Twenty-two National Football League teams are in action tonight as the league opens the first full weekend of preseason action. Three games on tonight’s schedule offer wagering opportunities according to our work.
There are some major differences between locating winners in the regular and postseason as there are in the preseason. First, talent in the preseason is not nearly as important as coaching philosophy. Would it surprise you to know that the quarterback respected by many as one of the best ever, Peyton Manning, played on teams with horrible preseason records?
While a member of the Indianapolis Colts, his coaching staff and the organization were certain that when the bell rang in September, Manning and his cohorts would be ready to challenge for a Super Bowl ring. They used the preseason like many great teams do, preparing for the games that count with little regard for the final score.
In the preseason coaches also tell the truth. They will willingly share with the media what their plans are for a game without concern that such information could be used against them by an opponent. If a team is going to sit all their starters to take long looks at marginal players, or working in a new system to iron out the kinks before the season starts, coaches will honestly reveal that gameplan.
In the regular season, coaches are as coy as a spy on foreign turf.
New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick will put players on his injury list that he knows will be 100% by Sunday. If a team has an injured key player, particularly a quarterback, they will often announce his availability is a game time decision even when they are certain he will be able to play or not. This devious behavior can force an opponent to prepare for multiple players.
In the preseason, what a coach says can be taken to the bank.
If the Denver Broncos announce projected starting quarterback Joe Flacco is not going to play, he won’t. In the regular season, Denver, or any other team, would love to create a distraction by throwing doubt on who will be on the field come Sunday.
Okay, so how can we turn this information into bottom line profits?
If a point spread moves out of sync with public opinion and perceived talent levels, one must know that the books are operating from information more in tune with what is going to happen than simple opinion. For example, tonight the Philadelphia Eagles host the Tennessee Titans. The Eagles, winners of a Super Bowl two years ago and a playoff team last season, are a solid prospect to challenge for it all again this season.
The Titans are a marginal team, good enough to be considered a playoff team by some of their most ardent fans, but carrying actual Super Bowl odds of 80 to 1.
The Eagles are approaching tonight’s game like an established winner does, leaving their prize quarterback, Carson Wentz, on the sidelines while other athletes are evaluated.
As for the Titans, they will no doubt approach this game like a team challenged to get wins … caring more about the final score than their opponent.
These facts are not on the radar of the betting public, who are backing the Eagles tonight. But, these elements are prompting the people that know the most, the bookmakers, to fish for Philadelphia money by dropping the opening 3½ point spread favoring the Eagles to 1½ points.
Now, there is another factor in play here. A point-and-a-half is worth at least 3½ points in the regular season.
Because no team wants to play overtime in the preseason and if a late touchdown is gained by a team trailing by seven points, that team is either going to win or lose by one point when they go for the two-point conversion.
Yep, it is preseason, a time when some think there are no discernable advantages available … of course, they are betting on the Eagles tonight.
Qoxhi Picks: Tennessee Titans (+1½) over Philadelphia Eagles