NFL Betting Success: How to Win in Preseason
by Jason Sharpe - 8/3/2012
Most folks betting NFL Preseason football use the same type of approach. They will tell you to find out what the quarterback rotations are for each team, which star players are going to play, who is going to sit out, what the coaches ATS records are, etc…. Though those are good strategies to use, the problem with doing things this way is that you are doing the exact same thing that the other bettors are doing, and doing things the same as others won’t give you an edge over the oddsmakers in the long run.
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In this article I am going to give you the exact strategies that I use when it comes to betting on the NFL preseason. I have gone 12-4 ATS in my first two year’s here at Doc’s Sports betting on the NFL Preseason games, and I have done so by following one simple rule from week to week.
The one key word that makes the NFL Preseason so profitable to bet is “motivation.” Football is the one sport where effort and motivation means everything. Once the regular season begins every team and coach wants to win their next game, but that isn’t the case during the NFL Preseason as there are times where one side cares about winning a whole lot more than their opponent does. Figure out when this is happening and you can have a very profitable NFL Preseason. Let me explain how I do that.
The first thing we must do is to break the preseason into individual weeks, one for each week of the NFL Preseason.
The key to figure out if a team is motivated or not is to try and get inside the heads of the team, the coach and the entire organization. Let’s use our play in Week 1 of the preseason for last year to explain how or why a team is motivated.
After what was a horrible 2010 season the Carolina Panthers fired their head coach and hired Ron Rivera to take over their 2011 team. The Panthers were also rewarded with the first pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. The Panthers used that pick to take the college game’s most exciting player in QB Cam Newton. Because the Panthers were so poor in 2010 they made a lot changes in personnel, coaches, etc….By the time the preseason finally had rolled around everyone inside the Panthers organization and all the Panthers fans were fired up to play their first preseason game see they could see all of the exciting new pieces the Panthers were going to put on the field.
The one problem the Panthers had, though, was they had to play host to the Super Bowl Champions of the past season, the Green Packers, in their first preseason game. Most folks know that the Packers would crush the Panthers in a regular season contest, but it’s a whole different story when the Panthers are motivated to play and the Packers could care less about a meaningless contest. Add in the fact that most of the Panther players were fighting desperately for all the new jobs and roles that the 2011 Panthers had up for grabs going into this season, while most of the Green Bay Packers players had already defined jobs and roles coming into the year and were only playing this game to get into game shape and, most importantly, not to get hurt. Basically what we had here in this game was two teams playing with two totally different mindsets.
The lowly Panthers, a team that finished the previous season with the worst record in all of the NFL, beat the former Super Bowl Champions, 20-10, in this one. You could see when watching the game the excitement level and intensity was at an entirely different level on the Panthers side as they played like they really had something to prove while the Packers players did all they could not to fall asleep in this game. Betting the motivated Panthers here made for an easy Week 1 winner.
Summary for Week 1: find a team coming off a bad season and who has something exciting to sell their fans coming into the year. You want this game to be a home contest and, hopefully, involving one with a new head coach as the coach has a big reason for his team to play well and win this game.
Okay, so now the first week has passed and a lot of the ugly ducklings from the previous year got their big chance to take out all their frustrations in Week 1. Now what do we look for in Week 2?
We ask ourselves the same type question: who is motivated for this game and why? I will go back to last year for our next example of this in preseason Week 2.
Last preseason the Pittsburgh Steelers looked awful in their Week 1 loss, and their head coach Mike Tomlin really let his players have it, ripping them in the media and saying how poor play wouldn’t be accepted, etc… It was obvious Tomlin was not happy at all and he got the team’s attention by stating how upset he was going into this game. Now if this statement was made during the regular season, who knows if he would have got his message across the next week as, obviously, the Steelers opponents at the time would also care a lot about the upcoming game. However, since most opponents don’t care this time of the year, it’s a good bet that what Tomlin had to say would have great effect on his Pittsburgh team effort for this coming week. The Steelers came out motivated and had no problem in beating the Eagles by a 24-14 score and covering the spread along the way in this one.
Summary: we are looking for a mad or upset coach/team which usually comes from playing poorly in the previous game. You will need to read the first game press conference notes from the players and coaches to try and find out which teams sound disgusted with their play in their last game. No team wants to get embarrassed in a preseason game, and if they do than they will usually do whatever it takes to try and win back their fan base in their next game.
There are a couple ways to look at things in this week. You can do what we did last week and look to bet on a team that played poorly the week before, or you can try and find a team who is 0-2 going into this game and bet on them, especially if that team didn’t make the playoffs last season. No wants to have their fans lose interest on them before their season even starts. A good team like the Patriots may not care as much if they lose this game to go to 0-3, but take a below-average team and they don’t want to have an awful preseason and lose the confidence of the players and the fan base. A coach with a fragile team (one who didn’t make the playoffs last season) wants to have something positive happen before the season, even if it means playing only one good game during the preseason. If a team is 0-2 this makes this game almost a must-win for them here.
My example for Week 3 last year is the Buffalo Bills. The Bills came into their Week 3 game very motivated as they were 0-2 and desperately needed a win. This is already a below-average team that has a fan base that needs to be excited about the upcoming year, and losing all your preseason games does no one any good. The Bills not only had the misfortune of not having had played a home game yet in the preseason, but the week before they were on the other end things when they were facing a fired-up and motivated Broncos team who was also 0-1 but who was at home and with a new coaching regime. The bottom line is the Bills had little shot against what was a very motivated Denver team, and because of that reason they were beat by the Broncos.
The Bills now faced a Jacksonville team coming off a win the previous week after they had got hammered the week before. The Jags did all they could to win their Week 2 contest after being embarrassed on national TV against the Patriots in Week 1. Though it wasn’t a pretty effort, the Jags did find a way to beat the Falcons late in Game 2 and the panic in Jacksonville was now gone after their miserable first game effort. The Jags were clearly motivated for a better showing in their last game and they got it, but what was their motivation now here on the road and against a 0-2 Bills team? They didn’t have one and because of that they ended up losing this game and failed to cover the spread against a fired up Bills team that needed a win.
Summary: you need a motivated team, one who wants and needs to win versus one who has no interest in the outcome of the game.
No one cares about week four games, so don’t try and figure them out. It won’t help.
You don’t need to look any further than the Detroit Lions to know how important motivation is in preseason football. The Lions have been world-beaters of late in the pre-season as they easily have the best record in the NFL in these games the past few years. But why is that? Before this year, every preseason is like the Lions playoff season for their fans and their organization. Excitement levels are at their highest this time of the year for them as they usually have a new batch of top drafted college players who have joined the Lions in the offseason and throw in a new head coach, philosophy, offense and defensive schemes, etc…. The Lions fans eat it up, and the Lions organization knows it. A bad preseason would just put a huge damper on things for the Lions, so they give everything that they can in these games. Once the season starts the talent takes over and the Lions ended up not being good enough to compete, but in the preseason when motivation and effort means everything, the Lions were one of the best teams in football during their leanest years.
Like I said at the beginning, the NFL Preseason isn’t tough to beat from a betting standpoint. In fact, I would say it’s even easier to win at than the regular season in the NFL. The key is finding out how motivated a team is to play that particular game. It takes some work to figure this out, but the winners are out there by using this method. If you do things this way this preseason it will give you your best chance to have a profitable preseason and build up your bankroll before the regular season begins.
Jason Sharpe is an expert NFL handicapper with Doc’s Sports. He went 12-4 the last two seasons for his NFL Preseason betting picks. You can get his pick for FREE this season with Doc’s free $60 in member’s picks promotion. Click here for more details and take advantage of this free $60 picks credit today. There is no obligation for this exclusive offer and no credit card required. And, as is Doc’s policy, no salesman, ever!