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Sunday Preseason Tips

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Saturday night recap: Favorites put together a 6-4 straight-up and 5-5 against the spread mark in the "dress rehersal" games last night. The Bucs, Chiefs, Chargers, and Broncos all grabbed their first preseason victory, as Tampa Bay and Kansas City rallied late to cash in the road underdog role. The 'under' went 5-4-1 last night, as the lone 'push' came in the Falcons/Titans game which closed at 43 (27-16, Tennessee).

In Week 3, favorites are profiting with a 9-5 SU and 8-6 ATS mark, while the 'over' sits at 7-6-1 heading into Sunday's action.

Saints at Texans - 4:00 PM EST - FOX - Click here for winners

New Orleans: 2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS
Houston: 2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS

The Saints have taken care of their business at home in the preseason with a pair of victories over AFC West foes, Kansas City and Oakland. New Orleans' offense outgained Kansas City by 212 yards and Oakland by 184 yards, while jumping out to a 23-0 advantage over the Raiders last Friday night. The Saints held on for a 28-20 victory to cash as six-point favorites, as New Orleans and Oakland eclipsed the total of 46.

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The Texans play their second consecutive home contest after downing the Dolphins last Saturday, 24-17 as 3 ½-point favorites. All three Houston quarterbacks (Matt Schaub, Case Keenum, and T.J. Yates) threw a touchdown pass, while the Texans combined for 303 yards through the air. The strong first half showing against Miami was a nice contrast after outscoring Minnesota, 17-0 in the second half in the preseason opener.

New Orleans has won and covered each of their last six "dress rehersal" games dating back to 2008, including a 34-27 triumph over Houston as a 2 ½-point favorite last season. The Saints have owned the Texans in the preseason recently, grabbing three of the past four meetings.

Houston has dominated in the preseason since 2011 by posting an 8-2 SU/ATS record, even though one of those losses came to New Orleans in Week 3 last season. The Texans have struggled in the "dress rehersal" game the last five preseasons by winning just twice in five attempts, while Houston seeks only its second 3-0 start in the exhibition season in franchise history.

Expected Quarterback Rotations:
New Orleans: D. Brees, L. McCown, R. Griffin
Houston: M. Schaub, C. Keenum, T.J. Yates

Handicapper Analysis: Stephen Nover - The Saints defense surrendered the most yards in NFL history last year. They are in a transition phase under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. This will be their toughest foe by far, having so far played just the Chiefs and Raiders. Schaub is a big step above Alex Smith and Matt Flynn. He is adept at burning blitzing foes, which the Saints are going to be doing under the aggressive Ryan.

Vikings at 49ers - 8:00 PM EST - NBC - Click here for winners

Minnesota: 0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS
San Francisco: 1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS

Both these playoff teams from last season have struggled to put up points through two exhibition contests. The 49ers have scored just 21 points so far in the preseason, but found a way to squeeze past the Chiefs last Friday, 15-13. San Francisco cashed outright as 2 ½-point road underdogs, as the 49ers pulled out the victory with a late touchdown pass by former University of South Florida standout B.J. Daniels. The Chiefs' lone touchdown came on a kickoff return, while the Niners received a pair of 50+ yard field goals from Phil Dawson.

The Vikings are looking to sharpen up their game tonight after dropping a 20-16 decision at Buffalo as 3 ½-point road underdogs. The contest wasn't as close as the final score indicates, as Minnesota fell behind, 20-3 before the Vikings found the end zone twice in the final quarter. Minnesota has been outgained by at least 130 yards in each loss, but are expected to have MVP Adrian Peterson on the field tonight after missing the first two games.

The Niners are 1-1 SU/ATS under Jim Harbaugh in the "dress rehersal" games, as San Francisco won at Denver last season, 29-24 as a short underdog. San Francisco owns a 3-1 SU/ATS record in Harbaugh's tenure as a home favorite in the preseason, with the lone defeat coming to Denver in this season's exhibition opener.

Minnesota is just 2-4 SU and 3-3 ATS in the last six Week 3 preseason contests since 2007. Only one of those victories came on the road, a 17-10 triumph as three-point underdogs at Houston in 2009.

Expected Quarterback Rotation:
Minnesota: C. Ponder, M. Cassel, M. Bethel-Thompson
San Francisco: C. Kaepernick, C. McCoy, S. Wallace

Handicapper Analysis: Marc Lawrence - The Vikings are 13-1 SU and 12-1-1 ATS in preseason games with a winless record when playing off a loss of 3 or more points, including 12-0-1 ATS as a dog or favorite of less then seven points. The 49ers 0-5 SU/ATS in games off a SU underdog win when facing a winless team in the preseason.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at rogers@vegasinsider.com

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

  
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