2017 HOF Game Betting Analysis & Free Pick

Are you ready for some football!? Gentlemen, August is upon us and that can only mean one thing: football is back, baby! The season kicks off with the annual Hall of Fame Game and this year we're being treated to the Cowboys and the Cardinals. Who will take this one and what's this season going to bring for both squads?

The Cowboys are coming off an incredibly impressive 13-3 season where they seemed invincible against the entire league, save for their Giant kryptonite out of New York. Ezekiel Elliott was the run-away Rookie of the Year and the only competition even close to him was his QB, Dakota Prescott. Elliott has had problems off the field all year (the euphemism 'handsy' comes to mind) but expect him to leave all that BS in the past and buckle down for his sophomore campaign. No one in the league should be surprised by him anymore; teams will be prepared. Zeke is the most important player on this team, bar none. Clearly, Elliott had the benefit of running behind the undisputed best offensive line in the league. Led by perennial Pro Bowlers Zack Martin, Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick, the offensive line was beefed up even more this off-season with the two-year contract extension of right tackle La'el Collins. And if opposing teams weren't terrified enough facing this line and Zeke, the Cowboys have depth with Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris taking 5-10 snaps a game between them. Simply put, this running game will be impossible to halt.

The major issue for the Cowboys this season will be discipline. Questions are still mounting over Elliott's 2016 domestic violence incident. This speaks to greater issues across the team. The Cowboys are, far and away, the team with the most issues with suspensions. They have not only the most in terms of the number of suspensions (15) but also total games suspended (100). Indeed, no other team even has 55 games lost to suspension. This should embarrass everyone in Cowboy Nation. You can't win if you can't play. Cowboys should win the division and possibly the conference, but don't expect them to make a deep playoff run.

The Cardinals are coming off a disappointing 2016 campaign where they just could never get a winning streak going, not to mention a pathetic 6-6 tie against Seattle at home. Injuries were a factor, they always are when a team underperforms, but that's no excuse for an elite coach like Bruce Arians. There's one major question heading into this season and that will be the health and fitness of journeyman QB Carson Palmer. Does Palmer have one last great season left in him? I like Palmer a lot, but he's never going to get a ring. If Palmer can't get it done, can the offense rely solely on a great RB like David Johnson? I'm seeing a mediocre five to seven win season.

So, the last question is who's going to win this game? Honestly, it's so early that you're going to need to check the starting rosters right up until game time. Flip a coin on the money line and the spread but I definitely like the Under for this one.