The National Football League for many of us is like Christmas morning as a little kid. We wait patiently for it and then the anxiousness and anticipation grows and then boom! Football is back! When I saw the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins on the field for the Hall of Fame game, I was as giddy as a kid in the candy store.
Seeing the players on the field in their uniforms and hearing the sounds of football was enough for me to breathe deeply and smile. You know what the even better news is though? We get to relive this all over again in September when the season starts for real.
Oh, there is one more reason to be excited and that means the wagering. Betting preseason games though is not easy and requires some homework and a hell of a lot of luck because so many different guys are on the field. Here’s a couple of things to consider when wagering on NFL preseason games.
1. Know How Long the Starters Are Projected to Play – Let’s say you’re going to wager the Lions at Browns this weekend. Make it your business to know what the coaches have said in regards to how long the starters will play. Even though that can change, coaches usually stick to their original plans as closely as possible. What you must consider is do you like the starters on both sides of the ball better for Detroit or for Cleveland?
2. Take a Look at the Back-Up QBs – Once Matthew Stafford and Brandon Weeden have exited the game and exchanged their helmets for visors, it would help you tremendously to know who the back-ups are because they’ll get the bulk of the playing time. What you have to consider is what their level of talent is, are they veterans versus rookies or young guys and what kind of game success have they had in the past? Reviewing the back-up QBs in preseason wagering is vital to your success.
3. Look at the Injury Report – Just because a guy isn’t on the injury report doesn’t mean that he will ply much if at all. Rookie Le’veon Bell was scheduled all week to play last Saturday for the Steelers and then was listed as ‘out’ with a bum knee. Bell was already back practicing for the Steelers yesterday.
You’ll need to do your due diligence by checking team websites for any information regarding usual starters who may be sitting. Veteran players with a history of nagging injuries won’t see a whole lot of time in the preseason so you need to keep that in mind.
4. Point Spreads are Almost Useless – If you haven’t already noticed, most coaches hate going to overtime in the preseason. It prolongs games which in turn increases the chances of injury even if it’s just guys fighting for roster spots in the game at the end. What that means is that coaches will often forgo field goal opportunities they would normally settle for in the regular season and will go for it on fourth down.
It also means that if a game is close near the end a team scores a touchdown they have a much higher chance of going for two points if it means avoiding a tie. There are always some coaches who like the extra time to evaluate guys but by and large, coaches will avoid overtime like the plague.
Therefore, it’s really hard to determine what a good point spread is to play with and I recommend just going with outright winners.
Money can be made in the preseason but it will require just as much leg work as the regular season does.