Today's Top Picks: Thursday night NFL preseason offers several good opps to make some coin

We are getting close to the NFL's regular season. You're probably sitting around, thinking about your fantasy draft and wondering if there's a way for you to donate money to get great fantasy advice. Good news, you're in luck! 

Over on CBS Sports HQ, we've got our second annual Fantasy Football Today Telethon underway, with all proceeds going to benefit St. Jude's. You can watch and get the info to donate and get great fantasy advice.

But let's go one step further and make you some money to donate by targeting a couple preseason games. (Also, if you've been riding these Thursday picks, you're up money on the season, so feel free to throw some of that cash in the direction of St. Jude's for the karmic boost.) Below I've got a trio of games I like, with two of them coming tonight and one more coming on Saturday. Let's go get it. 

Falcons/Redskins under 41

Atlanta hasn't been the offensive behemoth everyone expects over the first three matchups of the preseason, mustering more than 20 points just once so far. In Week 2, Matt Ryan was hammered by the Jets defense, getting sacked three times. The Falcons gave up five total sacks and have now given up 10 across three games along with 30 (!) quarterback hurries. The Redskins biggest strength is their defense and they should be able to put some pressure on Ryan. Dan Quinn might be worried about putting up points, but he should be more worried about making sure Matt Ryan is healthy. Washington shouldn't be able to move the ball too effectively, even against a questionable Falcons defense, so I'll go low here and hope for an early clunker and lots of backups coming in to play late. 

Ravens (-5) vs. Eagles

Philly has shown a willingness to keep Carson Wentz off the field in the preseason, with the Eagles starter not having taken a snap yet leading up to the season. He was praised by Earl Thomas for being "elite" when the Ravens safety discussed things following joint practices but there's no telling if Doug Pederson will risk Wentz's health by putting him out there. If he doesn't, it'll be the Josh McCown and Cody Kessler show. I'm willing to lay the points here with John Harbaugh's pristine preseason record on the other side of the ball, and I think this line could shoot up if Wentz is definitely ruled out. The Eagles lost 5-0 (!) to the Browns in Week 3 last year, so it's not as if Pederson cares what happens in this game. Harbaugh last lost a Week 3 preseason game in 2015 and the Ravens were up 13-0 midway through the second quarter in that one before Kirk Cousins went ham for the Redskins. 

Cardinals +6.5 at Vikings (Saturday)

Thus far we have seen NOTHING from the Cardinals that would entice you to wager on them. But I think there's been a little pushback on Arizona's vanilla approach internally because the verbiage from Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury has been extremely different this week. Prior to Week 1 and Week 2, they said they were going to keep things basic and simple. But now Kyler and Kliff are talking about throwing "wrinkles" into the gameplan and doing more than "the same five plays." In other words, it was really embarrassing for them to be kicked around by a bad Raiders team on national television with their rookie quarterback botching snap after snap with his claps and cadence. The Cardinals need a good effort here against Minnesota -- all the enthusiasm for this season might get sucked out of the building before it begins if they don't manage to put up some points against the Vikings. I don't anticipate that we'll see more than a half from Kirk Cousins, so if the Cardinals can hang with the starters, they should be able to steal one late. Six points is just too much for a team looking to put on a show.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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