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Thursday Night’s NFL preseason betting offers at least three interesting games and one that should be an easy money train ride to finish things off. We’ll get you up to speed with the weekend action later this week, so for now let’s get your bankroll padded with these free picks.

Detroit Lions over CLEVELAND BROWNS
FirstEnergy Stadium --- 7:30pm EST

Sometimes it pays to have reliable guys in your system, and that’s exactly what you’re getting with the Detroit Lions. Matthew Stafford will likely get more snaps in this game after going just 3-for-8 for 58 yards in his first preseason affair against the Jets, which Detroit won and covered in. When Stafford comes off the field, Shaun Hill is a completely capable backup who poured in 136 yards at a touchdown while getting the brunt of the work against New York. The running game didn’t really feature that much but the passing game was at full throttle, showcasing the offense that will hopefully propel Detroit up the standings and towards a playoff berth. I’m high on the Lions this year, even if I’m tepid about Coach Schwartz.

The Browns were curiously steady when they played St. Louis in their first preseason game, and there’s no reason to believe that they’re not going to be decent in this game. It’s not something that casual NFL fans will understand, but Brian Hoyer going up against Shaun Hill is like the Pro-Bowl of backup “try-hards”. Pretty fun for preseason action if you ask me.

Between the two, I think Detroit’s defense stands out here. Joe Haden won’t be taking any risks in this game so don’t look for the standouts for the Browns to be featured that much in this game. Detroit will be a little more willing to floor it with the first team in this game, which is why I’m giving them the edge in this NFL preseason betting free pick.

Carolina Panthers over PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Lincoln Financial Field– 7:30pm EST


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Until Chip Kelly gets his freaking act together and names a starter, I’m backing off the Eagles. I get that he’s different that Andy Reid was, and that he’s trying to set a tone for “respect is earned” in Philadelphia after seeing how the team abandoned all hope and threw in the towel midway through last year. But you can’t torment Vick, Barkley and Foles with the hope that they’re going to maybe be the starter and then play FIVE QUARTERBACKS in your first preseason game. At some point make a freaking decision and move on.

Carolina was fierce against Chicago, besting them at home in a sparingly hard fought preseason affair. Who knew Derek Anderson took this game so seriously? The big feature for the Panthers seems to be their defense and running game, which shouldn’t be any surprise to any real fan. I like them to continue their moxy in the preseason by stomping the misguided Eagles.

And no, I would never say that in the regular season.

Atlanta Falcons over BALTIMORE RAVENS
M&T Bank Stadium --- 7:30pm EST


I think that Atlanta knows who they are more than anyone else in the NFC, mostly because they finally moved on from the failed abortion that was Michael Turner and picked up Steven Jackson who has at least enough left in the tank to give Atlanta the balance they’ve been yearning for. Still, the Falcons need to get first team reps in and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a little more of Matt Ryan, Julio, Roddy and Jackson in this one which means Baltimore is in for a rough ride at home. The point cushion makes this even more inviting, but it’s still preseason so tread lightly.

CHICAGO BEARS over San Diego Chargers
Soldier Field --- 8:00pm EST

I will be the first to admit that I have no idea who Matt Blanchard is, but the rookie out of Wisconsin-Whitewater looked decent in his feature role during Chicago’s first preseason game. The Bears piled up 221 passing yards and 2 picks, mostly off the hard work of Blanchard who looked capable of at least steadying the Bears after Cutler comes off the field.

And San Diego is a hot, white mess that nobody wants to deal with. After losing both Malcolm Floyd and Danario Alexander, they’re scrounging for spare parts. getting blown out 10-to-31 against Seattle last week does nothing to invigorate me about this completely lost franchise. Bet against the regular season win total, don’t touch them in the futures and definitely stay away from them in the preseason. You’ve been warned.

  
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