Beat the NFL Bookies

Take a breather. The dog days of summer have come and gone.

Thermometers might disagree, but sports bettors should be notified that the best action of the summer is fast approaching. 918kiss

Bettors typically grow tired of Major League Baseball’s regular season monotony by the end of July. Then, like a cool sea breeze, the NFL blesses bored bettors with a breath of fresh air.

NFL training camps opened for the season on July 27. Over the following two weeks, teams begin a grueling schedule of curfews, diets, and two-a-days to get in shape for the upcoming season. In the following month, all 32 NFL teams will work toward making the playoffs.

The NFL begins its pre-season this week. This time of year is without question the best kept secret in sportsbook wagering.

Most NFL fans know that very little can be learned from pre-season games. The main purpose for the scrimmage-style contests is for coaches to make starting lineup evaluations. Last year’s starters are only on the field for a few plays, mainly to avoid getting rusty for the pending season. While they see their only bench time of the season, reserve players and rookies get the majority of snaps, hoping that their performance will earn them a roster spot.

For the first (and only) time of the NFL season, line makers have no advantage. They are creating lines blindly, forced to set the spread as if the games are regular-season contests.

The reason they are in this situation is simple. No consideration can be made on their part for how reserve players and rookies play. How can bookies create an accurate line when players they haven’t seen play are taking the snaps?

Example. When the St. Louis Rams play the Kansas City Chiefs on August 23, the spread and over/under will be set assuming that KC’s defense (one of the five WORST in 2003) is lining up for each snap against St. Louis’ high flying passing attack, which ranked third in 2003.

The spread for this contest could favor St. Louis (for this example, we’ll say it does). The Rams’ three-headed offensive monster (quarterback Marc Bulger; receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt) likely will not play past halftime. Also, KC’s one-man offensive machine, running back Priest Holmes, should see more bench than turf. These two events make the game wide open. Your guess about the outcome is as good as the bookies.

The second half should see the field full of unproven players. Who knows where the game will go from there? Will it be a low-scoring contest, or a barnburner? No one can be totally sure. This comes as great news for bettors, and bad news for bookies.

“The NFL pre-season is easily the most unpredictable time for offshore sportsbooks,” said Anthony Wayne, marketing director for “Very often, the field is full of players who have similar skills. Without big game playmakers on the field, how are line makers supposed to know who the favorite will be?”


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