Knowing how each NFL head coach approaches the preseason is crucial for bettors at this time of year.
Some coaches play starters, some don't. Some care about winning preseason games, others couldn’t care less. I'll break down every NFL coach's preseason history below and pick out a few key trends to know.
Keep in mind this is the third season in which there are just three preseason games instead of four, so this year's Week 3 will act more like the traditional Week 4 from an NFL betting perspective:
NFL Head Coach Preseason Betting Records
|Coach||ATS Record||Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4|
The above chart is sorted by all-time preseason wins, so naturally the most experienced coaches rise to the top. But, diving into the preseason betting trends a bit further, here are some takeaways:
Baltimore's Harbaugh Is a Preseason Legend
Maybe it's Baltimore's depth? Maybe it's coaching? Maybe it's straight luck? Whatever it is, the Baltimore Ravens under John Harbaugh have been an absolute wagon during the NFL's preseason. They're 39-18 against the spread all-time and have lost just one game since 2015.
There are few people I trust more than John Harbaugh in the preseason, so take his record into consideration when betting on the NFL preseason this year.
Pete Carroll Turns It On Late
Nobody is close to matching Harbaugh's preseason success, but Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has his own trend to worry about. Carroll's Seattle squads become absolutely dominant as the preseason wears on. In Week 3/4 games under Carroll, the Seahawks are 20-8 against the spread.
What's helped the 'hawks, at least in recent years, is some position battles at key positions. The last few seasons Carroll has brought competitions down to the final week of the preseason (Geno Smith vs Drew Lock at QB, Rashaad Penny vs Alex Collins at RB, etc.). It's hard to tell if the Seahawks will have many of those battles this year, though, with Smith grabbing the QB job for sure, so I'd be a little hesitant to tail Carroll in preseason Week 3.
Fade The Saints Before The Season
Dennis Allen hasn't had much success as an NFL head coach. He's 18-47 across five seasons coaching the Raiders and Saints and that lack of success trickles into the preseason. Allen's squads don't have a winning record against the spread in a single preseason week. Overall, he's the worst ATS preseason coach with at least 15 games.