Hall of Fame Game Betting: Browns Win a Close One
A lot of people are banking on the Jets as they are betting on the NFL Hall of Fame game. The consensus is that whoever wants to win in the preseason, will win. Case and point: Baltimore’s insane 20+ game win streak. Bettors have considered if Jet’s Robert Saleh wants to start a similar streak in New York, as the Jet’s coach has yet to lose a preseason matchup.
While this is true, we have to expect that the arrival of Aaron Rodgers might change some of the NYJ culture; I find it hard to believe that Rodgers cares much at all about the preseason wins. In the Packers last two preseasons, they only managed to win a single game against New Orleans and Ian Book. While Rodgers wasn’t on the field for these matchups, it is hard to believe that he was inked by his team losing to Nate Sudfeld in a meaningless game. Winning teams typically don’t care about preseason, and if the Jets want to show Rodgers they are a serious team worried more about the postseason than preseason, they’ll play the Browns like the exhibition that it is.
Another reason to like the Browns is their QB play. Kellen Mond figures to start the game, then and off the second half to rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Mond is a third-year pro who demonstrated great accuracy and mobility in college. In preseason, he looked relatively sharp as well. While he hasn’t played meaningful minutes in the NFL, he has enough poise and talent to continue to stick around as a second or third stringer on most teams. Expect Mond to show some savvy and lead a balanced attack, making moves outside the pocket when necessary.
The other QB, Rookie Thompson-Robinson, was absolutely electric on Saturdays for UCLA. Clevland may not be his long-term home, but I think DTR has a better shot than some of his ’23 class late-round peers at starting for a team someday. He is a crafty, fifth year senior who can carve up a defense. He may end up flushed and running on a number of plays, but that is where he is most dangerous. I think he gives Mond some real competition for the third string role. Expect both Browns QBs to be playing for their depth chart lives in this one, meanwhile Chris Streveler, Tim Boyle, and Zach Wilson may have a better idea of where they stand.
I do like Streveler’s size and athleticism, but along with Boyle and Wilson, the trio simply doesn’t have a lot of throwing talent and cannot use their legs to make up for it. With that being said, the Browns have an incredible haul of rookie and undrafted defensive players that might feast on the Jets backups. Go take a look at third round pick Siaki Ika, the 6’4, 358 DT from Baylor and tell me you want to be Zach Wilson on August 3rd 2023. Joining Ika are second year pro and massive 6’5, 267 lb. DE Alex Wright, and speedy rookie EDGE Lonnie Phelps.
Overall, this is likely to be an interesting matchup, but don’t expect the Jets to care as much as people want them to. On the other side, expect steady, efficient production from Mond and then a little flare from Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s first taste of the NFL.
Pick: Browns +2
Game line via Draftkings Sportsbook