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Why Bet NFL Preseason?

Casual NFL bettors everywhere ask the question every August: why bet on NFL preseason games when they don’t matter?

Well, son, in football everything matters. And in football betting, everything matters, especially when there are favorable lines and an edge to be gained.

So as the New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals prepare for the Hall of Fame Game Sunday, NFL odds are once again appearing at your favorite sportsbook. And the reasons why people bet NFL exhibition games become clear again, along with some tempting trends.

Coaches help handicap the games

Imagine a regular-season game where the coaches gather reporters and tell them the game plan, who’s going to start and which players will play how many series of downs. Oh, and these four guys are not going to play at all.

ADVERTISEMENT: The earliest NFL preseason odds (and usually the sharpest ones) are found at 5Dimes. Check it out before kickoff this weekend.

Because the preseason ‘doesn’t matter,’ coaches are working on certain things, sampling new players at new positions. Some veterans will play one series or maybe none at all. A rookie will play the entire first half at a position he never played in college.

When you find one coach stating that none of his regulars are playing and the other coach stating he will play most of his new free agent veterans for the first half, you have a money-making recipe. Follow the local newspapers and get the best handicapping advice possible – from the coaches and the players.

Coaching philosophies differ

Some coaches repeat the ‘doesn’t matter’ mantra and treat preseason games as glorified practices. Others want to win, regardless of the season.

A coach in his first year with the team may want to build positive momentum for the regular season. Andy Reid or Bill Parcells may be content to lose a few games, to play their cards closer to their chests and to rest veterans, knowing their tenure and long-term contracts keep critics at bay.

Watch for first-year coaches and pay attention to their pre-game quotes. Watch for rosters that have experienced the most personnel turnover as they may need to play veterans in order for the team to gel.

Chiefs are a lock to lose

They say there is no such thing as a lock or a sure bet in football and it’s true. But if you had placed 30 wagers against the Kansas City Chiefs over the past eight preseasons, you would have lost only four times.

Let’s say that again. In 30 games dating to the 2004 preseason, the Chiefs are 4-25-1 ATS. And one of those covers was their final game in 2011, when they lost but covered a 1.5-point spread against the Packers.

“It’s really an unprecedented run of ATS futility and it has covered the years when the Chiefs were contenders and now that they are pretenders,” said Mike Pickett.

The NFL schedule maker has tried to soften the blow in 2012, giving the Chiefs a preseason home opener against a team playing on four days of rest. The Cardinals play in the aforementioned Hall of Fame Game Sunday Aug. 5, then visit KC on the following Thursday, surely a game the Chiefs can win.

Kansas City Chiefs Preseason History

Date

9/1/2011 

Away
Kansas City

Home
Green Bay

Away
19

Home
20

Home
-1.5

Total
36.5

ATS
W

OU
O

8/26/2011 

St. Louis

Kansas City

14

10

1

35

L

U

8/19/2011 

Kansas City

Baltimore

13

31

-7

32

L

O

8/12/2011

Tampa Bay

Kansas City

25

0

1

32

L

U

9/2/2010 

Green Bay

Kansas City

13

17

-4

40

P

U

8/27/2010 

Philadelphia

Kansas City

20

17

1.5

39.5

L

U

8/21/2010 

Kansas City

Tampa Bay

15

20

-2

34

L

O

8/13/2010 

Kansas City

Atlanta

10

20

-2.5

34.5

L

U

9/3/2009 

Kansas City

St. Louis

9

17

-1

36

L

U

8/29/2009 

Seattle

Kansas City

14

10

-3

39.5

L

U

8/21/2009 

Kansas City

Minnesota

13

17

-2.5

37.5

L

U

8/15/2009 

Houston

Kansas City

16

10

-2.5

38

L

U

8/28/2008 

St. Louis

Kansas City

17

21

-5.5

34

L

O

8/23/2008 

Kansas City

Miami

0

24

-3

34

L

U

8/16/2008 

Arizona

Kansas City

27

17

-1.5

37.5

L

O

8/7/2008 

Kansas City

Chicago

24

20

-3

34

W

O

8/30/2007 

Kansas City

St. Louis

3

10

-3

36.5

L

U

8/23/2007 

New Orleans

Kansas City

30

7

-2

37

L

P

8/16/2007 

Miami

Kansas City

11

10

-3.5

33.5

L

U

8/11/2007 

Kansas City

Cleveland

12

16

-3

33

L

U

8/31/2006 

New Orleans

Kansas City

9

10

3

36.5

W

U

8/26/2006 

St. Louis

Kansas City

12

16

-3

38

W

U

8/17/2006 

Kansas City

NY Giants

0

17

-3

35

L

U

8/12/2006 

Kansas City

Houston

14

24

-3

35

L

O

9/2/2005 

Kansas City

St. Louis

23

27

-3

42.5

L

O

8/27/2005 

Seattle

Kansas City

23

17

-3.5

44

L

U

8/20/2005 

Arizona

Kansas City

24

17

-4.5

41.5

L

U

8/12/2005 

Kansas City

Minnesota

16

27

-3

41.5

L

O

9/2/2004 

Kansas City

Dallas

20

24

-2.5

39

L

O

8/28/2004 

Cleveland

Kansas City

21

19

-5.5

42

L

U

Holdouts

Players holding out for new contracts can create a sour mood within a team. It can also force players into different roles.

Pay more attention to holdouts on the offensive and defensive lines than at running back or wide receiver. Offensive talent is far easier to replace than reliable big men who protect the QB and set up the run game.

Again, coaches will tell you that Player X is not playing and Player Y will get to show his game.

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