Odds are posted for opening week NFL preseason contests. It all starts out with the Hall-of-Fame game from Canton, Ohio with the New York Giants and the Buffalo Bills. The line varies a bit with many books pushing Buffalo at (-1) but with -125 juice. The consensus point spread has Buffalo (-2) and a total of 32.5.
As a general rule of thumb, in the first week of NFLX odds, the sportsbook lines stick pretty close to the home team laying three-points a total in the low to mid 30s. However, more than in previous seasons, the oddsmakers are backing off the default key Vegas line of (-3), clearly weighing home field advantage less as not one team is laying more than a field goal.
In fact, only the New York Giants hosting Pittsburgh on Saturday, August 9 has the full 10-cent juice with (-3). “This is because of the often-false perception that the team that plays in the Hall-of-Fame game has an edge versus a squad playing their first game,” says Stevie Vincent of top sports handicapping website OffshoreInsiders.com.
The full swing of NFL preseason games start on Thursday, August 7. Odds will most definitely change when preseason QB rotations, injuries, and other key player statuses become clearer. Pro bettors will ask if revenge is truly a motivation factor in preseason betting as the Super Bowl rematch has Denver (-1.5) at home to Seattle.
Also an anomaly is that there are no road favorites, though two games are a pick ‘em: San Francisco vs. Baltimore and Tampa Bay vs. Jacksonville. Friday’s Philadelphia-Chicago contest has the highest total at 38.5 with the aforesaid Hall-of-Fame game the lowest at a mere 32.5.
Though many square players believe betting preseason football is nothing more than a coin flip, most pro gamblers strongly disagree.
The author Joe Duffy is beginning his 27th season with his football bets publically. He is CEO of OffshoreInsiders.com