Preseason betting: Easy as 1-2-3

Preseason betting: Easy as 1-2-3

Preseason betting: Easy as 1-2-3
By ASHTON GREWAL

Wagering on the exhibition calendar is not just a different animal than betting on the regular season; the two scenarios are polar opposites.

Under normal circumstances bettors want to back winning franchises with strong team chemistry. During the preseason instability is a winning formula. Position battles and coaches on the hot seat breed strong effort.

Here are the three ways I’m going to make enough money betting NFL this August to pay for my new roof:

Open auditions

Any capper will tell you that backing teams with strong QB depth is a smart idea, but I’m limiting my plays on clubs yet to identify who will be their first-stringer.

Sure, there are some teams with backups breathing down the necks of incumbents (Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns) but that’s only two quarters worth of fierce competition. The games are normally decided during the final 30 minutes (although most people stop watching after the first half). 

That’s why I’m going all in on the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers this summer. The Ravens drafted a quarterback with their first-round pick (Joe Flacco) but are leaning towards former Heisman winner Troy Smith or veteran Kyle Boller as the No. 1.

I particularly love the 49ers’ situation. Head coach Mike Nolan practically got down on his knees and begged ownership to give him another chance to right the ship in the Bay Area, so you know he’s desperate.

He’s also openly stated the starting quarterback job is wide open. Not only are Alex Smith and Shaun Hill in the running but also “Mr. Irrelevant”, J.T. O’Sullivan.

“It’s about production,” Nolan told the Sacramento Bee this week. “Whoever gives us the best chance to win is the guy.”

That’s music to my ears this time of year.

No offense, but your offense stinks

Reading reporters gush about how tight a spiral Quarterback A threw or how “in sync” a budding receiver is with a new system during training camp makes me sick. Of course skill players look great when they don’t have to worry about someone knocking them into next Tuesday.

Say what you will about the preseason, but at least it’s not the Pro Bowl. I mean, there actually is some hitting and aggressive tackling.

The offense always takes some time to adjust to live contact. Playing the under early in the preseason has been quite profitable for sharp bettors. The over/under record for the past two years in Week 1 of the preseason is 9-21-3.

Don’t get greedy though; things normally even out the following week.

Like a virgin

The last step to my lucrative plan is backing rookie coaches. First-time coaches always have something to prove and sometimes don’t have the patience to wait until the regular season for wins.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin is a perfect example. He came in with a chip on his shoulder looking to put a stamp on the post-Bill-Cower era. The yellow and black steamrolled the competition going 4-1 straight up and 3-2 against the spread last preseason.

Of course not every first-timer is as assertive. For every Tomlin there are guys like the New Orleans Saints’ Sean Payton.

The coach I have an eye on is Tony Sparano. The Miami Dolphins’ new head coach is a Bill Parcells’ pick and that alone should excite bettors. The Big Tuna was a cash cow for preseason bettors while pacing the sidelines.

Parcells’ intimidating nature resulted in his players taking the preseason exponentially more serious than their opponents. Unfortunately, I couldn’t dig up the preseason results for Parcells in his tongue-lashing prime with the New York Giants and New England Patriots (if any one can find them, please post them).

The numbers from his last two coaching stops are still mindboggling: 21-7 SU and 20-8 ATS.

I don’t know too much about Sparano but if he’s a Parcells’ man, expect the Fish to be giving maximum effort.

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