NFL Preseason Betting: Get Ahead of the Game!

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Matt Tenby
Matt has been a writer for American Betting Experts since 2019. He loves to watch, bet on and write about soccer but is also a huge NBA and NFL fan.

The NFL preseason is upon and that means an opportunity to get in on the action with NFL preseason betting.

If you’re like the rest of us, you can hardly wait for the NFL to return in September. Lucky for us, the preseason kicks off the first week of August, giving us our first look at returning favorites and promising rookies on each team’s roster.

Let’s break down betting on preseason and if this yearly tradition has any real implications for the season at large.

Why Do They Play Preseason Games in the NFL?

The grim reality is that the NFL preseason is really nothing more than a money grab by the league and its many stadiums to get you to throw down on expensive tickets, parking, and concessions. They also create unnecessary opportunities for players to be hurt before they can even lace up for a real game.

Negativity aside, however, there are a few reasons these games are played beyond the purely capitalistic. The preseason gives teams the chance to plug and play with different talents. If they want to see how a QB and receiver mesh, they can try out all the combinations they want and there is really nothing on the line.

NFL Preseason Betting

The games, from the coaching perspective, are to be used as an evaluation tool. The reasons vary from coach to coach, but they are mainly looking to acclimate rookies, determine who will be the starters, try out new plays, and get players into game mode so they are ready come Week 1.

Further, some teams intentionally sit key players in the preseason all but guaranteeing they lose. Why? Because they don’t want to injure them. The Colts famously did so with Peyton Manning for years. They knew that come game time he would be good to go.

Is There Any Correlation Between Preseason and Regular Season in the NFL?

People often wonder:

  • “Is there any correlation between preseason and regular season performance in the NFL?”
  • “Does a team that wins in the preseason often go on to clean up in the regular season?”
  • “Does a losing team ever go on to win it all?”

These are all good questions.

Looking at the numbers, according to the NY Times, in the last 10 years, 18 teams have gone undefeated in the preseason. In the regular season, those teams went on to have a combined regular season record of 130-158. A losing record.

NFL Preseason Bets Shouldn’t Reflect Regular Season Bets

Of the teams that won the AFC and NFC Championship between 2007 and 2012, only six had winning records during the preseason and only two went on to win the Super Bowl. Since those numbers were recorded, the trend has stayed largely the same.

Sure, there are some cases where the teams who did well in the preseason also went on to win in the postseason. The Seahawks won the Super Bowl after a perfect preseason and the Broncos went 13-3 after a perfect preseason in 2005.

Denver Broncos 2005

More often than not, a good preseason does not have any influence on the regular season, though. Look at the Commanders, who in 2013 fell to 3-13 after a perfect preseason. Ditto for the Rams in 2011, who swept the pre-season and flopped in the regular season, winning only two games.

The Lions are maybe the best example. In 2008, they swept the preseason and then went 0-16. The Chicago Bears didn’t win a single preseason game in 2010, yet they went on to play in the NFC Championship Game.

So, is NFL Preseason Betting Worth it?

What does all of this tell you? That there is no correlation. Flipping a coin is a better way to gauge how well a team will do. However, if you are watching the preseason very intently, you can make a good guess as to how the team will perform as long as you evaluate each player and how the team is meshing.

It isn’t about the outcome of the game; it is about how the team looks overall that really matters. NFL preseason betting is tough, but there is potential for winning.

How to Bet on the NFL Preseason

Nevertheless, people bet on the preseason. Why? Because they can! The lines move quite a bit in the preseason because just like everyone else, oddsmakers have trouble making heads or tails of the teams. That often places point spreads at or near 3.

Most bookmakers will limit bettors to 10% or 20% of a maximum bet they would take in the regular season. Again, anything can happen in these games even more so than in regular season games. So this is one of the few instances where the oddsmakers don’t necessarily have the jump on you.

The most popular odds for each game are:

  • Spread
  • Total (Over/Under)
  • Money Line

There are also additional odds like player props and team props. Pay attention to the details and you might be able to sneak in a few winning bets before the season even starts. Several sportsbooks also offer live sports betting if you want to make up-to-the-minute bets.

Where Can You Bet on NFL Preseason Games?

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