Football fans can finally watch the first NFL game in six months. The Las Vegas Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars will meet Thursday night in Canton, Ohio for the 2022 Hall of Fame Game.
Thursday’s matchup is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock. The Raiders are slight betting favorites to win the first exhibition game of 2022, according to the latest odds.
Las Vegas is a 2.5-point favorite over Jacksonsonville at FanDuel Sportsbook. The Raiders have -142 odds to win straight up. The Jaguars are +120 underdogs. The total is 29.5 points.
The odds reflect the final score of previous Hall of Fame Games. Because first-string players usually don’t see the field, the contest is often low-scoring and decided by only a few points.
The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Dallas Cowboys 16-3 in last year’s Hall of Fame Game. The annual contest has featured 30 points or fewer in six of the last nine games. Seven of the last 10 games have been decided by one score.
The Jaguars have already announced that starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence and second-year running back Travis Etienne won’t suit up. Third-string quarterback Jake Luton will start under center for Jacksonville as backup quarterback C.J. Beathard recovers from a groin injury. Kyle Sloter should also see time at quarterback for Jacksonville.
“It’s still evaluation time, we’re still evaluating our roster,” Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson told reporters. “We’ve got a lot of young guys and a lot of battles that we want to start seeing in game situations.”
Don’t expect Raiders quarterback Derek Carr to take the field. The same goes for star wide receiver Davante Adams, who was traded to Las Vegas in the offseason. Jarrett Stidham, Nick Mullens and Chase Garbers could all get time under center as they compete for the backup quarterback position.
Sloter has never thrown a pass in a regular-season game, but the quarterback has shone in the preseason. In the 2017 preseason, he went 31-of-43 passes for 413 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 125.4 passer rating with the Denver Broncos. Two years later, he put up more big numbers for the Minnesota Vikings.
Preseason games, particularly the first one of the year, are so unpredictable that betting on the underdog is often the best option. The Jaguars can pull off the upset in another uneventful Hall of Fame Game.
Prediction: Jaguars over Raiders, 14-10