Miami Dolphins as 2.5 point underdogs, with the total set at 32.5.
Tony Romo won’t be starting for the Cowboys. Dallas Coach Jason Garrett is using caution with his franchise quarterback, who signed a $120 million contract extension this off-season. Romo underwent surgery in April to have a cyst remove from his back, but has been participating in training camp practices. Kyle Orton will be the Cowboys’ starting quarterback, with Nick Stephens and Alex Tanney getting a lot of playing time as well.
The Dolphins will play their starting quarterback, Ryan Tannehill. However, he isn’t expected to get much action Backup quarterback Matt Moore should get the biggest chunk of snaps for Miami.
The Dolphins are a mess offensively. Their shuffled offensive line is not at a quality NFL level, and they are having injury problems at wide receiver. Joe Philbin is in his second year as head coach for Miami. He went 0-4 both straight up and against the spread last year. This time around, the Dolphins are out to win some exhibition games and show they can contend in the AFC East. Philbin’s main focus this summer is playing with speed, which should be easy with some new additions to the WR corps. Miami brought in WRs Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson as well as TE Dustin Keller. Wallace and fellow receiver Brian Hartline hope to play Sunday after returning from injuries this week.
The Cowboys were last in the Hall of Fame game in 2010. The offense was ugly in that game, failing to score a touchdown and scoring just three teams on field goals. I expect another conservative performance from Dallas tonight. They have two new coordinators this year, and are switching from the 3-4 defense to the 4-3 Cover 2.
Trends: Favorites are 9-6 SU and 7-6-2 SU ATS since 1996 with those games going 8-7 over/under. Four of the last six Hall of Fame Games have played under the total, with the 2011 HoF Game cancelled due to the NFL lockout.
Dallas is 1-3 straight up all-time in the Hall of Fame Game, with a 2-0 against the spread record and 1-1 over/under mark with spreads available. Miami boasts a 0-3 straight up mark all-time in the Hall of Fame Game, going 0-1-1 ATS and 1-1 O/U with odds available. These teams met in Week 4 of the 2012 preseason, with the Cowboys winning 30-13 as 2.5-point home favorites. Dallas and Miami have met eight times in the regular season since 1987, with the teams splitting those meetings 4-4 SU and ATS and going 2-6 over/under.