Betting the NFL Preseason in 2022
by Jeff Hochman of JH-Sportsline
The Hall of Fame Game is the first NFL preseason game of the year, which closes the annual Hall of Fame enshrinement festivities. On August 4th, 2022, Las Vegas Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars will kick-off the preseason at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. The game marks the fourth appearance by the Raiders and second cameo for the Jags. The game starts at 8:00 PM E and can be viewed this year on NBC.
You will hear people say "Don't bet on NFL Preseason Football". Big Mistake! It's actually easier than capping the regular season. In most cases, you can read ahead of time the exact game plan for each team. That doesn't mean you're guaranteed to win. Rather, we are just constantly looking for edges as bettors. I feel the NFL preseason is a great opportunity to start and build a nice bankroll for the upcoming regular season. Here are my personal keys, stats, systems, angles, reasons, and teams to consider when betting NFL Preseason football in 2022.
This one is obvious. Jo public gets so worked up about the starters and skill position players on certain teams during the regular season. But they're the same in the preseason. Teams that can go two-and three-deep (sometimes four-deep) at the skill positions have a decided advantage over a club that has a few stars that will be sitting after the first or second series. A perfect example is none other than the Buffalo Bills, who showed up on these pages last year. Josh Allen, Case Keenum, and Matt Barkley will be one of the better QB rotations this August. Don't forget, the Bills have been running Sean McDermott's system for 5 years now. Ken Dorsey is the new OC, after spending time (2019) as the Bills' QB coach and passing game coordinator (2021). Should be a smooth transition. The Bills went 4-0 ATS in 2019 and 2-1 ATS last season. On the flip side, the Houston Texans will break in a brand new head coach (Lovi Smith), new offensive coordinator (Pep Hamilton), and new defensive coordinator (Lovi Smith). Davis Mills, Kyle Allen, Jeff Driskel, and Kevin Hogan will be learning a brand new offense. The Texans' defense will be learning a brand new scheme as well. I think this team is heading for a rough preseason!
Quarterbacks and continuity are key. NFL preseason wagers, just like those during the regular Season, often come down to the last eight minutes of a game. So find teams that have solid depth at QB and/or has some experience or success in the league. They'll have a tremendous advantage in the closing moments of a game against a third and/or fourth-string defense.
I don't necessarily mean which team has the most grizzled veterans on it. In fact, experience can be a detriment. Most older players hate preseason games. And teams that have established players in certain positions or roles will often see those guys "mail it in" during the preseason because they know the games are "meaningless" and already have their "jobs" locked up.
However, experience is a key factor when it comes to handicapping coaches/systems. Organizations that haven't experienced much turnaround have a significant advantage over those that are easing in a new brain trust. For example, the Cincinnati Bengals have been running Zack Taylor's system for three full seasons. The Bengals are going to be much sharper than a team that is going through drastic changes. Take the Chicago Bears for example. They are breaking in a brand new head coach (Matt Eberfus), new offensive coordinator (Luke Getsy), and new defensive coordinator (Alan Williams). All three will be making their coaching debut. Keying on clubs that have familiarity & continuity, and finding teams that are much less comfortable with their new system should give you an edge in the preseason. I can't stress this enough!
3) First-Year Head Coaches with new team (Full Season)
We have a whopping 10 for the 2022-23 season in alphabetical order by team. First year head coaches can be tricky, but generally perform very well in their first August home game.They went 6-1 ATS in their first home game six years ago, 5-2 ATS five years ago, 4-1 ATS four seasons ago and 6-2 ATS in 2019. Last year, this angle was a losing proposition going 2-6 ATS. The spreads were much higher than in previous years and the reduced schedule could have affected this angle. Maybe "Vegas" has caught on or it was just a 1-year anomaly. That still adds up to a bankrolling 23-12 ATS ledger past five preseasons combined! A lot of expectations are put on these guys coming in. They all want to show the owner, GM, players, and fans that he is the right man for the job. Setting the tone early means playing to win in the preseason. Be selective. Don't blindly play all 10 teams in their first home game.
Matt Eberfus (Chicago Bears)
Nathaniel Hackett (Denver Broncos)
Lovie Smith (Houston Texans)
Doug Pederson (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Josh McDaniels (Las Vegas Raiders)
Mike McDaniel (Miami Dolphis)
Kevin O'Connell (Minnesota Vikings)
Dennis Allen (New Orleans Saints)
Brian Daboll (NY Giants)
Todd Bowles (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
If you know how head coaches were raised and what their philosophies are than you will have a big advantage this August. I will give you one HC that treats the preseason as the regular season. That would be John Harabaugh of the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens are 20-0 SU over the past five preseasons!! That is not a misprint. His 40-12 ATS overall record in the preseason would have made you a small fortune. On the flip side, Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams clearly hates the preseason. He uses August to scout his younger guys while keeping his starters and key backups healthy. The Rams went 0-3 ATS last year. Sean McVay is 5-10 ATS in his career and now comes off a Super Bowl victory. The odds-makers are going to inflate the Rams' opponent lines this August. Be careful! Keep an eye on the New England Patriots this August. Bill Belichick has always played to win in the preseason, evident by a 9-2 (81.8%) ATS record the last three seasons. NE went 3-0 ATS last year. Bill Belichick owns a 50-35 ATS record in the preseason.
If you watched the NFL for any number of years you should know that not every Head Coach cares about winning in the NFL Preseason. Different HC's have different agendas when playing in August and they all pretty much stick to their beliefs. I gave you four very good examples above that should hold true once again this upcoming preseason. Each coach handles the preseason differently. Some put a premium on the second game. For some it's the third or even the fourth back in the day. Some coaches just mess around and tinker with their lineups during the preseason and use it to evaluate their younger guys. But here's the key - and this is a big difference between the regular season and preseason football - most coaches are forthright about what the game plan will be. All you have to do is a little research from the local beat writers. Truth be told, this is getting more difficult to obtain than in years past
The NFL preseason schedule generally isn't too taxing on the teams and players. But there are quirks. The two teams that play the Hall of Fame Game are a good bet to fade in their next game. If some key players are a bit banged up then you can expect those guys to be watching in street clothes. Keep a close eye on how players from the Raiders and Jaguars come out of the Hall of Fame game. Also, watch for NFL teams who play on the West Coast (with little to no humidity), and then travel to play a high humidity East Coast game. It would be wise to fade those West Coast teams, especially if installed as a favorite. This has worked extremely well over the past few years with the new strict OTA rules in place.
Jeff's NFL Preseason system to consider in 2022
If you are looking for a very profitable system/angle in the NFL preseason here is one to consider this year. Teams that get crushed by 28+ points in their first preseason game are a great bet in their very next game (week two). Mostly because the public overreacts and the lines get super inflated. NFL teams in this role are cashing 59.8% over the past decade. Choose wisely!
Jeff's #1 NFL Preseason Team to "Play On" in 2022
Detroit Lions. Dan Campbell went 0-3 ATS last year in the preseason. I think we get good value on a team that has more depth than most people realize. I like playing second year head coaches in the preseason that had a winning ATS (11-6) record the year before. Just a side note. The Lions' offensive line is ranked No. 10 by Pro Football Focus heading into this season. Fantasy players will want to draft T.J. Hockenson (TE) and D.J. Chark as a late round sleeper at WR. Book it!
Jeff has earned a profit in 14 of the past 17 NFL seasons, fully documented. Jeff is a 7x NFL Top 10 Handicapper, including a handicapping title in the regular season and postseason. Early Bird Football season packages are now available!
Good Luck this Football Season!
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