The NFL preseason gets into full swing this week with a slate of 11 games on Thursday, Aug. 8, representing an opportunity for anyone in New Jersey to begin a winning NFL betting season before it really even starts.

The regular season will not kick off until Sept. 5. However, NFL training camps are already underway and for most teams the preseason begins this Thursday night.

Of course, the NFL preseason is not the NFL regular season where winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. In the four-week preseason, most teams treat the games like practice scrimmages. Most don’t care about winning. They’re looking to evaluate the talent, not trying to win.

The starters get some early reps focused on execution over outcome. Most won’t risk injury by playing much past the first quarter.

Tough to pick winners, set lines

Unless you’ve watched hundreds of hours of college football film and done enough research to make an informed decision as to which players on a team’s practice squad-roster bubble are better than any other’s, it can be downright hard to pick NFL preseason winners.

Of course, that means it’s just as tough for oddsmakers at NJ gambling sites to set the lines.

In fact, most of the time NJ sportsbooks will trot out a standard three-point spread on either side.

For example, take a look at Thursday’s preseason lines from FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook below. Most of the spreads are at or near three points.

Take advantage of what NJ sportsbooks are missing

If you pay attention and do a little research, you just might be able to take advantage of what sportsbooks don’t take into account when setting these NFL preseason lines.

What you want to do is identify coaches who believe football should always be played to win. Plus, look for new coaches in their first season with a team. They may try to win preseason games to start building a winning culture there.

It’s also a good idea to look at top free-agent signings or players traded to a team. These players may be looking to build continuity with new teammates right out of the preseason gate. Just by playing a few more preseason minutes than most these players can give their teams an edge.

Plus, a quick look at who is holding out or injured can give you an idea of teams you might want to avoid in the preseason. Some teams might not be able to put their best units on the field even for just the first quarter.

The Washington Redskins at Cleveland Browns game on Thursday may be the perfect example of all this.

In fact, it may present an opportunity to bet on something NJ sportsbooks are missing in the first week.

Our #1 Sportsbook Choice.
$25 Free
On Sign Up, T&Cs Apply
  • 20% Up To $500 On Deposit
  • Risk Free First Bet Up To $200
  • No Promo Code Needed - Use Our Link

Washington-Cleveland NFL preseason line

Here’s a look at the spread at the top three NJ sports betting apps heading into the Washington-Cleveland game:

NFL Preseason Week 1FanDuel Sportsbook BetStars NJDraftKings Sportsbook
Washington Redskins-1 (-130) -2.5 (-118) -2.5 (-110)
Cleveland Browns+1 (+110)+2.5 (+100) +2.5 (-110)

The Browns promoted Offensive Coordinator Freddie Kitchens to Rookie Head Coach this season. That makes him the perfect candidate to want to start the preseason and his career with a win.

Plus, this will be second-year Cleveland Quarterback Baker Mayfield‘s first game with three-time Pro Bowl recever Odell Beckham Jr., who the Browns traded for in the offseason. The pair may only play limited minutes. However, they are going to want to try to make the most of them.

Last year’s Redskins starting QB Alex Smith is also out with an injury. Colt McCoy, Case Keenum, and Dwayne Haskins will be sharing the preseason minutes to see who can replace him. Add that to the equation and it’s a real head-scratcher as to why the Browns are the ones getting the points.

But stop scratching your head for a minute. Grab those points while you can. This seems like a bonafide opportunity to bet on something NJ sportsbooks appear to be missing.

It’s also worth noting the difference in the spread and prices at the different sportsbooks. That highlights the need to shop around for the best price on this bet and any other.

That’s another thing you can do throughout the NFL preseason to give yourself a betting edge.

Boosting your NFL betting bankroll

In summary, take a close look at all the matchups throughout the four-week NFL preseason. Try and find what NJ sportsbooks may be missing.

There may be more opportunities to boost your bankroll heading into the NFL regular season if you can:

  • Find players who might have a reason to play a little more, or holdouts and injured players whose absence may affect a team’s ability to win.
  • Find NJ sportsbooks posting standard point spreads when there are reasons to think otherwise.
  • Shop around for the best price on any bet.
Martin Derbyshire

About

In his over 10 years covering the US online poker, legal NJ online gambling, and land-based casino industries, Martin Derbyshire has worn the hats of award-winning journalist and video and film producer. He has logged countless miles reporting on the world of high stakes gambling.