Just because it's the preseason doesn't mean there aren't people that wager on NFL games. It may be a bit more unpredictable due to the huge presence of backups, but hey, maybe that is part of the allure to some. There's a fresh crop of NFL preseason games on Friday night, so let's take a look at the lines for each of them, courtesy of oddsshark.com.
Vikings (+3) at Bills, 7 p.m. ET
The Buffalo Bills opened a couple eyes on Sunday when they exploded for 44 points against the Colts in their preseason opener, and are a field goal favorite at home over the Minnesota Vikings on Friday night. Naturally, it's tough to get too worked up about a preseason game, but both the offense and defense showed a lot of promising signs. E.J. Manuel and the rest of the starters played up until halftime against Indianapolis, so we very well could see another long shift from them against the Vikings.
The Vikings are coming to Orchard Park with hopes to even their preseason record at 1-1 after dropping their opener to the Texans last week. Minnesota will probably continue to use Adrian Peterson sparingly, but they will want to improve upon their 296 yards of total offense from a week ago.
49ers (+1) at Chiefs, 8 p.m. ET
Alex Smith will get his first shot at his former team when the 49ers come east to face the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are in the midst of a regime change and roster overhaul, so it's unclear what exactly to expect out of them this year.
The 49ers, meanwhile, are a fairly known commodity. They made it all the way to the Super Bowl last year, and don't have the look of a fluke. San Francisco has weapons on offense, and a tough, mean defense that really knows how to hit. This would be an easy pick for the Niners if it were a regular season game, but with so many backups getting big minutes, it's tough to say.
Buccaneers (+3.5) at Patriots, 8 p.m. ET
The Patriots are over a field goal favorite for their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Friday night in Foxboro. The Pats looked good in their opener against the Eagles, rushing for well over 200 yards as a team, and the Bucs looked the opposite in a 44-16 loss to the Ravens. You don't see a lot of big preseason lines, but it's kind of surprising this line isn't bigger.
New England committed to running against Philadelphia, and LeGarrette Blount had over 100 yards rushing by himself. That may be part of their preseason strategy as part of keeping Tom Brady safe, but a Patriots team than can really run the ball down people's throats is not a promising thought for the rest of the league. We'll see if they can keep it up against Tampa Bay, who had the best rushing defense in the league last year (but also the worst passing defense).
I'm not entirely sure why the Saints are such big favorites over the Raiders for their matchup. Both teams won their preseason openers in somewhat pedestrian fashion, and it's a tough sell that the Saints are that much deeper than the Raiders.
There are a bunch of battles still playing out for the Raiders. Matt Flynn was brought in to be the starter, but there's a whole mess behind him between Terrelle Pryor, Matt McGloin and Tyler Wilson. They all have their issues, but one stepping up to become a clear second option would be helpful.
Quarterback is not an issue for the Saints, as Drew Brees is still the center of the organization. However, after slipping to a disappointing 7-9 record in 2012, some changes were necessary, especially on defense. They drafted safety Kenny Vaccaro in the first round to help shore up the secondary, but it remains to be seen how much improvement there will be this year.