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Tidbits vital in preseason

Jul 29, 2008 6:54 PM

Feist Facts by Jim Feist | August starts the best time of the sports betting calendar football season.

Competition on the field in the NFL wont be quite as intense until September, as evaluating young talent and trying to keep players healthy stands above wins.

However, there will be betting lines available on preseason pro action and its possible to cash winning tickets. Here are some things to keep in mind when watching preseason football.

Coaching strategy: With four preseason games to play, NFL coaches will typically go with starters one quarter or less in the first August game, one quarter-plus in second game, the first half and into the third quarter in the third game, and then very little in the fourth game. Coaches will often use "vanilla" game plans, working on short passes and running plays. This is why preseason totals are lower than the regular season.

Homefield: While a big edge when games count in the post and regular seasons, homefield is far less important in preseason, especially in Week 4. Last year the home team went 12-7 SU and 11-4-1 ATS in Week 4, but that was unusual. The last four years, the visiting team is still 36-26-1 ATS in Week 4 of the preseason.

Newspapers: Keeping tabs daily on what local beat writers are commenting on is important. Many times coaches will hint at potential strategy, such as "Were going to open up the passing game a bit in the first half this week. Or, "Our starters will play two series just to get their feet wet."

A few years ago in a preseason game, the Atlanta Falcons coach was furious with his teams play the week before and announced that the starters would play the entire three quarters. The line jumped from Atlanta as a 2-point favorite all the way to 5, and went off at 6 by kickoff. Sharp bettors wasted no time in hammering the Falcons, who won and covered the game easily.

QB play: The quarterback play is essential and a key this time of year as starters dont play the whole game. When wagering on a favorite in preseason, its important to carefully evaluate the No. 2 and 3 QBs, who often play as much as the starter.

Coaches: Some are more demanding in preseason, while others are more laid back. Bill Belichick is 31-22 SU, 29-21-1 ATS all-time in preseason. Mike Shanahan has an August record of 40-24 SU, 35-24-2 ATS.