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Are you ready for some football?

You BET you are!

And the managers and workers at Las Vegas’ Sports Books could not be happier.

And this year’s edition of the pre-season opener could be a preview of the season’s final game next February as a pair of Playoff teams get things underway. And both teams have long been surrounded by controversy.

The Dallas Cowboys will open summer football against the Cincinnati Bengals with much attention being paid to former Cowboy wide receiver Terrell Owens making his debut with Cincinnati.

At least in theory.

And therein lies one of the keys to betting on preseason football.

The purpose of the pre season is to allow for the evaluation of plays, players and schemes under game conditions as coaching staffs make decisions in preparation for the regular season. Preseason games count for nothing in terms of wins and losses despite what you may hear from coaches.

Many coaches will say they want to win every game but that is nothing more than just coach speak. The reality is that coaches rarely play these preseason games with the major goal being to earn a win on the scoreboard. Sure, the starters may play longer than the opponents in certain games but often these games are decided in the fourth quarter by third, fourth or fifth stringers and often players who won’t even be on the opening day rosters. If a coach truly wants to win these games, he would reinsert the starters in a close game in the final quarter.

That’s not to say that you can’t have betting success during the preseason as often personnel situations create significant advantages for a team such as battles for backup quarterbacks between veteran signal callers when facing a team that has a battle between relatively untested backups.

Or situations in which coaches openly state an intention to give extended playing time to the starters when facing a team that plans to give extensive work to the backups with an eye towards making decisions on depth.

The key to betting success in the preseason is often in evaluating the information that comes out of team camps. Coaches will be more forthright in discussing their team’s strengths, weaknesses and areas of concern than they ever will be when the games start to count.

In looking at this Sunday’s Hall of Fame game there would seem to be more edges on the side of the Cincinnati Bengals. Currently the Bengals are favored by 2 points over Dallas with the Total at 32.

Most of these edges are intangible in nature and would include the proximity of the Canton, Ohio site which likely will mean more Bengals supporters will be at the game and also scheduling dynamics. The game will end late Sunday night and Dallas has their next preseason game just a few days later, on Thursday. The Bengals have a full week before they next play on Sunday.

The Bengals may also want to give TO more looks than normal since he has only recently joined the team and did not obviously participate in any of the offseason team workouts.

But football finally is back, even if only in exhibition form. The real season starts in about a month and over the next few weeks forecasts will be offered for the eight Divisions with our projected Playoff field being forecast on the eve of the season that begins on Thursday, Sept. 9 with a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship game between Minnesota and New Orleans.


About the Author

Andy Iskoe

Owner and author of “The Logical Approach,” Andy Iskoe has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football.

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