NFL Preseason Betting
NFL Preseason betting, similar to the preseason or exhibition games of most of the major US-sports is an afterthought for most bettors. They wait until the regular season to begin wagering on the most popular sport in the country. From there, it’s a weekly pleasure up until the conclusion of the playoffs with the Super Bowl betting bonanza.
Are bettors making a mistake when they write off the preseason regarding betting opportunities? The evidence overwhelming points to yes. Several factors make NFL Preseason betting a viable market and one that bettors should consider throwing into their wagering rotation.
NFL Betting Sites For Preseason Game
NFL Preseason Betting – Low Wagering Limits
As discussed in our article on small market betting, when NFL betting sites have lower wagering limits on particular markets compared to others it shows a lack of confidence in their odds. There’s a reason a bookmaker might accept $20,000 bet on a regular season side or total and just $2,000 on the same markets in the preseason.
Remember, there’s only so much time oddsmakers can devote to each market. Many bets with lower maximum wagers, such as NFL proposition bets, generally move automatically once a specific betting limit is reached.
Believe it or not, the markets that the sportsbooks are the sharpest, by a large margin, are NFL side bets and totals. If you take a look at the wagering limits at just about any US-facing betting sites, the limits for sides and totals on NFL regular season games will dwarf just about any other sport.
A sportsbook’s confidence in their lines is directly related to the wagering limits. Their trust in NFL Preseason odds is much smaller in comparison. NFL betting sites move their lines to adjust to betting action but would like to do so as little as possible in relation to their opening number. Flurries of line movement indicate the original line wasn’t too sharp (or a serious change in information, such as crucial injuries or changing weather) and opens up sportsbooks to steam chasers and arbitrage players.
Significant Line Moves Are Common
Week by week, the NFL regular season follows much of the same script. Several top oddsmakers release their lines for the coming week after the late afternoon games on Sunday. They have a good barometer of how these games might play out and have already factored in notable injury concerns.
Barring significant changes in information or injuries, it’s very rare that NFL sides and totals move more than 3-4 points in either direction, in particular through critical numbers. 3-4 points is a massive line move, and it’s rare for a line to move that much during a week in the regular season. This isn’t the case when it comes to NFL preseason betting markets. Lines move much more often, and drastic movements on the point spread as large as 6-7 points are relatively common. The market is pretty dynamic as a whole.
Why NFL Lines Move?
Well, there’s a lot more questions about playing time, along with coaching motivations and strategy during the preseason compared to the regular season. Think about it, the plan for coaches during the regular season is simply to win the game and utilize the best players on his roster to do so. Sure, coaches may want to manage individual players’ reps some weeks, but the general strategy doesn’t change much in the regular season.
That’s not the case in the preseason. The games aren’t relevant in terms of standings and much of the preseason is managing starters’ reps while getting a look at younger guys trying to make the roster. Each coach has their philosophy when it comes to playing NFL preseason games. Some don’t mind losing if they get the looks at players they may want on the roster, and others take winning these exhibition contests a little more seriously.
Turning Information Into Betting Profits
Betting NFL preseason football is all about soaking up as much information as possible. Reading beat writers, watching the press conferences of coaches and keeping an eye on social media can help give bettors an edge before new data is adjusted into the line. Similar to our article on NBA propositions, sometimes the sportsbooks don’t have the manpower or the resources to beat bettors to the punch.It’s important not to follow the same line of thinking when it comes to the regular season. To learn more about pro football betting read our NFL Betting Guide.
Just because the Steelers may be a better team than the Browns in an ordinary regular season matchup, this fact is of little consequence in terms of preseason handicapping. Instead, the preseason is about factoring in playing time for starters versus reserves and getting inside coaches’ heads in terms of weekly motivation. First-year coaches may feel they have more to prove than more established coaches and may press harder to win games.
Some rest their starters with even minor ailments while others are more apt to let them play more through injuries. Keeping up with local beat writers and watching press conferences may not be possible for some with regular day jobs and packed schedules, but it does help if you can make the time. Following line movement and chasing steam is an excellent way to notch some profits in the preseason and beat the market without spending time intensely following each team.
Best NFL Coaches In Preseason Games
As mentioned above, coaching is important to consider when evaluating a coach’s or team’s intentions regarding the preseason. It is not always the case that a new or first-year coach will look to push his players harder in the preseason to get his tenure started off on a strong note, but it’s certainly a more plausible scenario than veteran teams and coaches pushing their players harder. Of course, preseason results have no correlation to regular season or Super Bowl success.
But, if new coaches are going to try “instill a culture of winning” or whatever that means, it’s something to consider when betting preseason games with new coaches. Andy Reid, who has had a long coaching career with the Eagles and now the Chiefs, is probably the only coach that we can get a meaningful sample size under two different franchises. Reid is a perennial winner in the regular season, but his sub .500, 36-40 record, during the preseason, shows that he’s not taking exhibition contests too seriously.
|Green Bay||Mike McCarthy||26||21|
|New England||Bill Belichick||40||34|
NFL Preseason Scheduling and Format
Each team plays four preseason games. Two at home and one on the road. The exception to this rule is the honorary, Hall of Fame game, where two teams face off in Canton, Ohio that kicks off the NFL preseason. Typically, in the first preseason game, usually no first-team players or starters will participate. The second game, they may play several drives or a quarter. In the third preseason game, it’s not uncommon for the starters to play 2-3 quarters. In the final, or fourth preseason game, the starters almost never play a single snap. Of course, these can vary depending on the coach, but this the general way that preseason games play out regarding playing time for the starters.
+EV Opportunities At NFL Betting Sites
There are plenty of +EV opportunities in the preseason, a market that, even some of the most avid NFL handicappers don’t even consider wagering. Sportsbetting sportsbook is a site to consider betting during the preseason. They have one of the best reputations in the offshore industry and are known for having soft markets but posting odds late. That’s the tradeoff, but one that is worth it in our minds. Deposit at Sportsbetting today for a 50% Bonus up to $1000 on your first deposit.
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Final Thoughts On NFL Preseason Betting
There are several advantages to betting the preseason. Most notably are the low wagering limits and the lack of confidence in the lines by most betting sites evidenced by their low limits. Another aspect of preseason betting is it offers familiarity with players and personnel. Watching backups and second string players will give you a much better barometer of how these players might impact the team if a starter goes down, especially when it comes to rookies or impact players who are nipping at the heels of one of the starters.
Having a deeper understanding of the personnel and system of each team will help you later in the season with handicapping. The third preseason game is as close to a regular season game as bettors will see during the preseason. Although we caution treating it as a regular season game from a handicapping perspective, it’s an excellent look at first-team offenses and defenses for an extended period.