Pre-Season Notes - ACC Preview

The National Football League's first full week / weekend of preseason play is in the books ... and here's some things we learned:

NFL Betting Favorites snagged an 8-6-2 ATS (against the spread) mark in these exhibition games played last week and so - when you add in Denver's Hall of Fame Game 14-10 win / cover as 2.5-point favorites - the chalk guys are overall 9-6-2 against the odds for a .600 winning rate. Meanwhile, NFL Totals players note that Overs are 8-6-3 vig-wise thus far in this 2019 preseason as there were totals "pushes" this past week / weekend in Tennessee's 27-10 win in Philadelphia, in Carolina's 23-13 win at Chicago and in Seattle's 22-14 home win against Denver.

No question that over/under numbers have increased a bit so far from recent years but still every single NFL preseason game so far has sported totals prices somewhere in the 30s, yet we've already had games with 53, 54, 55, 58, 59 and 61 points scored as more teams are doing more passing early in the preseason than ever before ... and don't you think that's very much because just about all the head-coaching hires in this league were slanted towards offensive minds this past offseason?

Now, here's some key inside-the-game news / notes from NFL Preseason Week 1 play ...

Count us among the folks surprised to see 2018 league MVP Patrick Mahomes getting the start in Kansas City's 38-17 win /cover against 3-point underdog Cincinnati this past Saturday night. The Chiefs' quarterback completed all four of his passes for 66 yards and Mahomes sent some shock waves through the Arrowhead Stadium crowd when he scrambled for 10 yards but slid down at the goal line to avoid a big hit ...

In another Saturday night game, the San Francisco 49ers (- 3.5) downed the Dallas Cowboys 17-9 as 'Boys RB Ezekiel Elliott sat it out with a contract issue. Note that Dallas' backs totaled 55 rushing yards in all on 18 carries (a dour 3.1 yards-per-carry average) as nobody showed any explosiveness but the good news is four-time Pro Bowl C Travis Frederick returned to play the opening series after missing all of last year with a nerve disorder ...

Finally, it sure appears that the Minnesota Vikings will be looking often for rookie TE Irv Smith, Jr. (Alabama) who was targeted seven times and finished with three catches worth 21 yards in the Vikings' 34-25 win at the Drew Brees-less New Orleans Saints (- 3). The TE combo of Smith and veteran Kyle Rudolph (two grabs for 30 yards last Friday night) could wind up being a red zone nightmare for NFL defenses this year.
     

Now, looking ahead to NFL Preseason Week 2 action beginning with those handful of games on Thursday night, all eyes will be on the (so far) lackluster offenses of the Jacksonville Jaguars - a 29-0 loser at Baltimore last Thursday.

The Jags are expected to start free-agent signee QB Nick Foles who didn't play last week - J'ville quarterbacks completed 10-of-25 passing tries for 65 yards with 0 TDs and 2 INTs - and so that should give the AFC South squad a little shot in the arm here against the visiting Philadelphia Eagles while the 'Skins look for answers at quarterback after rookie Dwayne Haskins aired two INTs - including a "pick six" - and Case Keenum threw for 60 yards on 4-of-9 completions in that 20-point loss versus the Browns. Remember Washington QB Colt McCoy sat out last week's game while he continues to rehab from a broken leg.

 

THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL CONFERENCE REPORTS - THE ACC

THE CONTENDERS - One of these years the Clemson Tigers are not going to cop the ACC, but that year is not here yet. Dabo Swinney's club is almost a lead-pipe cinch to make the playoffs for a fifth consecutive season though Florida State and Virginia have the "right to dream" here in 2019.

THE DARK HORSE - Virginia Tech. The Hokies don't play Clemson nor Florida State this season and go ahead and check out the sked: The Techsters could be 7-and-oh while heading into Notre Dame in early November. Don't sleep on these Gobblers.

BEST PLAYER - Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson. Is there really any question here? At last check this super soph sported the shortest odds to cop this year's Heisman Trophy (+ 220) and his 3,280 yards passing and 30 TDs in 2018 was accomplished despite the fact he did not start the first month of play.

CIRCLE THE DATE - Oct. 12, Florida State at Clemson. The truth is the FSU Seminoles have not won this rivalry game since 2014 (and even then Clemson covered the 10-point price tag in a 23-17 loss at Florida State) but the Tallahassee kids were embarrassed badly 59-10 last year as 18.5-point home underdogs and there's rumblings that the 'Noles will be super-geeked for tilt considering they'll have two weeks to prep..