Best to wait and bet the regular NFL season
Beyond death and taxes, the surer thing in life arrives this week reminding you what NOT to wager upon. We can be forgiven for putting a substantial show wager on Arrogate, submitting to extra Trump props or even betting against O.J. being paroled. But how many times must we succumb to betting the meaningless NFL preseason before waiting for the regular season to begin?
And it's not like anyone has a legitimate excuse. Year after year it's been proven NFL teams take advantage of its addicted fans by playing a guess list of players. Rookies and free agents audition for jobs while teams charge full price and expect everyone to pay full attention. The preferred list of sportsbooks offers no discounts or game line incentives vs. regular season play. Yes, you can win just as much money, but do you confidently know what you're paying for? Kind of like buying a Polo shirt but checking the label closely and noticing it's a "Pono". Through experience, we should all know much better.
Take a few Batting Cage Swings
OK, after six endless months it's good to see real, live football back to wager upon. But that doesn't mean we would be smart going full-tilt first stepping into the batter's box. If you must bet a few bucks to avoid falling asleep in the fourth quarter, major sportsbooks like Bovada, BetOnline and Diamond Sports have a full list of preseason action to choose from right up until the regular NFL season starts.
Thinking you're at advantage with any inside knowledge or trend analysis here is completely foolish. A coach's two main objectives are evaluating new talent while advancing cohesive team unity. Maybe throw in a few new test plays. And we might erase these objectives as most won't show their real offense until the regular season begins. Without truly admitting it, the biggest goal is not getting any projected starters hurt, nor disclose anyone unofficially penciled in to make the team. Just ask the Miami Dolphins, who lost their franchise QB Ryan Tannehill on the first day of practice. Practice!! Jeez.
Learning from the Pre-Season Past
Perhaps one of the wisest sayings ever created is "those who don't learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat it". I don't think it was inspired by wagering on preseason football but it could certainly apply.
It only took the very first preseason action and the NFL Hall of Fame Game last week to set the perfect example. The Arizona Cardinals stormed into Canton, Ohio with new experienced back-up QB Blaine Gabbert on the field. Within a few minutes the Cards built up a 15-0 lead. The surplus point was from a penalty on a conversion they took advantage of to practice a two-point play. With the Cowboys starting quarterback Dak Prescott likely in the locker room to protect him from getting a cold, you would think the game was over and your wager on the Cards was in the bank.
Dallas was a -2 favorite on a neutral field at most books with some including Bovada listing the ever-popular Cowboys as a -3 favorite. It would be soon proven as if delivered from a higher power paying attention to sports wagering Rule One: SHOP AROUND!!
The Cowboys back-up quarterbacks Kellen Moore and rookie Cooper Rush kept bettors tuned in by outplaying the Cards defensive back-ups the rest of the game. Ironically coming back to build an exact two-point lead at 20-18. As if scripted, the Cardinals rallied on their last drive but failed to get into the end zone. While anyone who bet this was nervously squirming on both ends, the Cards could have likely positioned themselves for a winning field goal. If you were not wagering it would be evident, they couldn't have cared less. Again, player health concerns and protecting the regular season playbook were the most important priorities.
Mary will show at Pre-Season Games
Then again, not all coaches will predictably run out the clock. Anyone who bet last season's Seattle Seahawks/Kansas City Chiefs nationally televised pre-season game will likely remember this or forever want to forget it.
In a pick-em game, the Chiefs were leading 16-9 with 3:00 left and simply had to run out the clock to win the game. Coach Andy Reid decided to put the ball up and therefore was intercepted by Seattle. Fourth-string quarterback Trevor Boykin led the Seahawks down the field and put up a "Hail Mary" touchdown pass with :02 seconds left. As this is pre-season, the Hawks successfully scored on a 2-point conversion in route to an 18-17 win. Exciting, but possible broken windows and a sleepless night for anyone dumb enough to invest serious money wagering on the Chiefs.
NFL Pre-Season Wagering Alternatives
In what may be a horrible analogy to smoking or overeating, there are reasonable alternatives to breaking this very unhealthy NFL preseason wagering habit. They include:
• Set a minimum budget. If you must, say 5-10% of your usual wagering activity for the next month wagering on football over the next 4-5 weeks.
• Invest in the future. Some interesting NFL future proposition wagers are on the board at many of the leading top online sportsbooks. For example, focus on an overlooked team to potentially make the playoffs or a candidate at undervalued odds to be NFL MVP. Plus, Major League Baseball is still playing regular season games for two more months. The Dodgers can't win every game.
• Glue your television remote control to your hand. I guarantee that without betting on preseason NFL games, there are far more interesting program alternative to maintain your interest. Without wagering on preseason games, I'm setting the line at -240 you'd be asleep midway in the 3rd quarter.
Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, inlcuding previews and picks from Glenn, click here.