Getting Ready To Handicap NFL Pre-Season

by Kelso Sturgeon
Contributing Sportsbook Editor

While some - no, make that most - bettors do not get involved in the NFL pre-season, falsely believing one can't beat it, which in reality is an old wives tale not support by the facts. I have been successful in the pre-season since the Internet opened the world to information that in the past had been known only to bookmakers via their very sophisticated information pipeline.

The pre-season facts:

1 - While the NFL has tried to hoodwink fans into believing the pre-season is real, it is not. Opposing coaches usually converse before each game, explain to one another what they hope to accomplish in this glorified scrimmage, and then work together to do just that.

2 - For the first two games of the pre-season most coaches agree not to try trick plays, or spend the night with their quarterbacks throwing bombs.

3 - Every coach has a pre-season record and it tells bettors whether they take August seriously or merely work on various elements to fine-tune things for the regular season. For instance, Seattle Seahawk Coach Pete Carroll has an overall 11-5 straight up (SU) record in the pre-season and is a perfect 8-0 the past two seasons. At the other end of the spectrum is Atlanta's Mike Smith who is 7-17 overall and 1-11 in the Falcons' last three pre-seasons.

4 - There is anecdotal evidence there is an edge in betting just the first half of an NFL pre-season game because that is when starters play for longer periods and then head for the bench, leaving the second half with a mix of players whose level of talent is still to be defined.

5 - Struggling teams that need to sell tickets are under pressure to win in the pre-season and that means their coaching staffs more often than not will try to get as many wins as possible. A winning pre-season, which actually means nothing, can take the heat off a coach who knows he is a strong candidate to be fired if his team does not improve.

These are but a few of the elements one can use to pick winners during the pre-season and all the information one needs is available on the Internet. It just takes time to find it.

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