Football bettors can choose from six games on the NFL preseason schedule Friday.
Here’s a quick look at each of the matchups and their odds and trends.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Miami Dolphins (-3, 33.5)
Coach Joe Philbin declined to announce his plan at quarterback this week, but if he stays true to the depth chart veteran David Garrard will get the start. Matt Moore and Ryan Tannehill will likely see action as well. Miami will also debut its 4-3 scheme under new defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle.
The Buccaneers were atrocious defensively last season, finishing 30th in yards allowed (394.4 per game) and last in points surrendered (30.9). Tampa added cornerback Eric Wright via free agency to help tighten up the secondary. Wide receiver Vincent Jackson will also make his debut with the club, adding another offensive threat besides Mike Williams to the receiving corps.
New York Jets at Cincinnati Bengals (-1.5, 35.5)
It’s Tebow time in New York. The pivot has practiced as the second-team quarterback thus far in training camp and has only taken a few snaps with the first squad, none of them of the wildcat variety. The Jets will feature several young receivers due to the injuries to Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley. Rookies Stephen Hill, Patrick Turner, and Chaz Schilens will see significant time running routes in the preseason opener.
Brandon Tate is listed first on the depth chart at wide receiver when the Bengals open their preseason against the Jets. Finding a complement to receiver A.J. Green is one of Cincinnati's priorities this preseason. Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis will make his Bengals’ debut after signing a three-year, $9-million deal in the offseason.
Cleveland Browns at Detroit Lions (-3, 36)
Browns rookie running back Trent Richardson won’t suit up for the club’s preseason opener, but team officials hope he’ll make a speedy recovery from knee surgery and be available in Week 1. Head coach Pat Shurmer has named Brandon Weeden the starting quarterback Friday. Shurmer doesn't have extensive experience in the NFL as a head coach, but he went 1-3 SU and ATS in his preseason debut last year.
Lions head coach Jim Schwartz was a perfect 4-0 SU in the 2011 preseason. He’ll have a gaping hole at running back for the preseason opener because of injuries to his top two backs—Jahvid Best and Mikel Leshoure. Third-string halfback Kevin Smith should get the majority of the carries. Matt Stafford will see limited time at QB, but all five of the club’s top five receivers are healthy and ready to go.
New York Giants at Jacksonville Jaguars (-2.5, 35)
Hakeem Nicks, Terrell Thomas, Jacquain Williams, Chris Canty, and Michael Boley are among 11 Giants players that will sit out the preseason opener with injuries. New York’s first unit is expected to only play about three possessions tonight before the second unit takes the field.
The Jaguars remain in turmoil with star running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who's seeking a lucrative raise over his current 2012 salary of $4.45 million after leading the NFL in rushing a year ago. However, Jacksonville was able to reach a pact with rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon, who will make his NFL debut tonight, on a four-year deal Monday.
Arizona Cardinals at Kansas City Chiefs (-3, 34.5)
Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt is calling quarterback Kevin Kolb's injury minor and expects the quarterback to play in Friday's exhibition game against Kansas City behind starter John Skelton. Arizona activated running back Beanie Wells from the physically unable to perform list Tuesday, but he’s unlikely to suit up in the club’s second preseason game.
Kansas City welcomes the return of running back Jamaal Charles, tight end Tony Moeaki, and safety Eric Berry for the first time since all three blew out their ACLs last season. All three players are expected to see time Friday.
Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers (-3, 34.5)
The Minnesota Vikings are hoping that star running back Adrian Peterson can return to practice next week. The coaching and medical staff will evaluate Peterson’s left knee after the Vikings return from their preseason opener against the 49ers. Quarterback Christian Ponder says he is more comfortable and confident in the offense than he was as a rookie in camp last season.
The big story of the game is the return of wide receiver Randy Moss. He’s resurfaced after signing a one- year contract with the 49ers in March and is expected to start tonight. Moss has been mentoring San Francisco’s revamped receiver corps — Mario Manningham, Michael Crabtree, Ted Ginn Jr., Kyle Williams and first-round pick A.J. Jenkins of Illinois — all offseason. Head coach Jim Harbaugh has declined to state how long his starters will play.