Dan Haren continues his freefall — check. David Price continues his dominance — check. The Rays continue to own the Angels (beating them for the ninth time in the last 10 meetings) and give me a four-star winner — double-check. Ah, they don’t get much easier than Thursday, as Haren got tagged for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, while Price allowed three hits in seven shutout innings, leading Tampa Bay to the 7-0 victory (its third straight shutout of the Angels). So do I follow this up with another selection in baseball (a sport I’ve had a lot of success with the last three weeks)? Of course not. I’m taking another shot at preseason football, where so far I’m 0-for-2. Not only that, I’m playing the biggest favorite of the entire weekend. (To answer your question: No, I haven’t hit the bottle early on this Friday — as far as you know.)
So why is New Orleans laying this kind of chalk in an exhibition game? A few reasons. First, because the Saints played in the Hall of Fame Game, this is their third preseason contest. And while I don’t expect their starters to play as long as they will next week (the next-to-last preseason game is the true dress rehearsal for all clubs), they will see much more action than they have the last two weeks. Secondly, Drew Brees and the offense looked completely out of sync in last week’s 7-6 loss at New England, managing just 11 yards (and no first downs) in two series (six total snaps). You can expect them to be more precision-like tonight. Additionally, on the other side of the ball, the Saints’ D seems to be in mid-season form under new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo—which is bad news for a Jaguars’ offense that is without its superstar (holdout RB Maurice Jones-Drew) while going with a quarterback rotation of Blaine Gabbert, Jordan Palmer and Chad Henne.
Finally, with respect to this big pointspread, allow me to list the Saints’ Week 3 preseason results the last five years: 27-19, 13-0, 45-7, 36-21, 40-20. Yes, New Orleans was victorious in all five games.
Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Thursday’s Result: Rays (-110) at Angels (Win)