NFL football is back.
While the regular season is still about a month away (Sept. 5), NFL training camps are underway and the preseason begins tonight.
The Denver Broncos visit the Atlanta Falcons for the 2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio kicking off at 8 p.m. ET on Aug. 1. You can watch the game on NBC.
The rest of the league won’t hit the gridiron to start playing preseason games until Aug. 8. However, the 2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game represents your first opportunity to start betting on NFL games this season.
Of course, the preseason differs greatly from the NFL regular season.
In the NFL regular season, winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. Whereas, in the four-week preseason, a team’s win and loss record matters very little, if at all.
Who wants to win NFL preseason games?
There are numerous established NFL coaches who treat preseason games like they are practice scrimmages, paying more attention to execution than the outcome.
However, there are others who believe football is a game that should always be played to win. Plus, new coaches in their first season with a team may look to win preseason games to help build a winning culture.
You won’t see starters risk injury by playing much past the first quarter for most teams, particularly in the first few preseason games. Teams dive deep into the depth chart, making it difficult to predict performance.
It’s hard to pick winners under these conditions, but that means it’s equally as difficult for oddsmakers to set lines.
Standard NFL preseason point spreads
Most of the time, NFL preseason point spreads are limited to three points on either side.
Oddsmakers look at who has signed as a free agent and the news coming out of training camp, including who is holding out or injured. But for most NFL preseason games the sportsbooks in the now 11 states with some form of legal sports betting stick to that standard three-point spread.
If you’ve been paying attention to a particular team, you may be able to take advantage when sportsbooks stick to these standard lines.
Tonight’s 2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game is a pretty good example.
2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game odds
Here’s a look at the point spread you’ll find at four of the top sportsbooks in the country. This includes FanDuel Sportsbook and SugarHouse Sportsbook in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Plus, NJ sports betting operators DraftKings Sportsbook and BetStars NJ.
|2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game||FanDuel||SugarHouse||DraftKings||BetStars|
|Denver Broncos||-2.5 (-110)||-2.5 (-114)||-2.5 (-114)||-2.5 (-118)|
|Atlanta Falcons||+2.5 (-110)||+2.5 (-106)||+2.5 (-106)||+2.5 (+100)|
As you can see, the 2.5 point spread is the same at these sportsbooks. However, the odds differ depending on where you make the bet. That highlights the need to shop around for the best price on a bet, even during the NFL preseason.
What you’ll also see is oddsmakers have pretty much stuck around that standard three-point spread for this game. That generally means the sportsbooks have very little idea how these teams will perform this early in the NFL campaign, giving a slight edge to sharp sports bettors who do their own research on the teams.
If you’re going to be betting on the NFL this season, it’s a good idea to watch preseason games. Think of it as if you’re doing research for your weekly NFL picks once the season starts.
Boost your NFL sports betting bankroll
However, it may also be an opportunity to boost your sports betting bankroll heading into the NFL regular season.
- Identify coaches who are likely to try to win preseason games
- Pay attention to where a team’s roster is at in terms of free agents, holdouts, and injuries
- Look for standard point spreads where it appears a sportsbook may have missed something
- Shop around for the best price on a bet
Do all that, and you’ll be on your way to a winning NFL betting season before it really even starts.