Admittedly, I never pay much attention to the NFL preseason because nearly everything about it and the related NFL betting odds are often skewed up. Rookies are overhyped, free agents are overrated and preseason trainings are exaggerated. And as far as on-field rosters are concerned, you never know who will be playing and how long they will be on the field, or what strategies and playbooks will be used on the field. Meanwhile, the oft-forgetful NFL fans easily fail to remember how bad their team was last season—or has been for the past decade—and somehow fool themselves into believing that their team will ace all tests in the preseason, when the betting reality on the ground says otherwise.
Is it Worth Betting on the NFL Preseason?
But even with all that, I won’t lie to you that I don’t enjoy the NFL preseason and the games because I actually do love it all. The hype, the preseason NFL betting, watching the new rookies take to the filed, seeing the vets do their thing and getting a taste of the some long-standing rivalries; I love it ALL! And going by the quick read below, you should probably start thinking of enjoying the NFL preseason and the bevy of bets that come with it rather than just complaining about how futile an exercise it is…
A Good Number of People Bet on the NFL Preseason
Contrary to popular opinion, quite a number of bettors wager on the preseason games. Yes, the NFL betting action isn’t as high as it usually is during the season, but there is usually meaningful action witnessed in the NFL lines both from a bookie and bettor’s standpoint. I mean, after going nearly 30 weekends without a single football game, the starvation for anything football related is usually real. And if you are a real football aficionado, the temptation is often too hard to resist, no wonder people like me—and many others out there—find themselves betting.
As a point of caution, though, the shifty nature of the games and player-lineups can make it difficult for you to nail down your predictions. You therefore have to find the right strategies if you want to ensure success in your preseason NFL picks. Below are some worthy considerations regarding how to bet on NFL preseason games.
Handicapping NFL Preseason Games
Team Motivation: Teams that enter the preseason with a lot to prove often fight the strongest to win games. These are mostly underperforming teams from the previous seasons or those with new coaches that are dying to prove that they want to do well in the new season.
Coaching Philosophy: Speaking of new coaches, joining a new team means fans will be begging for blood right from the preseason, meaning all the first games (including the NFL preseason games) are taken seriously and used to judge the coaches. Teams led by such coaches will want to take games seriously and compete better to win games than their opponents. Still on coaching, certain NFL coaches traditionally take the preseason games seriously while other don’t. New England’s Bill Belichick, for example, rarely takes the NFL preseason seriously and doesn’t care whether the Patriots win or not. Seattle’s Pete Carroll, on the other hand, views the preseason as being very important in terms of preparing his players for the new season, a key reason why he owns the NFL’s best lifetime ATS record.
Roster Spot Fights: Teams with several players jockeying for roster spot means that the concerned players will be playing for the lives, something that acts as big motivation factor for success and excellence during the preseason games.
Moneyline vs. Point Spread Betting: Typically, the point spreads in the preseason games are much shorter than during the regular season. And more often than not, the point spreads rarely factor much into the games. As a general rule, therefore, focus more on picking the winner rather than trying to figure out point spreads.
Injuries and Betting Trends: As always, injuries and betting trends play an important role in handicapping games, but don’t read much into such in the preseason. Instead, keep your focus on the players expected to play in the games and do your handicapping based on that.
Is it Worth Betting on the Preseason?
Based on the analysis given above, is it worth wagering on the preseason games? Well, yes and no, depending on the surrounding circumstance. If the odds look right and the factors are okay, then there are several reasons you should give it a try. This should especially be encouraged if the team has a good quarterback and team depth, and the location of the game favors the team you pick. If not, then keep away from the game. In the end, the preseason is about players getting conditioned for the regular season, so don’t take it too seriously to the point of betting big on the games because nothing can be guaranteed about winning. Keep your bankroll light and have fun with your bets.