Betting on the NFL Preseason Week 3
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 8/24/2011
Some consider the beginning of football season to be the first week of preseason. Others don’t think the season really begins until the first game of the NFL regular season.
For people who just love watching the NFL’s best compete, there is a middle ground: the third week of the preseason. This week is often a dress rehearsal for Week 1 of the regular season. Starters will generally play the entire first half and even into the second half as opposed to only one or two opening drives.
The oddsmakers are well aware of this and for the first time in the preseason, the NFL point spreads will start to make sense.
Unlike in preseason Week 1 when the Cleveland Browns were favored by 2.5 points over the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, in Week 3 lines the Packers are now 9-point favorites at Indianapolis, who will be playing without Peyton Manning.
Nearly all the playoff teams from last season who are playing non-playoff teams are favored in Week 3 except Seattle (+4.0 at Denver), Chicago (+3.5 at Tennessee) and Kansas City (+2.5 vs. St. Louis).
So while it starts to make sense to bet on the team that has the better starters as opposed to the team has the better third-string quarterback, the oddsmakers toss a couple extra points in the direction of the underdogs.
Last season Week 3 preseason favorites went 8-8 ATS. It was a rare break for the favorites, who have traditionally been obliterated during this week. Over the last four seasons, Week 3 NFL preseason favorites are collectively 22-39-3 ATS.
While it is true that starters for both teams and on both sides of the ball will go deep into the game, you have to remember this is still a preseason game. Offensive and defensive coordinators will not go guns blazing -- they will hold plenty back in terms of game planning and schemes. Players who are knicked up either won’t play or will be severely limited.
The third week of the NFL Preseason bears a slight resemblance to a regular season game, but it is still a dress rehearsal. If you can take an underdog catching a few more points than they should be getting, it could be a smart bet.
In this year’s NFL preseason Week 3 keep an eye on Cleveland +7 at Philadelphia, Washington +5.5 at Baltimore, Indianapolis +9 vs. Green Bay and Miami +4.5 at Tampa Bay.
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