Two teams with two brand new head coaches are poised to square off in the first week of the preseason, as the Bucs head to Philadelphia to play the Eagles. The NFL Odds makers have the Eagles as a -3 favorite with a total of 37½. Can we get value from this game with no prior stats on the head coaches and how they treat the preseason?
Spread off limits
For starters, don't touch the spread in this one with a ten-foot pole. If you forced me to make a lean on it I would probably say the Bucs, but there is no way to get any sort of advantage with two new head coaches.
Brand new head coaches have been very average in the preseason in their first year as a head coach in the NFL dating back to 2010. Brand new head coaches who have no prior head coaching experience are 23-24 since 2010 in the NFL preseason.
However, that trend has been noticeably changing over the last few seasons. Last season Todd Bowles was the only brand new head coach in the NFL and he went 3-1 SU in the preseason. Before that in 2014, Jay Gruden and Mike Zimmer combined to take the preseason at 7-1.
However, among coaches who are still employed today, between 2008 and 2013 when they were brand new NFL coaches, new coaches went 11-25 in the preseason. Is the recent turnaround a new establishing trend of new head coaches taking the preseason more seriously, or will we see the four brand new coaches be a pretty good play this preseason?
We have two new head coaches in this preseason game and the fact that it's Week 1 makes it even more complicated. However, there is a way to make money off this game and it comes with the total at NFL odds of 37½.
The Sharp Pick
Since 2012, the first Thursday of the preseason has been a very good day to bet the under. The under is 14-9-1 since 2012 on the first Thursday of the preseason and it has been even better lately. Over the last two years, the under is 9-3 on the Thursday of preseason Week 1.
This can be for several reasons, but two new head coaches might help that. In the Eagles' case they are installing an entirely new offense with a new play caller and new offensive personnel. There is a ton of room for error on the Eagles' side of things offensively and we haven't even gotten into the fact that this is Week 1 of the preseason and the starters either won't be playing, or playing very little.
For the Bucs, while their offensive coordinator is taking over the head-coaching role, there is still room for error there as well. After Jameis Winston and the offense scores on their first one or two drives, they are not going to be in the game.
Mike Glennon and Ryan Griffin will be in for mop up duty after that and neither present much offensive upside with out the likes of Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson out of the game. I'll be surprised if Jackson even sees the field in the first week of the preseason.
With Doug Martin out of the game early as well, the Bucs aren't going to have much to offer on offense after the six-minute mark in the first quarter. With the Eagles probably in the teens in scoring for the game, along with the under trends in the first week of the preseason, take the under ar your NFL pick.
Free NFL Pick: Under 37½ -110
Best Line Offered: at Bet365