So you want to bet NFL preseason football, do you?
Steering bettors away from the NFL’s unpredictable exhibition schedule is like trying to convince high school kids to wait until marriage, if you know what we mean. You aren’t going to convince them otherwise so you might as well preach about safe sex - or in this case safe betting habits.
Truth be told, there's plenty of value hiding in the exhibition odds, but it takes work to find it and flip it financially.
We break down the best ways to handicap the NFL preseason slate and hope you don’t lose your shirt – and pants – by the time Week 1 rolls around:
Read everythingThe great thing about the NFL preseason is that sports betting sites and bettors are on the same level. Coaches don’t reveal their plans until usually the day before a game, and by that time odds have been up for a while. If you catch an online presser or read a quote from a coach spilling the beans on his starters’ playing time, you can quickly get down before the lines adjust.
Research is everything for preseason capping. Find out how many snaps the first teamers will get, what the focal point of the offseason is – offense or defense – and wager accordingly. Also, keep an eye on camp injuries or how veteran players are treating the tune-up games. Some star players go through the motions in August and ones limited by injuries won't risk going all out before the real games start.
A team that is trying to establish some momentum on the ground will likely run the ball a lot – therefore keeping the clock ticking and the final score Under the total. If a team is trying to fill roster spots in the secondary and is plugging in rookies and inexperienced player in its pass defense, than perhaps look at the other team to air it out and exploit those weaknesses.
Bucs-Saints game among handful of big movers on NFL Week 1 slateJul 12, 2018 |
By: Patrick Everson
Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston will serve a three-game suspension to start the season, prompting sportsbooks to respond accordingly with the Week 1 line against the Saints.
Covers checks in on action and line movement for a few games, with insights from Chris Andrews, sportsbook director at the South Point in Las Vegas; Will Bernanke, lead analyst for CG analytics in Vegas; and D.J. Fields, odds consultant for offshore sportsbook Bookmaker.eu.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints – Open: -7; Move: -8.5
Offseason and off-the-field issues are things NFL teams can never plan for, but they inevitably have an effect on the point spread, and that’s certainly the case with Tampa Bay. On June 28, the NFL suspended Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston for the first three games of the season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, stemming from a 2016 incident with an Uber driver. The Bucs are coming off a 5-11 SU campaign (6-9-1 ATS) and will have Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm for Weeks 1-3.
New Orleans was on the cusp of a berth in the NFC title game last season, losing to Minnesota in the divisional playoff round on one of the more miraculous – or poorly defended – plays in postseason history. The Saints finished 12-6 SU and 10-8 ATS.
“We opened Saints -7 and actually had a little early play on the Bucs,” Andrews said, noting the South Point’s Week 1 lines have been up for nearly three months. “Then Winston went out, and I made the Saints -8.5. Since that time, we’ve really seen no action, but I see a lot higher numbers – 9.5 at some places. I think Fitzpatrick is pretty good. He’s a veteran quarterback, not great but not bad, only a point-and-a-half worse. I’m gonna take a bet before I move it.”
At CG Technology books, including at The Cosmopolitan and Venetian on the Vegas Strip, the move has been much more pronounced, shooting to Saints -9.5 after opening at 7.
“Action is fairly even on account, while 82 percent of over-the-counter money is on New Orleans,” Bernanke said. “Sharps may be waiting for 10, and the public is sold on the Saints.”
Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles – Open: -4; Move: -5; Move: -4.5; Move: -5; Move: -4.5; Move: -4Defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia kicks off the NFL season in the Thursday nighter on Sept. 6. Quarterback Nick Foles guided the Eagles through the playoffs, including the upset of New England in the championship game, after Carson Wentz led the squad all year long before a late-season knee injury. Wentz is expected to be ready for Week 1 for a team that went 16-3 SU and 13-6 ATS in 2017-18.
Atlanta won the NFC title two years ago and seemingly had the Super Bowl in hand before imploding against New England to lose in overtime. The Falcons went 11-7 SU/8-10 ATS last season, reaching the divisional playoff round before losing at Philadelphia.
“The action has been surprisingly one-sided in favor of the Falcons,” Fields said of wagering at Bookmaker.eu. “The Eagles were as high as 5-point favorites, but have been adjusted down to -4 as we search for some Philly money. You can't worry about Week 1 liability in July, but currently, 80 percent of the money is on the Falcons.”
The South Point also opened at -4 and dipped down a tick. “We’ve got some very big play on Atlanta, so we’re down to 3.5,” Andrews said. “One of our big customers put a substantial bet on the ‘dog.”
Los Angeles Rams at Oakland Raiders – Open: +1.5; Move: +2.5; Move: +3
Jared Goff and Los Angeles had a breakout season in 2017-18, winning the NFC West while going 11-6 SU (9-8 ATS). The Rams nabbed a home game in the wild-card round, but lost to Atlanta.
Oakland went a dismal 6-10 SU and 5-9-2 ATS last year, and is hoping to rebound to its form of two years ago, when the Raiders were 12-4 SU and 10-6 ATS. That season got derailed late when QB Derek Carr suffered a broken leg.
“That line went from Rams -1.5 to -3, with business,” Andrews said of action on Week 1’s final game, the back end of a Monday night doubleheader Sept. 10. “A lot of sharp guys think the Raiders will be average, and the Rams took a big step up last year and could take another step this year.”
CG books also moved L.A. from -1.5 to -3, with Bernanke saying 93 percent of all pointspread dollars are on the Rams.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns – Open: +7; Move: +6.5; Move: +6
Pittsburgh is coming off a stout 13-3 SU regular season (7-9 ATS), landing a first-round playoff bye that it subsequently squelched. The Steelers tumbled at home to upstart Jacksonville in the divisional round.
Cleveland has lured in plenty of sharp action the past two seasons, yet has a beyond-abysmal record of 1-31 SU and 7-24-1 ATS. In fact, the Browns didn’t win a single game on the field in 2017-18, while going 4-12 ATS.