Value is always a good thing whether you are buying a loaf of bread or betting on a National Football League game. Value is not tied to the price alone, but more importantly what you are getting and how well it serves your needs.
When wagering on an NFL game, it doesn’t matter if you are laying double-digits or getting three points on the spread … value is determined by how likely the point spread is to come into play. During the preseason, point spreads have to be evaluated differently than they are in the regular season. Getting 1½ points on the line in a preseason game is more significant than getting 4½ points in a regular season game.
Because during the preseason the last thing either side wants to see is overtime. Coaches have game plans not designed to necessarily win the game, but more importantly to work their players into a cohesive unit and get film or marginal athletes to determine final roster spots. No coach wants to submit his squad to extra plays and risk injuries while playing for a meaningless final score in overtime.
Thursday night, one of the three plays subscribers to this site got was the Houston Texans over the Kansas City Chiefs. Inside the final minute of play the Chiefs had driven to the one-yard-line while trailing by seven points, 17-10. The spread on this game offered the Texans 2½ points, which was gold when taking into account that if the Chiefs had completed that drive with a touchdown they would have won or lost by one point. There is no doubt that Andy Reid would have directed his team to go for a two point conversion.
In the regular season, a possible tying touchdown needing only a single point to push a contest to overtime would almost certainly dictate a one-point conversion kick and just as likely push the final margin in the game to three points or more. The certain win with more than one point on the spread during the preseason would have been mooted in the regular season by the importance of the final score which in all likelihood would have been determined to be by a field goal or more.
Now, for those of you who like to play the exception game, it is true that if Kansas City would have scored that touchdown Thursday night and made or missed the two point conversion that they could have picked up a fumble and run it in for a point spread clearing score. It is also true that an overtime game could end with one side winning by nine points by virtue of taking a three point lead on their initial overtime drive and then intercepting a pass or picking up a fumble and scoring a touchdown.
But, for those of us that live in the real world and believe that being with the odds is the right side to bank on, having more than a point on the spread in a preseason game with an opponent scoring a late “tying” touchdown is money.
Now, what does that mean for wagering in the preseason?
If in fact you have a game that you like the favorite and they are laying 1½ points on the spread, buy the half-point off that number and lay only a single point. This rule applies only in August games … but value is found when the product and price are both factored into the equation.