How To Bet On NFL Preseason Games
Each NFL team treats the preseason a little bit differently.
Every roster is going to have new players on it.
Coaches and managers will want to watch new players specifically to understand their skill set and how they can help the team.
Each roster will have position battles where veterans try to hold off younger players looking to step in and take their job.
Sometimes new coaches will have implemented a new system, and the preseason can be when teams focus on learning new plays, new techniques, and ultimately experimenting for the upcoming season.
We know that in the overwhelming majority of the games being played, the final result is of little concern to both the players and coaches, making betting on preseason football a little more complicated.
As an NFL preseason bettor, you will find the same bets available in the preseason as you would in the regular season.
Moneyline, Point Spread, and Totals betting are the most popular bets for an NFL football game. T
hese options all exist in the preseason and the regular season.
Because setting the lines for a preseason game can be much more challenging for a sportsbook, NFL preseason football will often have lower betting limits than regular season football games.
NFL Preseason Betting Tips
Betting on NFL preseason football comes with challenges but can also be a lot of fun.
Like all football bets available, savvy gamblers will want to do their homework and research the teams involved before placing their bet.
What we look for during the regular season isn’t always the same when we do our preseason betting homework.
Below are some preseason betting tips and insights you need to know.
Research Head Coaches
Obviously, great coaches can have an impact on the outcome of an NFL game.
Coaches like Andy Reid and Bill Belichick will be inducted into the Hall of Fame one day and have helped turn their organizations into annual Super Bowl contenders.
However, coaches can treat preseason football differently, and how one approaches a preseason game can be very important.
Let’s look at Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs. Since Reid took over in KC, the Chiefs have been an NFL powerhouse.
However, in 87 career preseason games, Reid has an overall record of 42-45, which isn’t even a .500 record.
In the regular season, Reid is 247-138-1 all-time, which is an impressive record, and will land him in the NFL Hall of Fame.
There is no doubt that Reid places little importance on winning in the preseason.
Belichick has a preseason record of 49-36, but over the last three years, the Patriots are 9-2.
This tells us that while the Patriots were the NFL’s best team for almost 20 years, with Belichick and Tom Brady leading the way, they were just a .500 team in the preseason.
Follow The Sharp Money
As a bettor on any sport, having an understanding of line movement and how sharp money is impacting the line is always great information to have.
The sharps aren’t always right, but they tend to win more than the general public, and knowing how they are influencing the line for a game can only make you a sharper bettor.
NFL preseason football can be challenging for operators to set accurate lines.
How many reps will Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, or TJ Watt play? What kind of coaching strategy will be employed for the game?
Will a coach kick a field goal or go for everything on fourth down and not worry about turning the ball over?
Bettors understand how games will be coached during the regular season because, ultimately, everyone cares about winning those games.
But the preseason is the time to experiment, test unproven players, and work on things to better prepare the team for when the games count.
When sharp money moves a line during the preseason, this could mean they have information that wasn’t known publicly at the time the line was set.
Maybe a veteran QB is going to play only one series.
Or perhaps that veteran QB is going to play the entire first half.
Whatever the information they have, if they are confident enough to move the lines with some large wagers, a bettor will want to know what that is and possibly follow suit if similar NFL odds still exist.
When the Philadelphia Eagles kick off their regular season schedule this year, fans and bettors will be very confident knowing that Jalen Hurts will be their starting QB and will be under center as long as he remains healthy.
With this information, a bettor can start to do their analysis and homework on Hurts and his Eagles teammates.
When it comes to preseason football, Hurts might not even dress for the Eagles first couple of preseason games, so now a bettor has to do their homework on Philadelphia backup QBs.
Who will be playing under center for the game?
How much playing time are they expected to receive?
Is there one backup QB expected to get the majority of the reps, or will a team look to use two or three different quarterbacks throughout a game?
How good are the three backup QBs for a team?
The NFL is a QB-driven league as that position continues to evolve.
Quarterbacks are expected to be another coach on the field, reading a defense at the line of scrimmage and calling the right plays based on their reads.
Some teams will run out QBs in the preseason who are not yet able to play at the level required to succeed in the NFL.
A bettor must always understand the QB plan for each preseason game they are interested in playing.
Information Is King
Sportsbooks have become very good at setting lines for regular-season football games.
Information has become very accessible, and we all understand a team’s strengths and weaknesses each week.
However, setting lines for preseason games is another thing altogether.
Most lines open up 6-7 days ahead of a game. A sportsbook might not understand a team’s preseason game plan at that time.
As the week progresses and more information becomes available about a coach or team’s upcoming strategy, there are often opportunities to take advantage of some early lines.
Dig into local media outlets and research preseason games with even more effort than regular-season games.
Sometimes a local print reporter might have some insight or information about the upcoming game that nobody else knew.
When In Doubt – Bet Underdogs
Each week in the NFL, lines are set, and bettors will sharpen their pencils, pull up some key information websites, and dig in with their homework.
When it comes to NFL preseason football, we are often dealing with a lack of information and don’t fully understand how a team will perform.
Several studies have been done on preseason underdogs and the value of taking points when point-spread betting.
Sometimes point spreads are created based on the public’s perception of a team, but not necessarily the reality of what that team is trying to accomplish in a preseason game.
Earlier, we discussed future Hall of Fame coaches Andy Reid and Bill Belichick having very uninspiring records in the preseason.
It’s hard to imagine a team with Belichick and Tom Brady on it being an underdog even in the preseason, so sportsbooks will make them the betting favorite.
In reality, you would have been in a much better position from a gambling standpoint to take the points and bet on the underdogs than on preseason favorites.
Always Shop Around For Your Best Odds
There is value in shopping around for your Best Odds in every NFL game scenario, especially for the preseason.
As discussed throughout this article, there can be a real lack of information regarding preseason football games.
Sportsbooks are trying their best to set what they believe are accurate lines, but the reality is that setting lines in the preseason is much more complex than in the regular season.
Because of this lack of information, there is a lot more variance in lines during the preseason than once the regular season begins.
Bettors will want to study different sportsbooks and find the best overall value for their bets.
A sports bettor’s most significant advantage over the sportsbooks is the ability to go line shopping and pick the odds that best support your wager.
How To Watch NFL Preseason Games
The NFL Network broadcasts 14 preseason games live. They also show replays of all 65 preseason games.
Among live streaming services, FuboTV (while betting with their sportsbook), PlayStation Vue, and Sling TV all have NFL Network services.
Plus, they all offer free trial periods, and you can watch them on TV as long as you have a Smart TV or a streaming device.