Betting the NFL Preseason in 2012

by Jeff Hochman of
The Hall of Fame Game is the first NFL preseason game of the year, which closes the annual hall of fame enshrinement festivities. On August 5th, 2012, the Arizona Cardinals will meet the New Orleans Saints.
You will hear people say Don’t bet on NFL Preseason Football. Big Mistake! It’s actually easier than capping the regular season. In most cases you can read ahead of time the exact game plan for each team. I feel the NFL preseason is a great opportunity to start and build a nice bankroll for the upcoming regular season.
Many handicappers have the opinion that the preseason games should be left alone and not bet on. I feel just the opposite. If you do your homework the preseason offers the betting public a tremendous chance to make a ton of money. Here are some things to consider when betting NFL Preseason football.
1) Depth
This one is obvious. Jo public gets so worked up about the starters and skill position players on certain teams during the regular season. But they’re the same in the preseason. Teams that can go two- and three-deep at the skill positions have a decided advantage over a club that has a few stars that will be sitting after the first series. A perfect example of that is a team like the Dallas Cowboys, who will have Tony Romo, Kyle Orton, and Stephen McGee. All three QB’s have NFL game experience and have a large advantage over a club like Green Bay, who has a solid #1 in Aaron Rogers but a shakey #2 in Graham Harrell and #3 B.J. Coleman. Another team that will sport three solid QB’s this preseason are the Chicago Bears with Jay Cutler, Jason Campbell, and Josh McCown.
Quarterbacks are key. NFL Preseason wagers, just like those during the Regular Season, often come down to the last eight minutes of a game. So find teams that have solid depth at QB and/or has some experience or success in the league. They’ll have a tremendous advantage in the closing moments of a game against a third or fourth-string defense.

2) Experience
I don’t necessarily mean which team has the most grizzled veterans on it. In fact, in that category experience can be a detriment. Most Vets hate preseason games. And teams that have established players in certain positions or roles will often see those guys mail it in during the preseason because they know the games are “meaningless” and already have their “jobs” locked up.
However, experience is a key factor when it comes to coaching systems. Organizations that haven’t experienced much turnaround have a significant advantage over those that are easing in a new brain trust. For example, Philadelphia has been running Andy Reid’s system for years. They’re going to be much sharper than a team that is changing offenses. Take the Colts for example. They are breaking in a new head coach and new QB. Keying on clubs that have familiarity and continuity, and finding clubs that are much less comfortable with their new systems, is a big key for betting on the preseason.
3) First-Year Head Coaches with new team (Full Season)
We have 4 for the 2012-13 season. First year head coaches can be tricky but generally perform very well in August home games. A lot of expectations are put on these guys coming in. They want to show the Owner, General Manager, and fans that he is the right man for the job. Setting the tone early means playing to win in the preseason.
Miami Dolphins: Joe Philben
IND Colts: Chuck Pagano
Tampa Bay Bucs: Greg Schiano
Kansas City Chiefs: Romeo Crennel

4) Competition/Philosophy
If you know how head coaches were raised and what their philosophies are than you will have a big advantage this August. I know all the personalities/traits of every single HC in the NFL which helps me beat the books in August. I will give you one HC that preaches competition from his players down to the ball boy. That would be Pete Carroll of the Seahawks. His philosophy at USC was to create competition along with a winning attitude. He did this early and often and you can expect Seattle to have a great NFL Preseason.
5) Motivation
If you watched the NFL for any number of years you should know that not every Head Coach cares about winning in the NFL Preseason. Different HC’s have different agendas when playing August Football and they all pretty much stick to their beliefs.
Each coach handles the preseason differently. Some put a premium on the second game. For some it’s the third. Some coaches just mess around and tinker with their lineups during the Fake Games. But here’s the key – and this is a big difference between the regular season and preseason football – most coaches are forthright about what the game plan is.
6) Scheduling
The preseason schedule generally isn’t too taxing on the teams and players. But there are quirks. The two teams that play the Hall of Fame Game are a good bet to fade in their next game. If some people are a bit banged up then you can expect the teams to nurse the wounded in that second game. Also, one favorite angle for bettors is based on the belief that a team that’s entering its second exhibition game against a team playing its first has a tremendous edge because they’ve gotten a lot of the rust and jitters out.

7) Steve Spagnuolo is Money (St. Louis Rams)
Steve is 10-2 SU and 9-3 ATS in all NFL Preseason games as a head coach!
Jeff’s NFL Preseason system to consider
If you are looking for a very solid system/angle in the NFL preseason here is one to consider this year. Teams that begin 0-2 over the last ten years are 50-31 against-the-spread in their very next game. If the team is at home they are Head Coaches/owners tend to get very nervous when they get off to a bad start even in the preseason, and they have their team ready for that third game.
Look for more Football articles in the coming weeks. Early Bird Football packages are now on sale.

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