Handicapping the NFL Preseason


Preseason football is a mere two weeks away. The month of August will feature a gamut of games. With that comes the lure of point spreads. The NFL is probably the toughest to handicap on a week to week basis. But some find the preseason easier to handicap. I find that odd as playing time is unpredictable and point spreads can often come down to third stringers.

The best comparison of this would be the NBA Summer League. Point spreads have been available for the summer league for a good three years now. Often times the point spreads are set with a low variance between -1 to -5. Rosters shuffle each game whether it’s profiled rookies or second year players seeing reduced playing time, or proper evaluation by the coaching staff.

In preseason football you obviously have a higher job security basement for on field players. Besides the third preseason game, playing time from the 1st quarter onward is for players vying for backup or roster depth positions.

My advice in handicapping preseason football is similar to the regular season. Avoid the “easy” plays. People tend to believe a line movement in football indicates sharp money. Often times it’s the trap play that ends with a fourth quarter backdoor situation. Instead latch onto games where you’ve seen backup players perform well before.

Backup quarterbacks have typically seen the field as starters or in preseason situations before. Key in on if they know the playbook well or are turnover prone. Turnover prone quarterbacks and running backs do not tend to have a preseason flurry of greatness. The same tendencies usually carry over and that can be detrimental to protecting a lead or keeping the chains moving.

Leads are going to evaporate even more in preseason football. Defenses have vanilla blitzes and game plans that expose third and fourth units.

If you’re planning on wagering on preseason football set yourself a layout. In that layout I’d have the amount of games total you’d plan on wagering on. A safe number would be between a handful and low double-digits in my opinion. Keep your wagering limits also set. Whatever your regular season weekly game wagers are maybe decrease that in half.

Don’t start the regular season off on a sour-note by digging yourself an unmanageable hole from preseason. On the field coaches are evaluating all phases of their football team. Do the same be having proper discipline with preseason wagers that you can evaluate on a game to game basis.


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