The NFL preseason continues this week with the return of Monday Night Football on ESPN tonight. The San Fransisco 49ers will take on the Denver Broncos at 8 p.m. ET on Aug. 19.

Then, all 32 NFL teams will be back in action this weekend with games Thursday night through the return of Sunday Night Football on NBC on Aug. 25.

You can bet on these and other NFL preseason games at a variety of NJ sports betting apps. However, be warned that the NFL preseason is not exactly the same thing as the NFL regular season.

For most teams, winning isn’t the top priority throughout the four-week preseason. A fact that can make picking preseason winners quite difficult.

Most teams treat preseason games like practices and even tryouts. The projected regular-season starters might begin to play the entire first quarter when Week 3 of the preseason kicks off Thursday.

However, most still won’t risk injury by playing much more than that.

The NFL futures market

Betting on preseason games can be dodgy, but it’s still a good idea to watch them. These games can give you some idea which teams are really capable of making a title run this season.

The NFL futures markets opened at most NJ sportsbooks in the offseason.

The meaningless nature of the preseason means the odds on most teams to win the Super Bowl haven’t changed much since then. Certainly not as much as they will when the regular season kicks off Sept. 5 and the games start to mean something.

NFL odds adjustments

As true contenders and pretenders emerge throughout the NFL season the odds on these teams will change dramatically. That means the odds on most of the top teams in the league will never be better than they are right now.

That’s why it’s a good idea to take a look at some of these teams in the preseason. Then, lock in a bet on the teams you think are legitimate contenders.

By the time these teams prove they’ve got a shot, the odds will be adjusted to reflect it. That’s why the NFL preseason is the best time to dive into the NFL futures market.

At this point, most NJ sportsbooks have identified approximately 10 Super Bowl contending teams. These are the teams they are offering odds of +2000 or lower on.

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NFL preseason contenders

Here’s a look at the current odds on the 10 preseason favorites at the top three NJ sports betting apps:

2019/2020 NFL Super Bowl OddsDraftKingsBetStarsFanDuel
New England Patriots

+700+700+700
Kansas City Chiefs+850+800+800
Los Angeles Rams+1000+1000+1100 (+1000)
New Orleans Saints+1000+900 +900
Los Angeles Chargers+1600+1300 (+1400)+1600
Indianapolis Colts
+1500 (+1400)+1500+1500 (+1400)
Cleveland Browns+1600 (+1400)+1700+1600
Philadelphia Eagles+1300+1400 (+1600)+1400
Chicago Bears+1900 (+1800)+2000 (+1800)+1900 (+1800)
Dallas Cowboys+2200 (+2500)+2000 +2500

As you can see, the first couple of weeks of the preseason hasn’t changed the odds much.

In fact, only the bracketed odds displayed reflect any change in the odds from the start of the preseason. Although, some may also be listing the Pittsburgh Steelers or Green Bay Packers at around +2000 now, too.

The odds on any of these teams won’t change much between now and Sept. 5. That gives you a couple of weeks to use the preseason to evaluate the NFL futures market.

Then, move quickly to get some money down on your own favorites at a decent price.

Betting on the NFL preseason

In the meantime, if you’re going bet on the remaining preseason games, look out for:

  • Coaches trying to win now
  • Teams giving increased playing time to free-agent or recently traded players
  • Holdouts and injuries
  • NJ sportsbooks mistakenly posting standard three-point spreads
  • The best price on a bet found by shopping around

Find any of these things and you might be able to boost your bankroll heading into Week 1 of the NFL regular season. Perhaps you can even use the profits to beef up your Super Bowl futures bets, too.

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.