As the dog days of summer pass us by, my excitement for the upcoming football season builds. As I’ve said numerous times, I do not think NFL sides are beatable long-term. Before you start sending me your record from last year, what I mean is beating NFL sides just isn’t sustainable over a long period of time. Even if it is profitable, there is nowhere near the advantage that there is in NCAA Football sides. That said, the NFL Preseason is an entirely different story.
Last preseason was one of the most profitable that I’ve had over my 3 decades of betting sports. At one point, I had won 15 of 18 plays and most of the games weren’t even close. As crazy as it sounds, in a smaller market like preseason NFL, I don’t judge the strength of the play on how much it wins or loses…but by how much I beat the closing number. For example, take the NBA Summer League this year. We beat the closing number on sides by 2-3 points. And yet as I calculate my figures for units on the entire summer league, we landed right at breakeven.
Information is key in preseason games. These games are exhibition and don’t actually count, so coaches obviously approach them that way. They want to avoid injuries and frequently the starters will only play one possession. Coaches are sending in players throughout the depth chart to assess them for cuts. These changes in personnel produce wild line movement that you will never see in a regular season game, short of Tom Brady breaking his arm in practice. Last year, there were games that opened +6 and closed -3.5. So, good information is paramount. And over the last 27 years, I have developed great intel….which translates to a meaningful edge that makes me salivate at these volatile lines.
A question that I get a lot is “Hey Billy, I got +6 and now it’s -3. Should I hedge and how much?” I don’t hedge simply because of the size of the middle I have. If we own a ticket for +6, betting the -3 is giving our value away that we have with the +6 ticket. So the answer is no, I do not hedge single game bets.
The casinos and bookmakers are no dummies when it comes to the NFL preseason. They will let me bet 100 times more on an NFL regular season games than they do on a preseason game. So, as the summer days wind down and visions of pigskins swirl in our heads, remember this: if you aren’t part of the inside, then you are on the outside.
Preseason NFL starts on Thursday with the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio…so get ready!