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Thursday’s NFL Preseason Week 4 Betting Primer

The NFL preseason concludes Thursday night with all 32 teams in action. With most teams using this game to rest starters and evaluate who will make the cut at the back end of the roster, it can be a difficult night to navigate for sports bettors.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Miami Dolphins (-3.5, 37.5)

* The kicking battle in Tampa Bay has yet to be decided. So look for all three kickers still on the roster – incumbent Patrick Murray, recently signed Connor Barth and rookie Kyle Brindza – to all get a shot at making some kicks Thursday.

* First-round draft pick wide receiver DeVante Parker has finally been cleared to practice for the first time since foot surgery in June and although Parker is not expected to suit up against the Bucs, a Week 1 return is still a possibility.

Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts (+2.5, 39)

* Keep an eye on backup quarterback A.J. McCarron. The former Alabama signal caller is getting rave reviews out of camp, with some sources in the Bengals coaching staff believing he can be a ‘quality starter’ in the NFL. Maybe the leash on Andy Dalton just got a little shorter.

* No big names will play – or possibly even dress – for the Colts Thursday. Andrew Luck, Frank Gore, Andre Johnson, T.Y. Hilton, Vontae Davis and other key players and vets are expected to sit this one out.

New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers (+1.5, 40)

* One of the jobs on the line in New Orleans is for that kicker spot. Dustin Hopkins and Zach Hocker are batting it out and, according to head coach Sean Payton, it’s neck and neck heading into the preseason finale. “I think it’s close. And it’ll be an important game for those guys,” said Payton.

* Scott Tolzien gets the start for the Packers Thursday evening. Tolzien has completed 21 of 35 passes for 209 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 96.0 passer rating.

Baltimore Ravens at Atlanta Falcons (-1, 39.5)

* If you thought NFL players and coaches didn’t care about W’s in the preseason, tell that to John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens. “I have to admit, I care, and our players care,” Harbaugh said to a sideline reporter when trailing 14-13 in Week 2. “And in the heat of battle and during the game, you want to win the game. You want to play well. You want to acquit yourself well as a group. And as far as the score goes, we didn’t do that in either game.” The Ravens are 1-2 SU and ATS in the preseason.

* Rex Grossman and Sean Renfree should see the bulk of the action as they battle for a job behind Matt Ryan and T.J. Yates Thursday. Grossman just joined the Falcons, but has worked with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in the past and Renfree hasn’t exactly fared well in the preseason.

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Jets (+5, 44)

* The Eagles continue to be a cash cow for Over bettors during the preseason campaign. The Over has gone 3-0 in Eagles’ games as the NFC East club and their opponents have combined for 46, 57 and 65 points in those three games. Furthermore, the Eagles are easily the league’s highest scoring team with 115 points.

* As of the time of writing, the Jets are the biggest home underdog on the board at +5. New York has gone 2-0 SU and ATS in their previous two preseason games, including a 30-22 win as 2.5-point faves at home versus Atlanta in Week 2.

Carolina Panthers at Pittsburgh Steelers (-1, 40)

* Rookie wide receiver Devin Funchess looks like he’ll play after missing the previous two games with a hamstring injury. The Michigan product is the frontrunner to take the No. 1 receiver spot now that Kelvin Benjamin is out and it’s time to see what he can do.

* Wide receiver will be interesting position to focus on Thursday. Tyler Murphy and Shakim Phillips will look to win that fifth wide receiver spot.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Washington Redskins (-4.5, 40)

* The Jags’ starters will get a drive or two in the preseason finale, according to head coach Gus Bradley. “I think we had 89 plays on offense [last week],” Bradley said. “The week before that the first team offense played like 35 plays. Overall plays we are at more than what we anticipated so I think that factors into how much they play in the last game.”

* Colt McCoy is expected to get the start for the Redskins in the finale and will probably play the entire game. McCoy’s been good in the preseason, completing 19 of 24 passes for 208 yards, three touchdowns and zero picks.

Buffalo Bills at Detroit Lions (-1, 38)

* The Bills are expected to rest all of their starters for their final preseason game. Matt Simms is expected to start at quarterback and could play the entire game.

* The Under has been red hot in Lions games, going 3-0 thus far. The Lions have scored 62 points and have allowed opponents to score just 41 – the second lowest in the league this preseason (Texans 37).

New York Giants at New England Patriots (-3, 40)

* The NFL’s first female referee will be on the field as the Giants visit the Pats Thursday. Sarah Thomas will be a line judge in Pete Morelli’s crew.

* There is a 45 percent possibility of thunderstorms at Gillette Stadium Thursday evening. Temperatures will be in the low-70s for that matchup with the Giants.

Cleveland Browns at Chicago Bears (-1, 38)

* Most starters and vets will sit this one out for the Browns. Among those not playing is quarterback Johnny Manziel, who is nursing an injured elbow in an effort to be ready for Week 1.

* There is a 25 percent possibility of thunderstorms in Chicago during gametime. Temperatures will be in the high-70s with wind blowing toward the southeast corner of Solider Field at around nine miles per hour.

Houston Texans at Dallas Cowboys (+4, 39)

* The Texans have had the stingiest defense in the preseason so far, allowing teams to score just 37 points in three games. The Under has gone 3-0 in the Texans’ three exhibition games.

* The lowest scoring team in the preseason? Why that would be the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas has managed just 27 points on offense through three games. The Over/Under clip in Cowboys’ games is 0-2-1.

Minnesota Vikings at Tennessee Titans (-2, 38.5)

* The Vikings have been the hot story for preseason bettors. Minnesota has posted a 4-0 SU and ATS record as they head into their fifth and final game. The team has covered against Pittsburgh (-3), Tampa Bay (-3.5), Oakland (-4) and Dallas (+2).

* Rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota is expected to start under center Thursday evening, but will likely just play one series before getting pulled.

Kansas City Chiefs at St. Louis Rams (-2.5, 39)

* Expect Chase Daniel to see most of the action for the Chiefs in their final preseason game. Daniel has competed 25 of 33 passes for 271 yards, four touchdown and zero interceptions during the preseason campaign.

* It is only the preseason after all, but the Rams have gone 0-6 SU and ATS in their last six meetings with the Chiefs, dating ll the way back to 1997.

Arizona Cardinals at Denver Broncos (-6, 38)

* Running back Chris Johnson will get the start in the Cardinals’ final preseason game Thursday. According to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, head coach Bruce Arians says that he wants the back to get 10-12 carries versus the Broncos. Rookie David Johnson is going to see a lot of action with Andre Ellington not playing.

* Broncos running back Montee Ball is fighting to make the roster. “It is tough because I feel like I really haven’t had the opportunities in these preseason games, but there’s still one more left and I feel like I’ll have some playing time in this one, and I’ll show them what I can do,” Ball said.

Oakland Raiders at Seattle Seahawks (-3.5, 38)

* Christian Ponder and Matt McGloin could be batting for the second and final quarterback spot on the Raiders roster and will play a lot in the finale Thursday.

* The Seahawks look to be the most backed team on the board Thursday, seeing roughly 67 percent of the support according to Covers Consensus.

San Diego Chargers at San Francisco 49ers (-3, 37)

* Though not expected to play Thursday, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is rallying the troops for a return to Levi’s Stadium for Super Bowl 50. “It’s the last preseason game, and maybe it will be [where] we play the last game of the year,” Rivers said.

* The Under has hit all three 49ers games during the preseason. The Niners and their opponents have combined to score an average of 31 points per game. The 37-point total is the lowest on the board Thursday.