Unlike other sports where there is very little appetite for betting on exhibition games, NFL preseason betting remains a big part of a football handicapper’s regime.
Since the NFL is king among sports bettors, even the exhibition schedule attracts fan interest. The fact that there is significant money to be made for bettors who pay attention to free agency, training camps and holdouts have bolstered its appeal in recent years.
So after a lengthy 4-month lockout, we head to a 4-week NFL preseason betting schedule that offers plenty of intrigue. But the real question is: can you really handicap games where the outcomes don’t seem to matter and don’t count in the standings? [ NFL Preseason Odds ]
The answer is an emphatic ‘yes’ with dollar signs all around it for good measure.
Not all coaches are created equal when it comes to their approach around preseason games. Some want to win, regardless of the situation. Their records typically bear this out as preseason winners. But others treat the exhibition schedule as training camp and practice.
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Other new coaches may seek to establish a winning culture right off the bat. Others may tell you in advance that they don’t care about winning, so long as Player XYZ plays well in a backup role.
Long story short, there are different motivations for coaches, depending on their teams, depending on whether they are new or incumbents. Pay attention to the coaches and you’ll find wagering edges.
Here’s our game plan....
Remember a time during the regular season when the head coach will sit down with the media and tell him his game plan? Of course not. That’s part of the coaching strategy. But in preseason NFL betting, you can often hear exactly how long the starters will play, how much the star QB will play (if any) and how long the backup offensive lineman will play.
Use this information against what you learned from the opposing team’s game plan and you have the best handicapping data you will ever have. Use it wisely.
DeSean Jackson just returned from a mini-holdout with the Eagles this week but would his absence have affected the point spread this week? Maybe not. But perhaps it would have sent a negative vibe through the locker room. Maybe a holdout or injury situation opens the door for a backup to earn a roster spot, which amps up his motivation for the game.
Pay attention to training camp news and reviews and watch the injury ticker as well.
There are plenty of reasons as a fan to ignore preseason football. There are plenty of reasons to watch preseason football for bettors.