NFL betting continues this week with all 32 NFL teams in action Thursday through Monday.

But remember, the NFL preseason is not the NFL regular season. In the four-week preseason, winning matters very little to most teams. As a result, the projected Week 1 starters spend more time on the bench than in the game.

Instead, most of the preseason minutes are gobbled by players on the practice-squad roster bubble.

That makes it hard for NJ online sports betting operators to set lines and even harder for you to pick winners.

Betting on the NFL preseason

If you’re going betting on the NFL preseason this week or any other, look for:

  • Coaches who may be trying harder to win than others.
  • Traded players or star free agents who might use preseason minutes to get used to how they do things on a new team.
  • Holdouts and injured players whose absence may have an impact on the team’s ability to compete.
  • Sportsbooks posting standard three-point spreads in games that don’t really fit the standard mold.
  • The best price on a bet you can find by line shopping.

Do that and you could be on the way to making a profit betting on the NFL even before Week 1 of the regular season kicks off.

Otherwise, it might be a good idea to watch certain preseason games to look for an edge when it comes to picking Week 1 winners.

Most NJ sportsbooks already have the lines posted for Week 1 games.

There IS at least a couple of intriguing Week 1 matchups, too.

This week’s preseason games aren’t likely to impact the odds on these Week 1 games. However, some may help you pick winners come the first week of the regular season.

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Giants-Cowboys Week 1

The New York Giants take on the Super Bowl hopeful Dallas Cowboys in a Week 1 NFC East tilt.

Here’s a look at the current point spread on the game at the top three NJ sportsbooks:

Giants vs. Cowboys (NFL Week 1)DraftKings SportsbookFanDuel SportsBookBetStars NJ
New York Giants+7.5 (110)+7.5 (110)+7.5 (110)
Dallas Cowboys-7.5 (110)-7.5 (110)-7.5 (110)

The Giants will play the Chicago Bears in preseason action on Friday. Plus, the Cowboys will play the LA Rams on Saturday.

Neither game is likely to tell you too much about who will win come week one.

However, Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott is holding out of camp in search of a new contract. If he doesn’t report by Week 2 of the preseason, the chances he’ll be ready to start in Week 1 start to drop significantly.

No Elliott for the Cowboys in Week 1 could mean the Giants plus more than a touchdown is a good bet.

Steelers-Patriots Week 1

Then there’s the Pittsburgh Steelers taking on the New England Patriots in a Week 1 battle between two teams with legitimate hopes of winning the AFC crown.

Here’s a look at the current point spread on that game at the top three NJ sportsbooks:

Steelers vs. Patriots (NFL Week 1)DraftKings SportsbookFanDuel SportsBookBetStars NJ
Pittsburgh Steelers+6 (110)+6 (110)+6 (110)
New England Patriots-6 (110)-6 (110)-6 (110)

The Patriots will face the Tennessee Titans on Saturday in a typical preseason game between a traditional powerhouse and perennial also-ran.

However, the Steelers take on another AFC hopeful in the Kansas City Chiefs this Saturday.

This game, or at least the first quarter, might offer some indication as to whether the Steelers can hang with the AFC elite this season.

Plus whether it’s worth taking the Steelers and almost a touchdown against the defending Super Bowl champs in Week 1.

Use preseason matchups as a sports betting guide

Once again, this week’s preseason games, or others over the next two weeks, aren’t likely to have much of an impact on the Week 1 game odds you’ll find at NJ sportsbooks.

However, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for preseason matchups like the ones described above that may ultimately provide some insight into who is ready to win when the NFL regular season begins on Sept. 5.

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.