Each year the excitement of football is too much for bettors to wait for the games that actually count and that is why we cover preseason betting. There are a few factors that are really important during the exhibition season that people betting only during the regular season don’t have to pay as much attention to. You need to have as much information as possible at your finger tips if you hope to cash in big with your picks before the real season starts, so let’s take a look.
The first coach that comes to my mind here is Steve Spurrier, who not only wanted to win preseason games but he wanted to blow opponents out. John Fox of the Carolina Panthers and Jack Del Rio of the Jacksonville Jaguars are two more coaches that win a lot of preseason games. You also want to look at teams that are coming off disappointing years or have a new head coach as these teams like to build some excitement and energize the fan base.
During the regular season you won’t pay much attention to whether the team is playing their third or fourth game, but during the preseason this can have a big effect on your betting patterns. Is the team trying to figure out who is going to make their team? This will tell you how long the first string is going to play and how much time is going to be given to the lower depth chart guys to battle it out for their spots. Week 3 is when you will see the starters log some serious playing time which tends to give the game the same feel as the regular season. The last week of preseason games is when teams look to avoid injuries to their major contributors.
Going along with the “which week is it theory,” you also want to know how good the backups are that will be playing. The second and third string will be playing quite a few minutes so if they are talented and or motivated this can lead to a team winning. If a team is playing well in the second half, that normally means they have depth and is a team that I will look to follow as the preseason wears on.
I don’t really like taking totals during the preseason, but some people thrive on it. To me, it’s tough to predict how offenses and defenses that haven’t played together will perform. The aggressiveness of the backups matter quite a bit here as some second and third string offensive players will be looking to make big plays, and others will want to reduce their risk. Same with the defense, are they going to miss a tackle while trying to strip the ball from a ball carrier or blow coverage trying to go for a pick 6?
You have to pay attention to the schedules in the preseason. There are a lot of games on TV and if a team is playing on short rest or extended rest due to their TV schedule that will have an effect on their performance. Also, players are going to be motivated to play on TV, but then if the following week they are playing with nobody watching might tend to lay off a little bit. Home field isn’t as big of a deal since the stadiums are half-empty anyway.