The Daily Sweat: Mac Jones takes center stage for the Patriots vs. Eagles

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It's not the worst idea to bet on an NFL team in the preseason that has a quarterback controversy. You're going to go deep into the game with a starting-level quarterback, and often teams will leave in starting linemen and receivers to get a fair look at the second quarterback.

The New England Patriots have a quarterback controversy. 

Cam Newton, who struggled badly to throw the ball last season, has a challenge to keep the job. Rookie first-round pick Mac Jones completed 13-of-19 passes for 87 yards in the Patriots' first preseason game and looked generally competent. If he has a strong finish to the preseason, maybe Bill Belichick will start the regular season with him. 

Thursday night is a big one for the Patriots, as they take on the Philadelphia Eagles. The Patriots, coming off a win against Washington, are 1.5-point favorites at BetMGM over the Eagles in the only NFL game of the day. 

The Eagles don't have a quarterback controversy, but we'll likely see more of Jalen Hurts on Thursday. Hurts went 3-of-7 for 54 yards before Joe Flacco took over and played most of the game. The Eagles still have plenty of things to work on and even though Eagles coach Nick Sirianni hasn't revealed his plans for starters against New England, presumably they'd play a little more. 

I'd lean to the Eagles because I prefer preseason teams that haven't won yet and have a touch more urgency — as much as you can have in the NFL preseason — but most eyes will be on the Patriots. If Jones plays well again, the quarterback question will get a lot louder. 

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones is pushing to start this season. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones is pushing to start this season. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Here's the first look at Thursday's sports betting slate: 

What's going on in MLB? 

There's a healthy 10-game slate for a Thursday. Six of those games will be in the afternoon, including the Philadelphia Phillies, who have somehow lost the first two games of their series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Phillies have a soft schedule the rest of the way, but you actually have to win those games. The Phillies are -190 favorites, but it's hard to trust them. 

The other game of note in the afternoon is the Chicago White Sox taking on the Oakland A's. The White Sox have taken two of the first three in the series and are -165 favorites Thursday. Chicago feasts on lefties, and the A's will have lefty Cole Irvin on the hill. Perhaps parlaying them with the red-hot New York Yankees (-275 against the Minnesota Twins) will work. 

Who cashed tickets on Wednesday? 

St. Louis Cardinals bettors — and there were plenty backing Jack Flaherty on the mound as a small underdog — took a rough beat. The Milwaukee Brewers homered in the ninth to tie it, then won it during an error-filled 10th inning. The New York Yankees won their third in a row against the Boston Red Sox (and The Daily Sweat told you to back them all three games) as a slight favorite after surviving a wild ninth inning. 

Who's the best bet? 

The Colorado Rockies won as our best bet on Wednesday, beating the San Diego Padres and Jake Arrieta. There's not a lot of great games and it's tough to take a team on a losing streak, but I can't imagine the Houston Astros keep losing. They've lost four in a row, and are -165 favorites against the Kansas City Royals. Take the Astros, and get a little nervous for Houston fans if they lose yet again. 

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