2021 NFL Hall of Fame Game Betting Odds – Dallas Cowboys vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Written by:
Phil Simon
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We will all forget the names of a lot of players that are on the field Thursday when the NFL opens up the 2021 preseason slate with the Hall of Fame Game between the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers. There is a storied history between these two franchises but with most starters sitting this one out the only thing going for them is the team name. Usually a snooze-fest since it was a fifth preseason game for teams taking part in the past, coaching strategies might change. The NFL severed one exhibition contest to add a regular season contest, so Mike McCarthy and Mike Tomlin will use this to gain an upper hand. Still, we won’t see a lot of regulars so handicapping the bottom of the rosters is a factor when wagering on the game.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Date and Time: Thursday, August 5, 2021, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, OH
Opening NFL Odds: Steelers -1, O/U 32.5
Cowboys vs. Steelers TV Coverage: FOX

Odds Analysis

Typical of most early preseason games the line has Pittsburgh favored by 1-point with the total set at 32.5. Bettors know just as much as oddsmakers at this point, so with a little research there is money to be made. The HOF game has traditionally been a low-scoring affair over the years with offenses still learning the playbook and a majority of personnel playing together for the first time. Six of the last eight HOF games finished with a total at our under 33, which was the opening total in this matchup. Still, the advantage belongs to the defense, which is more reactionary, and the value is with the UNDER.

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas has the potential to possess one of the best offenses in the NFL. They were up there last year before Dak Prescott was injured in Week 5. There was a slim chance Prescott would have played, but a minor injury in training camp all but sealed the deal. And besides, the Cowboys need to get current No. 2 Garrett Gilbert a bunch of reps just in case. The Boys didn’t anticipate losing Prescott for the year in the fifth game last season, and they thought they had a backup plan in place with Andy Dalton. That didn’t work out.

Instead the Boys have a bunch of unknowns competing for No. 2. Gilbert has played in only seven games in his career while Ben DiNucci and Cooper Rush have fewer. While this is a big preseason for McCarthy and his troops, he knows what he has in Prescott, who led the NFL in passing yards before being shelved for the season.

While the offense sputtered under Dalton, the defense never got things right last season, allowing the most points in franchise history. With work needed on that side of the football expect the Cowboys to concentrate on shutting down the Steelers while getting up to 14 defensive newcomers as many reps as possible. New coordinator Dan Quinn will take a long look at top draft pick Micah Parsons, who has “done everything” on the field during camp.

Pittsburgh Steelers

While the Steelers are still a playoff caliber team and a threat to win the AFC North, the window is closing on the career of Ben Roethlisberger. Entering his 18th season, Big Ben has done it all so there really is no reason for him to take the field on Thursday, and I doubt he will. Besides, the Steelers are looking to solidify their backup spot as well. Mason Rudolph started eight games when Roethlisberger was shelved with an elbow injury a few years ago. He played well but the team lacked the explosiveness it had under Ben.

Rudolph isn’t guaranteed the backup job so it behooves him to have a solid preseason. The Steelers brought in Dwayne Haskins and also have Josh Dobbs on the roster, with both of them looking to gain an edge.

The Steelers would like to find some consistency on their rebuilt offensive line. Four starters from a season ago are gone and it takes time to build chemistry and become a cohesive unit. That’s another reason why Big Ben won’t play. The Steelers are strong on both sides of the football at the top of the depth chart, but Tomlin would like to find depth at linebacker and in the secondary. That means another hard look at the defense which just adds to the value on the UNDER.

Bet Cowboys vs. Steelers at BookMaker.eu

We all know preseason games are meaningless and there is no correlation between what happens in the regular year. But McCarthy needs a win after a disappointing 6-10 season. Of course injuries played a huge role in that, but the defense was abysmal and should be better with Quinn at the helm. I expect the Boys to be fierce from the get go and the Steelers are one of the best as well. The total is low but points always seem to be scarce in this game. Take the UNDER and lean toward the Cowboys and the points.

NFL Score Prediction: Cowboys 13, Steelers 10

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- Phil Simon, Gambling911.com

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