Betting Preseason Football

by Wayne Allyn Root

The Hall of Fame Match between the Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals aired on NBC will start NFL preseason wagering Sunday, August 8th at Canton, Ohio. Kickoff for the Hall of Fame competition will be on Sunday, August 8, at 8 PM EST. It'll be held at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Field at Fawcett Stadium. And Wayne Allyn Root will be ready.

As it turns out, the NFL Preseason is one of the best times to bet on football. I continue to beat it!! Winning edges can be found in deciphering the available information heading into the game giving the edge to the astute handicapper over the books. Information is key in the NFL Preseason and it's the only time of the year when coaches are willing to reveal their game plans. I actually find out how many snaps a Quarterback will take.

Many sports bettors don't take advantage and decide to pass on betting in the NFL Preseason. More than likely, they've done battle with NFL Preseason games in the past and have started their football seasons in the hole. The number one reason why they failed is because they used the same handicapping methods in exhibition games that they use during the regular season games. Remember that we are dealing almost with 2 different sporting occasions.

Successful NFL bettors understand the differences between regular season and preseason games. A coach's preseason focus isn't purely centered on winning, but embraces a range of objectives, including: (1) avoiding injury to starters; (2) giving starters enough playing time to shake the off the rust, and (3) evaluating players who are close to making the team.

During the preseason non-starters see a lot of playing time even though most have only practiced the offensive and defensive schemes for a few weeks. The offensive side is more difficult to pick up quickly --offensive linemen must coordinate blocking against potential blitzes, and new quarterbacks need to learn to read defenses under pressure.

The effect during this period is that offenses are usually trying catch-up to defenses. Consequently, where a typical NFL game averages about 43 points per game, preseason games only average 37.5 points, with the median being even lower. While it's surprising how much lower-scoring preseason games are, it's even more startling that the markets are not adjusted accordingly. If you played every single 'under' in preseason, you would have won 55% of your bets over the last six years.

Another trend that might surprise players is how well underdogs have done in the preseason --like the 'under' trend, betting every dog would also show a small profit in recent years. I don't recommend that bettors blindly play all underdogs and unders, as any trend will eventually turn sour as markets become more efficient and you'll never be getting the best of it.

One of the most important factors to consider when doing preseason analysis is whether the coach actually wants to win the game. Teams coming off a disappointing year are more likely to play for a win in the hope of building confidence and momentum for the season.

Some coaches will be far more experimental during preseason, taking the opportunity to try different combinations of players, or unusual plays that are rarely used in the regular season. There's a balance to be struck between the benefits of experimentation and the negative impact losing has on morale. Good teams have less need to build confidence and aren't unsettled by preseason losses. Simply understanding the mentality of both teams' coaches will provide profitable opportunities.

An additional factor to consider is how much playing time starters will get? Many coaches not only announce how much the starters will play, but when they'll play. If a strong team is playing its starters for the whole first half against a weaker team that's only using starters for one drive, there's an obvious play. ( and how many times will you see the line still at -3 )?

Later in the preseason, you can often find value backing winless teams with at least two preseason losses. While coaches don't necessarily try to win every game (for the reasons already discussed), no team wants to enter the regular season after going winless during exhibition play. The 3rd week is the "key" week for all coaches and teams!!

One favorite betting angle is the good old 'Home Underdog' scenario. Typically seen when a struggling team plays at home against a winning club, the home underdog angle requires the understanding of how much of an advantage the home team will have whether it be emotionally or just how that teams performs on their home field overall. When betting the NFL, home underdogs have been a great bet among NFL Picks during the NFL Preseason because teams seem to play better to their home crowd. Also, at times their star players will not only play better but play for a longer time than the visiting starters.

Here are a couple of other tips when picking your 2010 Preseason NFL picks.

NFL Betting Tip # 1 'New NFL Head Coaches'

When preparing to make your NFL Picks, you want to go with New Head coaches that are trying to win at any cost for team support. This might be the best bet in preseason football. Chan Gailey at Buffalo, Pete Carroll at Seattle, Mike Shanahan - Washington are all new Coaches to this years team.

A veteran coach whose team is coming off an unsuccessful season whose job may be in jeopardy may go all out in preseason to win a few games and appease the ownership, media, and fans. This coach may play his starters longer in an attempt to get them ready for the regular season. Such a coach tends to be dangerous early in the preseason.

A rookie coach almost always tries to impress and win games in the preseason, in order to build their own confidence, the confidence of the team, and the confidence of the ownership, media and fans that the right man was hired for the job. A new coach is often in a 'honeymoon period' with his new team and they may play harder for him.

NFL Betting Tip #2 'Teams that have quarterbacks competing for starting positions'

The major decision that any coach must make is who is going to play quarterback and for how long. When handicapping NFL Preseason games, you must pay attention to how deep the quarterback position is with each team and how many snaps each quarterback will see. This has a huge bearing on how well a team will perform. If a team is embroiled in a quarterback controversy, possibly a situation where two veterans are competing for the starting job, one could expect both quarterbacks to play well. This situation could have a seasoned NFL quarterback playing against opponents second or third string defense in early preseason games ' Advantage veteran quarterback. When a team is not deep at quarterback, or is hurt by injuries or hold outs, it might find itself in trouble playing young and inexperienced signal callers that may have trouble moving the ball when facing complex, speedy NFL defenses while directing an offensive scheme in which they might not be familiar with.

Over/Under players want to look for teams that don't have a clear opening Day starter for their best NFL Picks, as they will traditionally put a lot of points on the board in the preseason, which makes 'the over' a good bet.

NFL Betting Tip #3 'Teams that have multiple or Freshman Quarterbacks'

Don't concern yourself too much with each team's starters. In most preseason games, the starters that are secure in their jobs are resting on the bench by the second quarter as the coach's audition their back-ups.

Over/Under players want to look for teams that have brand new, multiple or especially freshman QBs as these unsettled untested QBs tend to make elementary mistakes and be their own worst enemy regarding scoring

Handicapping the NFL Preseason requires the ability to recognize each team's needs and what the coach wants to accomplish during the Preseason as he prepares his team for the regular season. Try to back head coaches who care about the outcome of the Preseason games and bet against those that don't. Keep these factors in mind and you will be well on your way to building your bankroll.

*Independently Documented & Monitored.
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