Betting the NFL Preseason in 2015
by Jeff Hochman of VegasTopDogs.com
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 9th, 2015, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings will get the ball rolling.
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 lot of money. Here are some key factors to consider when betting NFL Preseason football in 2015.
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 or second series. A perfect example of that is a team like the Philadelphia Eagles, who will have Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley, and possibly Tim Tebow. All four QB’s have NFL game experience and have a distinct advantage over a club like Detroit, who has a solid #1 in Matthew Stafford but a shakey #2 in Kellen Moore and #3 Dan Orlovsky. Orlovsky hasn’t thrown a pass since 2012. Another team that will sport three solid QB’s this preseason are the Dallas Cowboys with a healthy Tony Romo, Brandon Weeden, and Dustin Vaughan. The Cowboys are very high on Vaughan’s skill level.
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.
I don’t necessarily mean which team has the most grizzled veterans on it. In fact, 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, New England has been running Bill Belichick’s system for many years. They’re going to be much sharper than a team that is changing offenses. Take the Cleveland Browns for example. They are breaking in a rookie offensive coordinator in John DeFilippo. There is going to be a major adjustment period for the Browns this August. Keying on clubs that have familiarity & continuity, and finding clubs that are much less comfortable with their new systems is a big key when wagering on preseason games.
3) First-Year Head Coaches with new team (Full Season)
We have seven for the 2015-16 season. First year head coaches can be tricky but generally perform very well in their first August home game. 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.
Atlanta Falcons: Dan Quinn
Buffalo Bills: Rex Ryan
Oakland Raiders: Jack Del Rio
Chicago Bears: John Fox
Denver Broncos: Gary Kubiak
San Francisco 49ers: Jim Tomsula
NY Jets: Todd Bowles
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. That has continued since moving to the NFL. Pete Carroll is 25-11 ATS in his career when playing in August. On the flip side, Ken Whisenhunt uses the preseason to scout his younger players. His 9-19 ATS career preseason record is very telling.
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 two very good examples above that should hold true once again this upcoming season.
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.
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 players are a bit banged up then you can expect those guys to be watching in street clothes. Keep an a close watch on how the players from the Steelers and Vikings come out of the Hall of Fame game.
7) 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 SU over the last ten years are 49-32 against-the-spread in their very next game. 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. Most teams will take that 0-2 team lightly, thus making those winless teams a smart play by the Wise Guys.
Look for more Football articles in the coming weeks. Jeff was ranked No. 2 in the NFL last season at The Sports Monitor of OK, cashing just under 70%. Early Bird Football packages are now on sale.
Jeff Hochman of VegasTopDogs.