Football Season arrives again starting August 3rd. Yes, you read that right, it's not the start of the regular season but don't make the mistake of ignoring preseason football. There are plenty of good wagering opportunities that are a part of the preseason and make it a favorite part of the football schedule for many top handicappers.
I have enjoyed my fair share of successes in the Preseason and this has been especially true with top plays. Yet, many times I am asked how one can possibly bet on preseason football and how one can possibly find "wagering edges." For a little insight into why top handicappers and sharp bettors are indeed involved with Preseason NFL, please read on.
Much of the content in this article was in prior seasons' articles but it certainly bears repeating as an annual reminder about the value of Preseason Football for your bankroll. Indeed it is well worth the repetition. In this article we will be taking a look at four key areas in preseason wagering: Information, Parity, Money Management, Advance Preparation.
Information - It is certainly true that information is a key part of handicapping any sport at any time in the season. However, the importance of information carries more weight in handicapping the NFL Preseason than perhaps any other sport and any other season. The reason for this is because coaches will actually say who they are playing in a particular game and for how long. They generally are not so much concerned with winning the game as they are with simply finding out everything they can about every single player up and down their roster. Therefore, any information you obtain about players and even game plans during preseason is generally as solid as you will ever see. Understanding the Quarterback Rotations and situations (is there a battle for the #1 spot?) is another key to success. If the proper time is taken to research what each team is saying to the media in the days leading up to the game, your investment of time can pay off in the form of big wins on game day.
Parity - It is common knowledge that there is a lot of parity in today's NFL and that can help when analyzing the preseason games. If you uncover that a certain team is hungrier or has extra motivation or has a lot of battles going on for starting spots or roster spots, you've often uncovered that little extra incentive that will lead to a point spread win. Don't ever underestimate how well a bad team can perform in preseason. In past seasons like 2003, teams like Arizona and San Francisco had great pre-seasons and then showed their true level of play in the regular season. Also, many times the most talented teams are the ones that struggle in preseason against the spread. What do they have to prove? That brings us to the next point about parity: Coaching. If a team has underachieved in the past and now has a new coach you can generally expect he will want to come in and win the favor of the fans and management by getting wins in preseason. The new coach is much more likely to put a little extra incentive on game planning than a veteran coach on a better team with nothing to prove in August! With most teams so close in talent level (the parity of the NFL), this extra coaching edge carries a lot of weight in August.
Money Management - The goal of wagering on preseason football is to build that bankroll for the regular season which will be here very soon with the kickoff of College Football on August 28th. Certainly, by applying the right techniques and principles one should turn a profit more often than not in the preseason. However, it is a long football season and you don't want to blow your bankroll during a losing run in August, you want to enhance your bankroll so you can enjoy a profitable and enjoyable football season all the way through the Super Bowl. This money management section is merely a reminder that sports wagering can be very streaky and it is always best to have a good plan in place with your bankroll prior to the start of the season. Pace yourself and never play amounts that are too high of a percentage of your bankroll. You want to stay "in the game" and not risk being "on the edge" of being kicked out of the game on a weekly basis!
Advance Preparation - In some upcoming articles in late July and into August, I will be putting out some articles about the upcoming NFL season and what to expect from these teams. By digging a little deeper into the QB rotations for Preseason and coaching changes and personnel changes, I should be able to find some nice tidbits for August profits. The thing to take from the upcoming articles is that preparation in advance is a key to successful handicapping. Identifying teams to watch ahead of time will certainly help when the lines come out week to week throughout the preseason. Then you can more readily find value on the card when you have already done your "homework." More on this is on the way in the coming weeks so please do stay tuned. Thanks and Best of luck always - Scott Rickenbach