Preseason pigskin: Sharp bet or bankroll buster?

Preseason pigskin: Sharp bet or bankroll buster?

Preseason pigskin: Sharp bet or bankroll buster?
By SCOTT RICKENBACH

Football season arrives again starting August 3. 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.

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 No. 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.

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 pointspread 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 preseasons 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. With most teams so close in talent level, 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 28. 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.

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 as you can more readily find value on the card when you have already done your homework.

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Re: Preseason pigskin: Sharp bet or bankroll buster?

mvbski wrote:



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 No. 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.

I agree 100%

Without knowing all you can about any pre season game you bet your doomed to eventually go bust.

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Re: Preseason pigskin: Sharp bet or bankroll buster?

Handicapping Coaches Key for NFL Preseason
by Robert Ferringo

Here is the bad news about this year's article about NFL preseason betting: the lead is not nearly as good.

Here is the good news: it may be more specific and more informative than last year's NFL preseason betting article.

Last year I wrote an article that laid out some basic tips for NFL preseason betting and I feel that the ideas and suggestions that I laid out there still resonate this year. I would give it a read before you consider dipping your toe in the wild waters of NFL preseason wagering.

Betting in the NFL exhibition season it a tricky beast, and one that most pro football bettors (WISELY) avoid. However, I don't shy away from contact and this will be the second year that I release my NFL Preseason Picks and Predictions. The Victory Train leaves the station in August, and we don't stop until February.

But before we get to all that, I thought we should take a look at the guys who set the tempo for how the NFL preseason is played - the coaches. During the regular season most NFL coaches become somewhat of an afterthought to squares and amateur handicappers. It's easier to either look at key players or individual matchups or take the wide, general perspective and consider the teams as a whole. Unless your name is Belichick or Dungy, most bettors don't pay much mind. That is, unless a coach decides to leave an axe lying around in the locker room for his punter to slice his leg open with. (I'm looking at you, Del Rio.)

However, when betting the NFL preseason I believe that the coaches and their head-to-head matchup, stylistically as much as systemically, should absolutely be the first thing that a gambler takes into account. With that in mind, here are some things to watch for in the coaches as you prepare yourself for some hearty NFL preseason betting:

1) Know Your Coaches

Who runs a tight camp and demands execution and perfection through practices and practice games? Who is more laid back and more worried about working on wrinkles and sets than the outcome of the games? Who are the coaches that simply want to protect their veterans? Who is on the hot seat and wants to keep things positive in the preseason?

All of these situations directly relate to how a coach handles a preseason game. A coach's attitude, approach, and demeanor toward exhibition contests sets the tone for the entire team's approach to these games. The easiest way to get a grasp and prep yourself for handicapping these situations is to familiarize yourself with each veteran coach's track record in NFL preseason games and bet them accordingly.

For instance, Tony Dungy couldn't care less about the preseason. Hence, he has a 9-16 record in NFLX despite guiding a perennial playoff squad. Mike Shanahan, on the other hand, has a stellar 39-17 mark in preseason football games, making him one of the best bets on the board. Further, John Fox is on the hot seat this year. He has a career mark of 16-8 in exhibition games and you know he's going to want to make a statement early.

2) Listen To Your Coaches

During the regular season coaches are as trustworthy and reliable as Republican senators. But during the preseason they practically hand you the playbook before the game and say, "Yeah, this is what we're going to do." NFL coaches are very forthright as to their game plans leading into NFLX contests and a bettor can use that as a tremendous advantage.

How long will the starting quarterback and star players play? How many series will the first team offense or defense stay on the field? Which injured players are you going to rest? All of these are key questions that you can find the answers to with very little digging online. The accessibility of information from the head sources will never be greater and that is a key part of NFL exhibition betting.

3) Understand The Systems


You not only have to be mindful of the head coaches during the preseason and even during the regular season. Top coordinators and assistant coaches play a vital role in game planning during the preseason. If a team has a new offensive coordinator and is learning a new system that is going to be reflected on the field in the preseason. These are the games in which players and coaches work out the kinks, make mistakes, and try to get on the same page. It's not usually pretty. But pay close attention to veteran teams that have new offensive and defensive coordinators, or clubs that are learning a new blocking scheme on offense or working between a 4-3 and a 3-4 base on defense.

For example, Mike Martz left Detroit for San Francisco during the offseason, taking his 8,000,000-page playbook and pass-wacky attack with him to The Bay. Martz's movement will have a drastic impact on two teams this preseason. First, you can probably expect Alex Smith and the San Fran first teamers to struggle early on in the year as they try to grasp Martz's attack. Later, they may put up more points simply because they throw the ball more than other teams, or maybe if it starts to click the "O" will start ringing up big numbers in the exhibition season.

Second, look for Detroit to play it a bit closer to the vest and to be a bit more conservative with their offensive scheme. They are going with the anti-Martz attack and shifting to more of a power running game.

4) Competition May Mean Competitive

Quarterback competition or competition at key positions can be a bettor's best friend in the preseason. And how coaches address these instances - again, which they are pretty forthcoming about - will have a drastic impact on how long starters or key players stay on the field during the preseason.

Take the Chicago Bears. They are waging an all-out quarterback competition between Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton. During the regular season the thought of either one of them is enough to make a Bears backer wet themselves. But in the preseason their ineptitude and the uncertainty at that position works to our advantage. It means that two quarterbacks with serious NFL experience will likely get more reps during the preseason games to help the coaches evaluate who is the best man for the job. So while an opponent may be trotting out a third- or fourth-stringer on defense to start the second half I could see Lovie Smith leaving in one of his QBs to get a couple series in the third quarter.

This holds true not just for quarterbacks. The Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons are completely rebuilding their squads. There is a lot of competition going on at a lot of key positions and I believe these two clubs will be a bit more aggressive and have more of an edge in their preseason games then, say, a team with an established hierarchy like Indianapolis.

That said, there is a definite talent deficit on those clubs and you still need to know who is doing the competing (two rookies or two veterans?). Just because a team has some open spots that players are going after it doesn't mean both players don't suck.

5) Watch Out For The Rookies

I'm still talking about the coaches here. This season we have four first-time head coaches leading their charges out onto the exhibition field for the first time. Like any NFL rookie there is bound to be some excitement and bound to be some mistakes. It's difficult to judge how these head men will approach NFL preseason games but one thing is for certain: they are usually pretty eager beavers in trying to get that first 'W', even if it is just a fake one.

Jim Zorn (Washington), Tony Sparano (Miami), John Harbaugh (Baltimore) and Mike Smith (Atlanta) are the green leaders. Zorn and Harbaugh inherit veteran squads while Sparano and Smith have some refurbishing to do. Be wary, as none of these boys has ever been The Man on the sidelines for an actual NFL game - real or fake. You may want to take a wait-and-see approach or you may want to let it ride and try to get ahead of the curve in terms of how you think they'll respond (stepping up vs. peeing down the leg).

Either way it's a gamble. And god I'm glad football is back!

Docsports.com

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