LAS VEGAS — When the NFL preseason kicks off Thursday, the one motion Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger may get is a TV interview with a sideline reporter. Roethlisberger isn’t anticipated to play a lot in any respect in August.
Even earlier than he suffered a proper shoulder pressure in follow final week, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was additionally unlikely to play within the Corridor of Fame Sport at Canton, Ohio. In a battle of backup quarterbacks, Pittsburgh is a 1.5-point favourite towards Dallas, and the overall is 33.
The chance is excessive that the sport shall be boring, however there shall be wagering motion, and quite a lot of it, just because the NFL is again and the betting public is greater than prepared for soccer season.
Consider it or not, a number of sharp bettors are on the point of intention and hearth, opposite to a typical notion that solely degenerates and the insane will wager on preseason video games.
“I don’t suppose anyone is loopy for betting it,” DraftKings sportsbook director John Avello mentioned. “In no way. I disagree. There are some edges to preseason, and I feel there are benefits to taking part in it.”
For essentially the most half, preseason video games aren’t about analyzing statistics or the star quarterbacks, so neglect about Roethlisberger, Prescott, Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers and focus elsewhere. It is a totally different world.
When handicapping video games in August, angles are much more essential than analytics and motivation for coaches is the largest query mark. Who desires to win and who couldn’t care much less?
Successful at all times means extra to Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who’s driving a 17-game preseason win streak (15-1-1 ATS) since 2016. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has a 20-5 preseason report.
“The primary concern for handicapping the preseason could be the coaches’ strategy to the video games,” skilled handicapper Marc Lawrence mentioned. “It’s at all times about the way in which they select to assault the preseason.”
Saints coach Sean Payton is 7-14 in his previous 21 preseason video games, but his cavalier angle might change this yr resulting from a quarterback duel between Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill. Payton may make his game-plan data clear.
Chuck Edel, knowledgeable bettor from Las Vegas, mentioned he spends a number of hours every week throughout the preseason watching press conferences and studying newspaper tales in a seek for insightful quotes about how coaches plan to make use of their starters and the way a lot emphasis is likely to be placed on profitable a specific recreation.
“It’s all in regards to the data as a result of that’s the place there’s a bonus,” Edel mentioned. “With a brand new coach, I might see City Meyer taking part in his playing cards otherwise. He’s altering the entire system. I’d assume any person like that’s going to play his starters greater than a veteran coach.”
The Jaguars’ Meyer is one in every of seven new head coaches within the league. The others are Dan Campbell (Lions), David Culley (Texans), Robert Saleh (Jets), Nick Sirianni (Eagles), Arthur Smith (Falcons) and Brandon Staley (Chargers).
There was no preseason in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this yr’s shortened schedule — lowered from 4 video games to 3 for all groups besides the Cowboys and Steelers — might imply veteran quarterbacks will see much less taking part in time than standard. It additionally might imply the dress-rehearsal recreation, when the starters routinely play essentially the most and video games get nearer to what’s seen within the common season, will transfer to the second week as a substitute of the third or be eradicated fully by some coaches.
“Count on to see backup QBs get loads of time throughout the first two weeks,” Lawrence mentioned. “Publicity for beginning quarterbacks is much less seemingly, particularly with concern for damage, other than rookie starters or these adapting to a brand new workforce and a brand new playbook.”
It will likely be intriguing to see how Meyer makes use of quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 decide within the draft, in August. In concept, Lawrence is competing with Gardner Minshew for the beginning job.
The Colts, who misplaced starter Carson Wentz to a foot damage final week, have to commerce for a starter or develop one instantly from a depth chart that features Jacob Eason, Sam Ehlinger and Brett Hundley.
Sharp cash isn’t fiction within the preseason, nevertheless it’s on a relative scale. The wagering limits at a majority of books are round $2,000 for sides and $1,000 for totals, that means bookmakers are tapping the brakes. If bettors have been at all times dropping, the bounds wouldn’t be so low.
Bettors ought to monitor line strikes — some numbers will run as a lot as 5 factors primarily based on sensible cash.
“It’s essential on a regular basis, however getting your finest quantity is essential within the preseason,” Avello mentioned.
With backup quarterbacks and reserves combating for roster spots deciding most video games, betting outcomes are generally as random because the spin of a roulette wheel. Nonetheless, there’s no have to see a psychiatrist since you’re betting the NFL preseason — there are many sharp methods to money tickets.
“I like preseason,” Edel mentioned. “If the entire yr is like preseason, I’d be pleased.”