2023 Hall of Fame Game odds: Browns-Jets lines, predictions, picks

2023 Hall of Fame Game odds: Browns-Jets lines, predictions, picks

Updated Aug. 3, 2023 10:58 a.m. ET

Are you ready for some football?

The exhibition season is approaching, with the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Game between the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets set for Thursday night in Canton, Ohio.

This matchup marks the first college or NFL football game since the Super Bowl, and bettors are ready to get in some football wagers.

The Hall of Fame Game features Aaron Rodgers' debut in a different shade of green, so you can be sure both football fans and bettors will be tuned in. Even if he isn't suiting up, the Jets are still going to be a huge storyline this season due to the Hard Knocks + Rodgers factor.


Here's everything you need from a betting perspective on the Browns-Jets game, from the point spread, moneyline, total Over/Under and an expert's pick by FOX Sports NFL Analyst Geoff Schwartz.


Browns vs. Jets at Canton, Ohio (8 p.m. ET Thursday, NBC)

Point spread: Jets -1.5 (Jets favored to win by more than 1.5 points, otherwise Browns cover)
Moneyline: Jets -130 favorite to win (bet $10 to win $17.69 total); Browns +110 underdogs to win (bet $10 to win $21 total)
Total scoring over/under: 33.5 points scored by both teams combined

Pick via FOX Sports NFL Analyst Geoff Schwartz:

The first wagering opportunity of the new football season begins with the Hall of Fame Game between the Jets and Browns. Yes, it’s a preseason game. Yes, we wager on the preseason because there’s money to be made. Let’s discuss how we can win on Thursday.

There’s one way to wager on the NFL preseason and that’s betting on the coaches of each team. You can not wager based on individual matchups as we don’t know who is playing or for how long in each game. We can speculate, like assuming the Jets will play Zach Wilson for a handful of series or knowing the reports the Browns will give rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson an entire half of action. These reports can be wrong or change once a game starts – it’s not reliable. What is reliable is wagering on the teams who do not have offensive-minded head coaches.

Five of the eight current coaches who are over 50% against the spread (ATS) in the preseason are defensive/special teams head coaches. Some are a small sample size, like Bears coach Matt Eberflus who is 3-0, and others have years of a track record. You also have coaches like Seattle’s Pete Carroll, who is 61% against the spread in the preseason, or Buffalo coach Sean McDermott at 66.7%. And, of course, John Harbaugh, whose Ravens team has covered 20 of their last 23 games and 23-0 straight up (SU) in the preseason.

On the flip side, the bottom of the coaches' records against the spread list features six out of seven offensive coaches. That doesn’t include offensive coaches like Andy Reid and Mike McCarthy, who are both sitting at 47% against the spread. Packers coach Matt LaFleur is 33% against the spread and new Broncos coach Sean Payton is only 30% against the spread in his last 23 preseason games.

I’ve played for defensive coaches like John Fox and Leslie Frazier, and offensive coaches like Andy Reid and Jim Caldwell. All coaches want the same thing in the preseason – prepare the team for the regular season, but defensive coaches are more intense about it during the preseason. Defensive coaches want to win every single rep. They want to be physical, they want their team to hit and finish every rep, every game. 

With this mindset, they tend to keep the pedal down the entire game. Offensive coaches approach the preseason as an opportunity to prepare the offense for the season. They want to get their work in and call it a day. There are specific things they want the offense to work on in these games and when that’s accomplished it’s considered a win for the game. After preseason games, it seems defensive coaches harp on the results of the game while offensive coaches do not. Simply put, this is why defensive coaches fare better in the preseason.

In the Hall of Fame Game, we have a defensive-minded coach of the Jets – Robert Salah is 4-2 against the spread in the preseason while the Browns' offensive-minded Kevin Stefanski is 3-3. It's a small sample size for sure, but I feel comfortable in my assessment of motivation for each team.

The Jets have all this attention on them because of Aaron Rodgers and Salah is on the hot seat – he needs success this season. He will want to have his team ready to start fast and that includes being good in the preseason. The Browns, like the Jets, will not play their starters in this game, but reports say third-string quarterback Kellen Mond will start followed by UCLA rookie Thompson-Robinson. I don’t love that against the Jets defense who will be throwing everything at them in this game. So I’m taking the Jets to cover this game.

PICK: Jets (-1.5) to win by more than 1.5 points

Play FOX Super 6 every week for your chance to win thousands of dollars every week. Just download the Super 6 app and make your picks today!