A seasoned degenerate would say there is no bad time for NFL betting. But there are some circumstances in Week 1 where value will increase as we approach game time.
Watching for Recent Line Movement
A great tool when trying to beat the NFL odds is the ability to track line history. Tracking the recent line movement for the game you’re interested in is the first step in becoming a better bettor. For instance say you really like the Texans in Week 1 against the Chiefs. Houston opened as a -2 ½ favorite, but the line has been creeping downward all summer, and multiple books have different odds anywhere from -2 to a PK with the juice in favor of Houston. If you wait until it seems the line movement is over, and shop for the perfect NFL Odds, you’re miles closer than you were when the NFL Odds opened.
We have seen some recent line movement in some other games too, which I talk about in another article, but there are other games which haven’t budged. Some games haven’t seen line movement in months. These are the games where it might not be a bad idea to lock in odds right now. Even though it’s always a risk, that game might not have been bet yet, and there could still be some gems out there, especially since we are still in the early part of the preseason.
Take the game between the Colts and Bills. Buffalo looks like a really good home underdog value at +2 ½, but no one has touched it yet. People want to see the Bills quarterback situation play itself out before they put their money on Buffalo. However, I believe the time is coming where that line will drop some, so if you like the Bills, take them now.
As I mentioned above, the injury factor is the biggest unknown for those placing Week 1 bets this early in the preseason. The second and third preseason games are the most important for all of the teams, and starters normally get their most playing time. One sprained ankle or tweaked groin could put a major starter in jeopardy of missing Week 1. Or as the Redskins learned, their starting tight end could break his leg and be out for the season. Just for the record, the preseason is too damn long.
It’s a hard thing to judge, but in the end if you’ve held off this long without locking in any Week 1 NFL picks, just wait until after Week 3 of the preseason. It won’t be much longer than a week and a half from now, but after Week 3 the risk of a major starter injury drops significantly. By all means if the value is there right now and you don’t think it’s going to stay, then place your bets. However, if not, just tough it out another week or so, slugger.