The NFL pre-season is fast approaching as the time for NFL football is only a few weeks away. The training camps opened on July 27. Over the next two weeks, teams begin the schedule of curfews, diets and two a day gut rending workouts to shape up the the coming season. All of the 32 teams will work toward winning and getting to the playoffs.
Pre-season games are like kissing your sister. Fans can learn little from the exhibition games. The real reason for the scrimmages is to evaluate personnel and make starting lineup evaluations. Last years starters are on the field for a few plays to avoid getting rusty for the games during the season. For many this will be the only bench time they see. This is the time for reserve players and rookies to strut their stuff, get the snaps and hope they land a roster spot.
The football line makers for these games are shooting blind and are forced to set spreads as if the games were real. An example of how hard it is to predict these games is the game scheduled for August 23rd between the Rams and the Chiefs. The over/under will be set with the knowledge that KC's defense was one of the five worst last season and the Rams were ranked 3rd in offense.
The bookies are guessing as the starters will only see about half the game and the outcome is wide open. During the second half, the field will be filled with unproven players. This situation will give rise to an outcome that is far from a proven or predictable event. The bookies guess and so do the players. This is the one time during the season that the bookies are at a disadvantage in setting the line. When the new players take the field who knows what will happen as there may be a star out there or quickly cut new players. So the following advice is strike while the iron is hot or to say it more frankly, strike while the bookies are as blind as the man on the street with a seeing eye German Shepard.
The first game to stake a wager on is the Giants vs the Panthers. The Giants were dismal last year with a 4-12 season failed to cover the spread in their last eight games. However they have Kurt Warner for this season and the rookie Eli Manning and a new coach Tom Coughlin who has a 16-8-1 record against the spread in pre-season. Bet on the Giants if the Panthers are favored as this team may be far better this season than last.
The Falcons vs the Ravens, bet on the Falcons if Vick is healthy as they should return to their playoff potential from two years ago. In Vick's first two seasons the Falcon record was 7-1 against the spread. With Vick back, the wager should be on the Falcons.
With the bookies guessing in pre-season, the punter can bank a few dollars for the real season when the books quit guessing. It would be nice to start the season with a head start against the books. Pro football wagering is difficult enough during the real season, but during exhibition time, the books are at a strong disadvantage as they have to use last years stats, but the teams are only playing with starters half of each pre-season game. This can make the advantage swing to the better as the field of want-a-bes is not what the books are counting on. Do not let the pre-season games go unbet.