NFL Preseason Betting an Inexact Science

There's no denying in the grand scheme of things, NFL preseason results have no bearing on what we can expect to see during the regular season. However, as long as Las Vegas and offshore sportsbooks continue to put out a point-spread on each preseason game, there's certainly a money making opportunity assembling these NFL picks.

Before I get into some specific wagering situations that have been profitable over the years, I always advise clients and readers alike, proceed with absolute caution at this time of the year. I recommend wagering no more than 1.25% of your total betting bankroll per game during preseason action. There are just too many intangible factors to account for through the course of these meaningless games. In summation, wager with an exceedingly conservative approach.

Note: ATS = against the spread and SU = straight up.

Possible Money Making Opportunities

Contrary to popular opinion, there's certainly money to be made during the NFL preseason. One of the powerful sports handicapping tools I use daily is my 4D custom handicapping software. The data provided from the aforementioned software program, aids me in producing proven betting systems that have survived the test of time from a profitability standpoint. I've stated on numerous occasions, that you shouldn't just limit yourself to one facet of sports handicapping, and especially in light of risking your hard earned money. However, I've taken the time to share some highly successful betting algorithms pertaining to preseason contests, and it will serve you when making your NFL picks.

Any NFL preseason away underdog of 3.5 or less that's coming off a straight up favorite loss by 10-points or more, versus an opponent coming off a SU&ATS win is 19-6 ATS (76%) since 1983.

Any NFL preseason away underdog of 7.0 or more, versus an opponent coming off a SU&ATS win in which they covered by 5.5 or more, has gone 23-10 ATS (69.8%) since 1987. The underdog was also 15-10 (60%) SU in those contests.

Any NFL preseason underdog that's coming off 2 consecutive wins, versus an opponent coming off a win by 10-points or more, has gone 30-9 ATS (76.9%) since 1994. The underdog was also 22-16 SU (57.9%) during those contests.

Any NFL preseason underdog of 6.5 or more that's coming off a loss by 10-points or more, versus an opponent coming off a SU&ATS win has gone 20-5 ATS (83.3%) since 1980. The underdogs were also a respectable 12-13 SU (48%). The last time this exact situation occurred was in 2011 when Seattle covered as a 6.5-point underdog at Denver, and Indy covered as a 9.0-point home underdog against Green Bay.

Dress Rehearsals

It's been pretty standard procedure historically for NFL head coaches, to use their next to last preseason game as a dress rehearsal for the upcoming regular season. There are exceptions to the rule. Current Rams head coach Jeff Fisher is a perfect example. Fisher has been a proponent of using his team's last preseason game for the purposes of getting his projected starters sufficiently prepared, and ready for regular season action. Fisher has exhibited that practice during his 15 years as head coach in Tennessee, and in his current four-year tenure as the Rams boss.

Hall of Fame Game Participants

We also encounter isolated instances for teams that play in the annual "Hall of Fame Game." Those clubs perform in five games compared to four played by the other 30-teams. Hall of Fame Game participants use their fourth game in their five-game schedule as their final dress rehearsal. These teams have been factually a play against in these specific situations.

Teams playing in the Hall of Fame Game, and are in their fourth preseason contest, resulted in them going a miserable 60-83 ATS (42%) since 1983. If those teams were playing on the road, they fell to 12-31 ATS (28%), and 10-33 (23.3%) SU since 1993.

The conclusion I draw from these outcomes coincide with pure common sense. These two teams involved in this annual festivity, reported to training camp a week before the rest of NFL teams. As a result, the rigors of an extended training camp, and having to travel this late in the preseason, puts those teams in a very disadvantageous position, and betting against them creates favorable grades pertaining to NFL picks.

Away Favorites Ready For the Real Show

Staying with the notion that 30 of the 32-teams in the NFL play four preseason games, and Game 3 is used as a final tuneup before things count for real. Let's take a look at further beneficial wagering opportunities.

Since the 1983 preseason, away favorites have been a very profitable bet when playing in Game 3 of the preseason. During that time, they've gone 55-33 ATS (62.5%). We can tighten that successful system up even more, and just by adding two additional parameters. Any away favorite of 5.0 or less, playing in game three of the preseason, and is coming off a SU loss in their previous contest, went 24-9 ATS (72.7%) over that same time period.

The logic here is quite clear in my eyes. The oddsmakers know that teams treat this game as close to a regular season game as you will get. Respecting their uncanny ability to set a line with utmost accuracy, clearly exhibits their feeling that the away team in this situation isn't only superior, but additionally possesses a considerable edge when making NFL picks. For lack of a better phrase, "the proof is in the pudding."