In years past, it was a lot easier to understand the flow of an NFL preseason. In Week 1, you may not see the starters play at all, and typically only for a series or two if they do. The other three quarters or more of the game we tend to see the backups who are fighting for roster spots. In the second game, you see a little more of the starters. This is still only a few series at most. The only game where starters play at least a quarter or more tends to be Game 3 of the preseason. The fourth and final game was reserved for the guys fighting for those last few spots on the roster or a place on the practice squad.
That all changed in the 2020 offseason. Going forward, each team will now only have three preseason games. How teams handle these games is likely to change. The last game is still likely to feature the guys fighting for those final roster spots, which means Week 2 of the preseason is likely to be the game where the starters play the whole first quarter or first half. The first game will probably feature the starters for a few series, but the bulk will be handled by the second- and third-string players.
Will every coach follow this pattern? We have no way to know right now, but figuring that out will be the way to gain in edge betting on preseason football on Tipico Sportsbook.
Key to betting preseason football
The key to betting preseason football is information. Information is where the edge comes from in the betting markets. How long will the starting quarterback be on the field? Will the offensive and defensive starters play more than a few series? Is the backup quarterback a former starter or a wet-behind-the-ears rookie making his first appearance at the NFL level? Is the backup going to play the whole game? or are they splitting it between him and the third-string quarterback? These questions are all valuable nuggets of information we need to know. In the regular season, you can reasonably assume the starters are all going to play as many downs as the team needs in order to win the game. In the preseason, the goal is not always to win the game. Sometimes the goal is to get some experience for a young QB or some first-year linebackers. Maybe coaches want to see two cornerbacks on tape more, so they get extra plays with the second unit. Maybe this is a veteran team playing and the major concern is just to make sure none of the starters end up injured before the first game. This list of questions is by no means exhaustive, but it does illustrate the problem here. We can’t use the same analysis and thought process in the preseason that we use during the regular season to make our bets.
The answer to each of the questions posed above will have an effect on what the true odds of either team winning should be. Unlike the regular season when we are bombarded daily with news and information related to the hot stories in the NFL, the national news media gives us very little insight into the preseason. The best place to find this information is by following the local beat writers for each NFL team. These are the men and women at practice each day, going to all the interviews and talking with sources around the organization. They are usually the ones to follow in order to get the low down on who is going to be playing and how much we should expect them to play. The first to winning at preseason football is to have better information. The local beat writers are the skeleton key to help you unlock the secrets to give you that edge.