2019 NFL Pre-Season

Betting the NFL Preseason in 2019

by Jeff Hochman

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 1st, 2019, the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons will kick-off the preseason at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. The game starts at 8:00 PM E and can be viewed on NBC.

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 sharps and squares a tremendous opportunity to make a lot of money. Here are my personal keys, stats, systems, angles, reasons, and teams to consider when betting NFL Preseason football in 2019.

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 (sometimes four-deep) at the skill positions have a decided advantage over a club that has a few stars that will be sitting after the first or second series. A perfect example of a team like that this season, is none other than the New Orleans Saints. Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater, Taysom Hill, and JT Barrett looks like a fearsome foursome. Even if Brees plays very little, the next three should give teams fits in August. Look for Hill & Barrett to have big preseason stats with their arms and legs, especially in the 3rd and 4th quarters. Don’t forget, the Saints have been running Sean Payton’s system for 12 years. On the flip side, the Cincinnati Bengals will break in a new head coach (see below), new offensive coordinator, and new defensive coordinator. Andy Dalton, Ryan Finley, Jeff Driskel, and Jacob Dolegala will be implementing a brand new offense. I think the Bengals will struggle on both sides of the ball for most of the preseason.

Quarterbacks and continuity 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 and/or fourth-string defense. The Saints have four very good options under Center. After going 3-1 SU and 3-1 ATS last preseason, they’re poised to have another winning preseason. Last year, the Saints got screwed in the playoffs. I would expect the Saints to play with a “chip” this preseason.


2) Experience


I don’t necessarily mean which team has the most grizzled veterans on it. In fact, experience can be a detriment. Most older players 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 handicapping coaches/systems. Organizations that haven’t experienced much turnaround have a significant advantage over those that are easing in a new brain trust. For example, New England has been running Josh McDaniels system since 2012. The Patriots are going to be much sharper than a team that is going through changes. Take the Denver Broncos for example. They are breaking in a new head coach (Vic Fangio), new offensive coordinator (Rich Scangarello), and new defensive coordinator (Ed Donatell). Keying on clubs that have familiarity & continuity, and finding teams that are much less comfortable with their new system is a big key when wagering on preseason games.


3) First-Year Head Coaches with new team (Full Season)


We have eight for the 2019-20 season in alphabetical order by team. First year head coaches can be tricky, but generally perform very well in their first August home game.They went 6-1 ATS in their first home game four years ago, 5-2 ATS three years ago, 4-1 ATS two seasons ago and 4-3 ATS last year. That adds up to a a bankrolling 19-7 ATS mark the last four preseasons combined! A lot of expectations are put on these guys coming in. They all want to show the Owner, General Manager, players, and fans that he is the right man for the job. Setting the tone early means playing to win in the preseason. I don’t recommend just blindly playing all these teams in their first home game!

Kliff Kingsbury  (Arizona Cardinals)

Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals)

Freddie Kitchens  (Cleveland Browns)

Vic Fangio  (Denver Broncos)

Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers)

Brian Flores (Miami Dolphins)

Adam Gase  (NY Jets)

Bruce Arians (Tampa Bay Bucs)

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 treats to the preseason as the regular season. That would be John Harabaugh of the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens are 13-0 ATS over the past three preseasons. His 33-12 ATS record in the preseason would have made you a small fortune. On the flip side, Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys clearly hates the preseason. He uses August basically to scout his younger guys and it shows. Dallas went 0-4 ATS last year. Garrett’s 12-21 ATS record in the NFL preseason is the worst active record in August with at least 20 games played. The oddsmakers are going to inflate the Cowboy’s opponent lines this August. Be careful! Keep an eye on the Seattle Seahawks this August. Pete Carroll has always played to win in the preseason, evident by a 22-14 ATS record. Seattle went 0-4 ATS last preseason. That was the first time Pete Carroll and the Seahawks never cashed at least one preseason game. I would expect Seattle to make bettors money this August.


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. I gave you three very good examples above that should hold true once again this upcoming preseason.

Each coach handles the preseason differently. Some put a premium on the second game. For some it’s the third or even the fourth. Some coaches just mess around and tinker with their lineups during the preseason and use it to evaluate their younger guys. 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 will be. All you have to do is a little research from the local beat writers.


6) Scheduling


The NFL 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 key players are a bit banged up then you can expect those guys to be watching in street clothes. Keep a close eye on how the players from the Broncos and Falcons come out of the Hall of Fame game. Also, NFL teams who play on the West Coast (with little to no humidity), and than travel to play a high humidity East Coast game. It would be wise to fade those West Coast teams, especially if installed as a favorite. This has worked extremely well over the past few years with the new OTA rules in place.

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 straight up over the last 12 years are 70-44 ATS in their very next game. Head Coaches, GM’s, and 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. Most undefeated teams will take that 0-2 team lightly, thus making those winless teams a smart play by the “Wise Guys”. If two 0-2 teams are playing each other, its a NO PLAY and that’s reflected in the record above.

Jeff’s #1 NFL Preseason Team to Play On in 2019

Seattle Seahawks. Pete Carroll has never had back-to-back losing preseasons. Seattle normally does very well in the preseason after losing in the playoffs the year before. Russell Wilson, Paxton Lynch, and Geno Smith all have fourth quarter experience. Lynch and Smith should have success going against 3rd and 4th string defenses.

Look for more Football articles in the coming weeks. Jeff was ranked No. 3 in the NFL last season, No. 3 in the 2017-18 NFL regular season, and No. 1 (tied) in the postseason at The Sports Monitor of OK, cashing just under 70%. Jeff has shown a profit in 7 straight football seasons, fully documented. Jeff is a 4x NFL Top 10 Handicapper. Early Bird Football and season packages are now available.

Good Luck this Football Season!

Jeff’s 2019 MLB Predictions and Awards


1) New York Yankees (97-65)

2) Boston Red Sox (89-73) WILD CARD

3) Tampa Bay Rays (85-77) WILD CARD

4) Toronto Blue Jays (76-86)

5) Baltimore Orioles (59-103)

AL Central

1) Cleveland Indians (97-65)

2) Minnesota Twins (82-80)

3) Chicago White Sox (73-89)

4) Kansas City Royals (68-94)

5) Detroit Tigers (66-96)


1) Houston Astros (97-65)

2) LA Angels (81-81)

3) Oakland A’s (79-83)

4) Seattle Mariners (78-84)

5) Texas Rangers (70-92)


1) Washington Nationals (92-70)

2) Philadelphia Phillies (90-72) WILD CARD

3) New York Mets (87-75)

4) Atlanta Braves (84-78)

5) Miami Marlins (67-95)

NL Central

1) St. Louis Cardinals (90-72)

2) Milwaukee Brewers (88-74) WILD CARD

3) Chicago Cubs (84-78)

4) Cincinnati Reds (81-81)

5) Pittsburgh Pirates (79-83)


1) Los Angeles Dodgers (95-67)

2) Colorado Rockies (85-77)

3) San Francisco Giants (80-82)

4) San Diego Padres (79-83)

5) Arizona D-bax (73-89)

AL Champion: New York Yankees

NL Champion: LA Dodgers

World Series winner: LA Dodgers in 7

AL MVP: Mike Trout (LA Angels)

NL MVP: Bryce Harper (Philadelphia)

AL CY Young: James Paxton (NY Yankees)

NL CY Young: Aaron Nola (Philly)

AL Rookie of the Year: Vladimir Guerrero Jr…….Easily! (Tor)

NL Rookie of the Year: Victor Robles (Wash)

AL Comeback player: Carlos Correa (Hou)

NL Comeback player: Corey Seager (LAD)

AL Manager of the Year: Kevin Cash (Tampa Bay)

NL Manager of the Year: Gabe Kapler (Philly)

Good Luck this baseball season!

Follow Jeff on Twitter @ jhsportsline

Top 5 MLB Left-handed Starting Pitchers age 27 or Younger

The elite left-handed starters have a big advantage just for the simple fact that most players see a lot more right-handed pitching. Look for teams that have not faced a Quality Left-handed starter for some time (five games or more) and you will have a nice winning investment. Here are my Top 5 Left-handed starting pitchers age 27 or younger going forward for the 2019 MLB season.

No. 1 Blake Snell (Tampa Bay Rays) Age: 26 (2018: 21-5, 1.89 ERA, 0.97 WHIP)

Blake was #2 on this list last season and he came thru by winning the AL Cy Young award. Not too shabby. Snell struckout 221 batters in only 180.2 innings last year. Blake Snell was the Minor League Player of the Year back in 2015, which goes to show you his skill-set is for real. Snell can reach the mid to upper 90s on the radar gun along with sharp sinking action. Very tough pitch to hit when he keeps it down in the zone. His Slider has shown tremendous break away from left-handed batters. His changeup is now considered to be well above average. Snell has 438 strikeouts in 399 career innings. Very impressive. Blake will be Rays’ opening day starter this season. The Rays play in a pitchers park. Tropicana Field was the 7th toughest (tied) stadium in runs according to ESPN park factors last season. Snell should be drafted as a dependable #1 starter this season.

No. 2 Sean Newcomb (Atlanta Braves) Age: 25 (2018: 12-9, 3.90 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)

Sean was #3 on this list last season. He started strong and than faded in the second half. He also spent some time on the DL. This will be his third season with the big club. Sean certainty looks the part standing 6′ 5″ and weighing 255 pounds. Sean Newcomb could be a nice sleeper this season after posting 160 strikeouts in 164 IP last year. He held opposing hitters to a .226 batting average. Sean will need to cut down on his walks (81) to become a dependable starter. Sean throws in the mid to upper 90s, but also has tremendous downward movement on his four-seamer. His curveball ranks higher than his changeup and there is room for improvement with both off-speed pitches. This guy has been compared to Chris Sale, who appeared on this list for 5 seasons before turning 27. That’s good enough for me. Mid round sleeper and potential breakout in his third season. He’s currently listed as the team’s 2nd starter. Huge upside!

No. 3 Robbie Ray (Arizona Diamondbacks) Age: 27 (2018: 6-2, 3.93 ERA, 1.35 WHIP)

This will be the final time Robby Ray appears on this list. Robbie spent a lot of time on the DL last season. I don’t think he was healthy all year. Robbie Ray had his best season of his young career in 2017. Ray posted a 15-5 record, 2.89 ERA, and 1.15 WHIP. He held opposing hitters to a .199 batting average in 28 starts. Ray is primed for a bounce back season even though the Dbax figure to take a step back. Robbie has 739 strikeouts in 616 career innings. Really good! Don’t hesitate to grab him as a solid #2 or #3 SP on your fantasy squad this year. Ray is currently being drafted in rounds 8-15. Great value. He’s currently listed as the team’s 3rd starter.

No. 4 Joey Lucchesi (San Diego Padres) Age: 25 (2018: 8-9, 4.08 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)

Joey is physically opposing on the bump standing 6″5. He should improve quite a bit in his sophomore season. Had 145 strikeouts in 130 IP. Joey held opposing hitters to a .228 batting average before the All-Star break and .280 after the break. He wore down in his rookie season, but has the skill set to be an ACE. Joey has a drop-and-drive delivery and extreme overhand arm slot, two opposing forces which creates an odd look for batters. His fastball sits in the low 90s, maybe touching 94 MPH at times. I would like to see more first pitch offspeed pitches this season. Players have been sitting on his fastball especially after the All-Star break. This guy has the potential to reach double-digit wins with lots of strikeouts. The Padres offense looks better with Manny Machado in the middle of it. Steal him in the mid rounds. He is listed as the team’s ACE. Should start opening day.

No. 5 Justus Sheffield (Seattle Mariners) Age: 22 (2018: 0-0, 10.13 ERA, 2.63 WHIP)

Might be #1 on this list in the very near future. The Mariners received Sheffield in the James Paxton trade to the Yankees. He is ranked #9 on Keith Law’s Top 20 Impact players for 2019. It’s easier for rookie pitchers to succeed over rookie hitters. Had 84 strikeouts in 88 innings with a 2.56 ERA and 1.16 WHIP for AAA Scranton last season. He has nothing left to prove in AAA, although the Mariners have him listed as the team’s 6th starter according MLB.com depth charts. You will love his Mid 90s fastball, mid 80s slider, low 80s changeup. All three pitches are elite. Great athlete and he can field his position. Keep an eye on Sheffield as we get closer to opening day. Justus should crack the Mariners’ rotation at some point this season. One of my top MLB starting pitcher sleepers for the 2019 season. Pitchers park alert. T-Mobile stadium ranked 4th toughest in runs scored last season according to MLB park factors. Low risk, high reward.

Jeff’s success in MLB is well-documented here, The Sports Monitor of OK and Sports Watch Monitor. Jeff was ranked #3 last season at TSM of OK. Early Bird MLB package is now available.

Good Luck this Baseball Season!

Written by expert handicapper Jeff Hochman of VegasTopDogs.

Jeff’s 2013-14 NHL Hockey Spotlight Teams

Jeff (JH-Sportsline) is now a 5-time NHL Handicapping champion documented by The Sports Monitor of OK. Jeff cashed 78.6% in last year’s NHL regular season and 70% in the Postseason. Do yourself a favor and jump on board the EARLY BIRD NHL FULL SEASON PACKAGE available at this website. You’ll be glad you did.


Jeff’s 2013-14 NHL Western Conference Spotlight Team: Dallas Stars

It will be hard to recognize the Dallas Stars in 2013-14 until they start playing. And that’s a good thing. New off-season additions (Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley, Sergei Gonchar, Ray Whitney, Chris Mueller, and Shawn Horcoff), new uniforms, new logo, a new GM (Jim Nill) and a new coach (Lindy Ruff) are sure to help this team improve on last season’s 22-22-4 record. Lindy Ruff had a lot of success in Buffalo from 1997-2013, and won the Jack Adams Award as NHL Coach of the Year in 2006. He went 571-432-78-84 (W/L/T/OL) in his time with the Sabres. Ruff’s team made the playoffs 8 out of the 15 seasons, reaching the Stanley Cup Finals back in 1998-99. He demands accountability and this is exactly what the Stars need right now.

The Stars are now very strong up the middle (which is typically a hallmark of deep playoff teams) and Gonchar will help on defense and the power play, where he skated 3:43 per game for Ottawa and led the team in power-play points (12) last season. Alex Chiasson was brought up at the tail end of last season. He had 6 goals in 7 games and adds nice depth at the end of the bench. This team will be much improved in all aspects of the game. If you’re a Dallas Stars fan, this will be a fun season for you. A team with playoff aspirations needs good goal-tending and the Stars have two good ones. Kari Lehtonen has a career 2.71 GAA and .914 save percentage and backup Dan Ellis has a 2.72 GAA and .908 save percentage in his career. You love Lehtonen’s size at 6’4, 220 lbs, and at 29 years young, he is in the prime of his career. The local beat writers were tough on Lehtonen last season and for good reason. He ranked last in GAA (2.66) and 19th in save percentage (.916). My eyes tell me he is much better than those stats and did play hurt more often than not last year. I expect his best season in goal as the team in front of him will be much improved.

The defense will be improved enough to win more close games this season. If the Stars suffer any major injury on their blue-line, they could be in trouble without much depth there. This will be a motivated team on a mission to make the playoffs in 2013-14. Expect the Stars to get their first playoff berth since losing to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings during the 2008-09 Western Conference finals.

Jeff’s 2013-14 Prediction: 43-29-10 (96 points, 8th seed out West)


Jeff’s 2013-14 NHL Eastern Conference Spotlight Team: Columbus Blue Jackets

Led by Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky, the Blue Jackets shook off a brutal start that cost general manager Scott Howson his job and produced their best winning percentage in franchise history (.573), turning in the second-best record in the NHL (19-5-4) over March and April. The late-season heroics saw them finish tied for eighth in the Western Conference, but it wasn’t enough as they lost a tiebreaker to the Minnesota Wild and once again finished out of the playoffs. With their move to the newly re-figured Eastern Conference, many fans in Columbus are overjoyed that nearly half of their games no longer start after 8:30 pm local time. The club’s near-miss of the postseason generated excitement in the city that has been missing for a few years. But with a strong historical record against Eastern Conference teams, the Blue Jackets are set up well to make the playoffs in 2013-14. Columbus is 44-26-12 since 2007 and have gone 20-8-1 against Eastern Conference teams with a winning record.

The defense is young but don’t let that fool you. Led by Fedor Tyutin, one of the team’s longest tenured players, he is expected to pair with fellow Russian Nikita Nikitin, who has quietly built a reputation for being a strong possession blue-liner. Sergei Bobrovsky had a terrific season in goal for the Blue Jackets last season going 21-11-6 with a 2.00 GAA and .932 save percentage. His career numbers are impressive too with a 63-34-16 record, 2.49 GAA and .917 save percentage. Behind Bobrovsky will be journeyman backup Curtis McElhinney, who spent last season as the starter for Columbus’ AHL affiliate Springfield Falcons, where he set several AHL and team records for shutouts and save percentage during the 2012-2013 season. I love this team’s defense as they tend to suffocate their opposition.

The Blue Jackets were 25th in goals scored per game last season and their power play ranked a miserable 28th. Improving the offense with the goal of taking pressure off Bobrovsky and defense will be a main priority during camp. To that end, Kekalainen is looking for a number of players to take a bigger bite of the offensive pie, including Cam Atkinson and Matt Calvert, who combined for 18 goals last season. R.J. Umberger, is also being counted on to chip in more offensively. The addition of Nathan Horton promises to add a big bodied scorer who is willing to work into the “hard areas” of the ice, but the need for off season shoulder surgery means he will be unable to contribute until late November at the earliest. The games are slower in the East and that sets up very well for this team in 2013-14. Look for the offense to be much better than No. 25 and the defense to remain quite good.

Jeff’s 2013-14 Prediction: 42-32-8 (92 points, 7th seed in the EAST)

Written by Jeff Hochman of VegasTopDogs.com