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NFL Preseason: Patience & Objectivity
I’m not someone who watches handicap trends, but what do we find after the first two weeks of NFL preseason? The games went under by a whopping 20-11-1 count! It’s been a sub-heaven so far. However, before jumping all over every penny this weekend, note that under bets were 12-4-1 in week one, but only 8-7 in week 2.
Suddenly those unders aren’t so sizzling anymore. Part of what happens is bettors adjust. The Detroit Lions have new offensive schemes, with new quarterbacks and a new offensive coordinator in Mike Martz. Martz brings a more vertical passing offense to the table, as opposed to last season’s boring (and unproductive West Coast offense). The Lions total was 37½ in Week 1 but 33 in Week 2. They sailed under in a 20-13 win in Game 1 but slipped on the weekend. end in a 20-16 victory. It’s only 3 more points scored in their matches, but it was enough to take them over the total via adjustment.
Another thing that happens is that defenses are really ahead of offenses this time of the season. Offenses take a long time to gel, with quarterbacks learning their receivers’ timing patterns, offensive linemen learning their blocking assignments, and everyone learning new plays. Some teams are learning new playbooks because there are 10 new head coaches in the NFL.
The score has gone up in Week 2. It will be interesting to see what happens this week as the teams in Week 3 of the preseason are giving their starters the biggest workout. Overall, having the offense longer helps the offense develop more than having defensive starters on the field longer.
For perspective, a year ago the Subs led 9-7 in Week 1 of the NFL preseason, then tied at 8-8 in Week 2. During the week 3, as the starters played more, the Unders still reigned 10-6, while in Week 4 the overs rebounded 10-6. Beginners don’t play much in week 4. This is why following trends and patterns can be difficult and sometimes even confusing. It is best to be patient and use crippling objectivity.
It is more important to look at each team individually. For example, the Cleveland Browns have a lot of trouble on offense, with a trio of young quarterbacks and serious offensive line injuries. The Miami Dolphins gave up a ton of passing yards in two preseason games and are noticing they have injury issues in high school. Rookie Jason Allen split his time between safety and cornerback last week as coach Nick Saban said, “Because we don’t have a cornerback anymore!”
The Redskins are 0-2 SU/ATS in the preseason. Joe Gibbs looked disgusted at a postgame press conference after losing to the Jets. “I’m worried about the team,” Gibbs said. “You have to play well as a team, and that’s not the case. I didn’t find anything positive.” Washington also has a new offensive system brought in by Kansas City’s Al Saunders. Saunders’ call play has been conservative and his unit’s execution has been inconsistent. Coins like these are much more important to finding betting angles than any betting trend.
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