NFL Picks: Getting Ready for Preseason Betting

Jason Lake

Tuesday, July 21, 2015 6:04 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jul. 21, 2015 6:04 PM UTC

Are you ready to make some football picks? We're less than three weeks away from the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, so it's time to get a move on with your handicapping.

Well, that was a refreshing summer vacation. What's that? You're still on a beach somewhere wearing your flip-flops and drinking a questionable Mexican beer? With a lime in it? Time to put down the zinc oxide, compañero, because it's football season again. The Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers kick off the 2015 campaign on Sunday, Aug. 9 (8:00 p.m. ET, NBC), at the Hall of Fame Game in Canton.

What's that? You're a little uncertain about betting on preseason football? That's understandable – if you're brand new to betting on sports. But if you're at all familiar with the process, there isn't much more you need to learn to make the transition to exhibition games. We've already given you some tips for how to bet preseason point spreads, and preseason totals, too. Now let's dig a little deeper and reveal the even bigger value that comes from making these faux football picks.


Virtual Jameis
As we speak, the players themselves are reporting for training camp – those who aren't holding out, at least. They're getting prepared for the new season, making sure they're in peak physical and mental condition, working on their plays, and doing some early homework on their upcoming opponents for 2015. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers even bought a virtual-reality football simulator to help QB Jameis Winston hit the ground running.

Think of preseason football as your virtual-reality simulator. Even if you completely ignore the betting value that comes with exhibition NFL odds, the exercise of making NFL picks in the preseason will prepare you for the “real thing,” which starts Thursday, Sept. 10 (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC) with a game at Foxboro between the Steelers and the New England Patriots. The more work you do in August, the more you'll be ready for September.


A Fierce Pancake
And this is work, too, if you're doing it right. Betting on football is a competition between you and the rest of the marketplace. To gain a competitive advantage, you need to increase your knowledge base – which you're already doing by hitting the Interwebz and reading these articles. Who are the rookies that got drafted this past spring? How are other players getting along with their new teams? Who's holding out? Who's injured? The sooner you get a jump on the competition, the larger your profit margin will be.

The information you pick up now will also be beneficial downstream, especially when it comes to the back-up quarterbacks. It's only a matter of time before some poor soul gets driven into the turf and has to be replaced by a second-stringer. Then that guy will get pancaked and replaced by the third-stringer. Preseason football is when you get to see these back-ups in action, and if you've done your homework, you'll have a big leg up on the recreational bettors who are still face-down in their nachos. It's their money that's up for grabs, after all. So how much do you want it?

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