Cowboys vs. Steelers Odds & Betting Preview: 2 Picks For Thursday’s NFL Hall of Fame Game
Getty Images. Pictured: Garrett Gilbert
You read that correctly: NFL betting is back! With the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers set to kick off the 2021 preseason in the NFL Hall of Fame Game Thursday, the offseason betting drought is officially over.
Our analysts found some value in the matchup despite the unknowns that come with preseason games. Here are our two best bets for the showdown in Canton:
Cowboys vs. Steelers Odds & Picks
Steelers First Half (-0.5)
Editor’s note: Simon Hunter’s explanation of his first-half has been updated to reflect the availability of that market as of 3 p.m. ET on Thursday.
Simon Hunter: I love first-half bets. And this one is simple: It’s all about who is at quarterback.
Mike Tomlin announced that Mason Rudolph will be the starter for the Steelers against who-cares-at-quarterback for the Cowboys. (Mike McCarthy hasn’t confirmed who will start as of Wednesday afternoon, but per CBS Sports’ Patrik Walker, it sounds likely to be Garrett Gilbert.)
PICK: Steelers 1H -0.5 (to -1) at BetMGM
No Score In Final 2 Minutes of 1H (+220)
Brandon Anderson: Football is back, baby! We waited way too long for this and preseason game or not, there’s just no way we’re sitting this one out with real live football on our TVs.
We’ll see just what quality of football we get, though. Don’t expect a ton of scoring in this one — especially with the total set at just 33. The books know the same thing we do: It’s way too early for offenses to have their timing down, and defenses have the advantage early on. That’s what I’d expect from both of these teams anyway.
The uniforms will tell us this is a throwback Super Bowl-type matchup between the Cowboys and Steelers, but the reality is that both teams ended the 2020 season in a disappointing fashion and badly need to get their offenses moving again.
While both teams could desperately use some reps with their star quarterbacks under center, neither Dak Prescott nor Ben Roethlisberger will be on the field Thursday night. That could leave the offenses even murkier and less powerful. The truth is that the Hall of Fame Game is often a dud as far as offensive fireworks.
Would you believe that only one team has cleared 20 points over the past decade in any Hall of Fame Game? Teams have averaged just 14.8 points per game over that span. That would lean slightly under, but I’m playing for a bigger kill here.
At BetMGM, you can get +220 odds on neither team scoring in the final two minutes of the first half. Normally that’s a prime spot for either or both teams to score, but with rusty offenses and at least one pretty good defense out there (et tu, Dallas?), I think of this as our teams likely scoring only around 30 points in 60 minutes, and we just have to fade points for two of those minutes.
Plus this way I can get in and out and jump to the Olympics at halftime if this thing turns into a snoozer. Give me the longer odds and let’s see if we can avoid a two-minute drive or luck into a missed field goal if necessary.
PICK: No Score In Final 2 Minutes of 1H (+220) at BetMGM