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Years ago, we used to think that anyone that bet NFL preseason football was only doing so because they haven’t been able to do so in nearly six months.

But today, smart bettors have come to realize there’s gold in them thar hills. Just like the regular season, you must pick your spots because there are a few hidden gems to be taken advantage of in exhibition play. And if you’re disciplined, you can go into the regular season with a positive bankroll. 

When betting NFL preseason games, there are a few factors to take into consideration. For starters, knowing how many plays or series the “A-Team” or first string will play takes precedence. On paper, some matchups look too good to be true. So be sure to be up to date as to the amount of time the key players will get. Not just the starters, but their backups as well.

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Speaking of backups, in some cases, the No. 2 or even the No. 3 spots on a depth chart is up for grabs. Check out the team page and see who is vying for those spots and how many snaps those players are slated to take.

Next, is the coaching issue. New and existing coaches have tendencies when it comes to preseason play. If it is a new coach to the NFL, perhaps he is looking to make an immediate impact. Some because they just want to win and some because they need to justify their new contracts.

When it comes to existing coaches, history shows us that some love to win in August and some couldn’t care less. This is where trends and streaks of past exhibition seasons come into play.

This next item is big for me when choosing to bet an NFLX game — ticket sales. We all know that there are some teams, no matter the hype surrounding new acquisitions, that just have no shot at making the postseason. Fans know it too.

However, there are some teams no matter their forecast that will always sell or have a wait to buy season tickets. Some franchises need to win right away in order to boost individual home games and season ticket sales. Keep an eye on this and it will pay off for you.

Every August you can pick up the sports page and read about certain star athletes that just aren’t in “game shape.” These are ­usually

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