How to Bet on the NFL Preason

How to bet on NFL Preseason Games

Always remember, money won on NFL preseason games counts just as much as money won on regular season games. If you are a high roller and dropping six figures on a game then preseason may not be for you as the books may limit betting. However, if you are betting less than five thousand on a game then preseason football may be a better bet than regular season games. When betting on sports you are not betting against the house but against other gamblers. Most preseason action is by diehard fans in Vegas to bet on their team. They think that it is just luck in the preseason and do very little research to back up their bets. This is your opportunity to find some key games to bet on. Be selective and build your bankroll for the regular season.

What good is the NFL preseason? Let me drag out the one that every gambler remembers. The 2008 Lions that went 0-16 were 4-0 in the preseason (and the 2005 Colts that started 14-0 were 0-4 in the preseason). So why play them? The owners love preseason games because the all players are all paid the same amount. Yep, just like the playoff games the owners get a big payday for these games so look for them to continue.

With that said, here is our advice to NFL Preseason betting.

  • Quarterback Rotation
  • Look ahead Game
  • Depth/Holdouts/Injures
  • Head Coach

Quarterback Rotation

One of the major goals of the preseason is to make sure that you have a QB who is ready when the NFL season starts. For teams with a top starter returning from last year the team will only need to play him a few reps to get his timing down. The backups become the primary betting option in this situation. Are the backups a bunch of journeymen or are they young talent that needs to be developed? I prefer the journeyman who has a bad reputation but seems to hang around each year. These guys are usually well schooled but lack the arm strength to be a starting NFL quarterback. In the preseason these journeymen can look like All Pros against free agent defensive backs.

Another thing to look for is how set is the number 2 quarterback on the roster? If the second stringer is coming back for another year then he might not get much playing time in the first game. The coaches will look at this as an opportunity to throw in a couple of guys they know they will cut just as an insurance policy if they need a quarterback later in the season. If a team has the starter and backup set in the first preseason game then you are likely to see some really bad quarterbacks play most of the game.

For some teams it is the opposite situation. They need to develop a quarterback as soon as possible and them only way to do that is to give him as much work as possible. Understand this, if the starting quarterback is going to play then the starting offensive linemen will play. You are not going to risk your top draft pick or free agent signing to a practice squad left tackle. Though the inexperience of the QB could lead to lots of mistakes having the first string offense go against another teams second/third string defense is still going to present some opportunities to score

Look ahead Game

From time to time a NFL team will play a preseason game against an opponent that they will see again in the regular season. In this case you can be all but certain that the coach will not use his real game plan. What they will do is play a more vanilla overall offense and defense. This does not mean there will not be a few wrinkles. The key for a head coach in this situation is to not show his primary game plan but he also needs to force the opposing coaches to spend time preparing for formations they will not see in the regular season rematch.

An example would be a team that is primarily a passing team. In the preseason game they would not only want to run more than in the regular season. They will also like to run more out of passing formations to force the defensive coordinator to prepare for that situation. In the preseason game look for the team offense to do the opposite of what you would expect in the regular season. On defense, a team will not show off their blitz packages and will generally stick with a basic coverage scheme.

Camp Holdouts and Injuries

Every year, there are star players who sit out preseason games in the NFL due to contract disputes while others suffer serious injuries that could keep them out a significant amount of time. Don’t overreact to these hold outs and injuries. If a top quarterback is injured and not likely to play in the first two preseason games it really doesn’t matter that much. He was not likely to play that much anyway if he was an established starter. The exception to this is the third preseason game. Teams traditionally will leave the starting units in to get a good look at how ready they are and if they need to work on anything in the fourth preseason game.

If there are several injuries to one position then this would be a time to take advantage of it. Lets say a team is down two or three defensive backs. A journeyman quarterback can really take advantage of playing against a bunch of guys who will be working as bouncers in a couple of months and stack up some great offensive numbers. In preseason games do not get to caught up in injured players who would not have played many reps anyway. What you want to look for is several injuries to one unit. Pay particular interest to the offensive line or defensive backs.

Head Coaches

In the regular season talent wins. In the NFL preseason the head coaching philosophy can trump talent. If a head coach has an interest in instilling a “winning attitude” then he will play his regulars against third stringers just to get the win. Some head coaches just want to get through preseason with no injuries and give some playing time to guys they made need later in the year. For them, they don’t care if they go 0-4 as long as the team is healthy.

The change in head coaches or the change in offensive/defensive coordinators usually means there will be a new playbook and a new strategy for the team. Look at Chip Kelly and what he meant to Philadelphia. His style of play meant more plays and more offensive opportunities for both his team and the opposition.

2016-2017 First year NFL Head Coaches

  • Hue Jackson (BROWNS)
  • Adam Gase (DOLPHINS)
  • Ben McAdoo (GIANTS)
  • Doug Pederson (EAGLES)
  • Chip Kelly (49ers)
  • Dirk Koetter (BUCCANEERS)
  • Mike Mularkey (TITANS)

The ATS and O/U NFL preseason records for each 2016-17 head coach:

Andy Reid3034239280
Ben McAdoo000000
Bill Belichick4036151340
Bill O’Brien440170
Bruce Arians741660
Chip Kelly7501020
Chuck Pagano790790
Dan Quinn220220
Dirk Koetter000000
Doug Pederson000000
Gary Kubiak2212223112
Gus Bradley660390
Hue Jackson220130
Jack Del Rio2117222180
Jason Garrett61405123
Jay Gruden530260
Jeff Fisher3740043331
Jim Caldwell11909110
Jim Tomsula040220
John Fox2728025291
John Harbaugh1913016160
Marvin Lewis2823125270
Mike McCarthy2019027120
Mike McCoy741570
Mike Mularkey000000
Mike Tomlin1621115220
Mike Zimmer720441
Pete Carroll2713122190
Rex Ryan141401990
Ron Rivera119010100
Sean Payton1916221142
Todd Bowles310220

A quick look Head Coach ATS Results

Lets look at the NFL Preseason spread betting records and see who stands out. Look at the over bets on Chip Kelly teams. He runs his hurry up offense in the preseason and that leads to a lot of scoring opportunities for both teams. During the preseason his QB’s are going to make a lot of mistakes that lead to turnovers or to some really quick three and outs. On the other side is Jason Garrett, he has an over/under record of just 5 and 12.

In side betting; take a look at Pete Carroll’s NFL preseason results with his 27 and 13 record against the spread. He is one of those Head Coaches who likes to have a winning attitude from day one. Hate to pick on Jason Garrett again but his ATS record in the preseason is just 6 and 14.