How Coaches Can Be Handicapping Tools This NFL Preseason

Pete Carroll

Jay Pryce

Wednesday, August 3, 2016 4:17 PM GMT

Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016 4:17 PM GMT

Coaches can be a valuable handicapping tool for betting on the NFL preseason. Check out some trends and tips here so you can build some bank during the exhibition games.

Go on. Admit it. You bet on the NFL preseason. It’s okay. Every year bettors are excited for and intrigued by the upcoming campaign, particularly if it’s their favorite team in action. In all honesty, though, placing a wager on one is often the only way we can remain invested in an otherwise meaningless affair, particularly with personnel likely to play few minutes in the regular season dominating festivities. Nevertheless, there can be some valuable opportunities in the otherwise very unpredictable tune-ups for Super Bowl-seeking teams. Handicapping coaches may be your best angle. Here are a few tips worth considering if investing in the NFL preseason.

 

Coaches and Game Plan
Backing or fading specific head coaches is a common angle for many bettors wagering the preseason. Knowing their attitudes, goals, and plan of attacks for a particular game are possibly the most important handicapping factors for this time of year—they certainly offer some of the most consistency.

Most teams work on the foundational elements of their offensive or defensive schemes and packages throughout the preseason; ironing out the basic run plays, short passes, and stunts making up the core of play calling. Hence, this is one of the reasons bettors see such low over-unders (30s) in August.

With this in mind, stay abreast of team news as close to kickoff as possible for information regarding the game plan. Team beat writers are particularly valuable here. Often times, a coach will tip his hat to the media prior to a contest explaining what one particular unit needs to improve on, or reveal a critical position battle in play. Use it to your advantage. If a coach and is looking to solidify their backfield and plans to pound the ball, or calls out his O-line’s blocking in the trenches from the previous week, lean on the UNDER. Seeking a win is secondary in this instance; he’s not hoodwinking his opponents.

 

Coaches, Scheduling, and Experience
Use preseason scheduling and first-team status to your advantage, too. The rule of thumb here is that starters play one-quarter or less in game one, a full quarter or more in game two, the first half and possibly more in game three, and typically rest for the fourth and final game. One angle worth considering in Week 1 is backing veteran organizations and coaches known for their systematic approach. With second and third-stringers primarily staffing the field, they’ll likely make fewer errors and blunders associated with live action early on in August. We’re looking at coaches like John Harbaugh (7-1 SU), Bill Belichick (11-6 SU), Gary Kubiak (7-2 SU), and John Fox (10-4 SU) who each own better than .500 records in preseason openers.

For Week 3, considered the preseason’s “dress rehearsal,” lean on playoff teams from the prior year to cover the spread against an opponent that failed to reach the postseason. The gap between the two is likely larger than the tight 2-to-4 point lines bettors typically find in the preseason with starters playing the majority of snaps.

 

Coaches and Motivation        
Another angle to look out for in the final preseason week is to back winless teams. Coaches want their team to at chalk up at least one W prior to the start of the season to build morale and carry momentum into Week 1 of the regular season. Since 2003, no more than three organizations in any given season have ended with a goose egg; two teams is the average. Avoid those struggling to put up points in this spot, though. Those who go winless in the preseason rank in the bottom three in points scored, typically.

Some coaches are known for wanting to send their team into the regular season on a high note, while others have a history of writing the game off. The Bengals’ Marvin Lewis is 10-3 SU is Week 4 of the preseason, while the Rams’ Jeff Fischer is 12-6 SU and the Raiders’ Jack Del Rio 7-3 SU overall. Andy Reid (6-11) and Sean Payton (1-9), however, own a poor record in the final week.

Below is a table showing the ATS and O/U NFL preseason records for each 2016-17 head coach:

Coach

Win

Loss

Push

Over

Under

Push

Andy Reid

30

34

2

39

28

0

Ben McAdoo

0

0

0

0

0

0

Bill Belichick

40

36

1

51

34

0

Bill O'Brien

4

4

0

1

7

0

Bruce Arians

7

4

1

6

6

0

Chip Kelly

7

5

0

10

2

0

Chuck Pagano

7

9

0

7

9

0

Dan Quinn

2

2

0

2

2

0

Dirk Koetter

0

0

0

0

0

0

Doug Pederson

0

0

0

0

0

0

Gary Kubiak

22

12

2

23

11

2

Gus Bradley

6

6

0

3

9

0

Hue Jackson

2

2

0

1

3

0

Jack Del Rio

21

17

2

22

18

0

Jason Garrett

6

14

0

5

12

3

Jay Gruden

5

3

0

2

6

0

Jeff Fisher

37

40

0

43

33

1

Jim Caldwell

11

9

0

9

11

0

Jim Tomsula

0

4

0

2

2

0

John Fox

27

28

0

25

29

1

John Harbaugh

19

13

0

16

16

0

Marvin Lewis

28

23

1

25

27

0

Mike McCarthy

20

19

0

27

12

0

Mike McCoy

7

4

1

5

7

0

Mike Mularkey

0

0

0

0

0

0

Mike Tomlin

16

21

1

15

22

0

Mike Zimmer

7

2

0

4

4

1

Pete Carroll

27

13

1

22

19

0

Rex Ryan

14

14

0

19

9

0

Ron Rivera

11

9

0

10

10

0

Sean Payton

19

16

2

21

14

2

Todd Bowles

3

1

0

2

2

0

 

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