The NFL preseason slate gets underway with the Hall of Fame Game between the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons Thursday, kicking off four weeks of exhibition football.
These tune-up games can be hard to watch, even more so if you don’t have action on the line, but there are some important tells and trends to keep an eye on as Week 1 approaches. Here are some things to watch during the preseason that will help you conquer the NFL Week 1 Sports Betting Odds:
There are a handful of new head coaches and even more turnover in the offensive and defensive coordinator ranks. Teams have been working in brand new systems and schemes on both sides of the ball since July and will get some dry runs during exhibition play.
Bettors should be mindful of how the first teamer and even second-string players adapt to these new game plans during the preseason. Starters generally get limited playing time in Week 1 of the preseason but that on-field action cranks up in Weeks 2 and 3.
If you see a quarterback firing blanks in a new offense or failing to connect and find chemistry with brand new receivers, put a pin in their Week 1 side or total. If they continue to struggle before the regular season kickoff, bounce on their season-opening odds and fade or play the Under. The same could go for defenses making switches from 3-4 to 4-3 or visa versa. If they look comfortable in the new system and succeeding during the warm-up games, there could be value waiting in their Week 1 odds.
Injuries and ailments are just part of training camp and the preseason schedule. It seems like almost every year football bettors watch at least one elite-level talent lose their season to a severe injury. You also find cluster injuries, which are even more impactful, with a number of players at the same position going down. A perfect example is the New York Giants’ receivers either getting suspended or hurt before the preseason even begins.
Monitoring NFL camps has never been easier with a huge amount of coverage and instant updates via social media. If you happen upon these significant injuries, there could be value rushing to your sportsbook and trying to beat the bookies on their line adjustments. Week 1 odds, season win totals, divisional futures and even player props could be ripe for the picking if you can get that valuable info fast enough and lay your bets.
The preseason is a preview to the regular season, and often times it can offer a glimpse at players who would not normally get much field time. Take reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes for example: he shone during the 2017 preseason and parlayed that into a starting job in 2018, showing his explosiveness in the exhibition slate.
The preseason is a great time for these younger players to gain confidence in a none-pressure situation and add valuable game reps to the training camp activities. Keep an eye out for overachievers, especially at the skill positions, and see how their improvements can transition into betting value when looking at Week 1 and beyond.