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Handicapping NFL Preseason Games

by | Last updated Jul 26, 2022 | nfl

The handicapping tools that are required for profitable NFL preseason betting are completely different then what you would use for your regular season football handicapping.

We’ve included some of the main tips that you should use to handicap the preseason football games.


These games are basically “exhibition games” where each coach uses this time to evaluate players or in the case of new head coach or offensive coach, to work on basic play execution. However, there a few coaches that don’t like to lose any game, whether they count or not. So make sure that you research each coach’s historical preseason won loss record. Another thing to keep an eye on is new coaches on teams that had losing records in the previous season. Team confidence is important and he may want to get a few wins under their belt before the regular season.


Normally in games 1, 2 and 4 the starters will play anywhere from a couple of series to a little more than the first quarter. Therefore, the second and third string players will be on the field for over half the game. Teams that have back up QBs with previous NFL experience are a huge plus and should play a very important factor in your wagering decision.

Game Plan

This is the only time that a coach will make his game plan available to the public. Want to know how long Manning will play? Want to know how long the offensive starters will be in? So where do you get this info? Scour the local newspaper for each NFL team. You’ll find all of this information and more is made available usually 2-3 days before kick off.

Scheduling Factors

Each season there are teams that have 5 scheduled match-ups instead of the standard 4. The teams playing 5 preseason games will sometimes have a huge scheduling advantage in their second preseason game where they are matched up with a team playing their first game of the season. Another scheduling edge you should look for is the days rest factor. Unlike when the real games begin, teams may play games 3-4 days apart instead of the normal 6-7. While admittedly the rosters are large and it may not have a huge impact on the team’s recovery time it will have a factor on the playing time of the starters. For example if a team played it’s starters for a quarter or longer in the previous game, they most likely will not play an extended period of time in this match up.

Shopping for Lines

Information on the playing time or lack thereof of key personnel whether rumor based or straight out of the head coach’s mouth can cause lines to move. Frequently, the spread will move a couple of points or more sending the line over a key number. The good thing is that not all linesmakers will move the spread at the same time allowing sharp bettors with multiple betting accounts to shop for the best line. Line shopping is key to profitable football betting no matter what the time of the year, so if you’re not doing it now then what are you waiting for? Use this to get started – Top Sportsbooks Rated by Category.

Good luck with your preseason bets! If you enjoyed this read, you may also want to check out our Handicappping NFL Football Games article!