Bookmakers Debunk Stigma of NFL Preseason Being for Degenerates

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(AP Photo/Steve Luciano)

It's an often used line: Betting on NFL preseason is one of the more "degenerate" activities.

The statement assumes that because the NFL preseason is essentially a tryout and that winning the game isn't necessarily the No. 1 objective, that bettors bet it just to bet it.

But that's not actually reality.

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"All you have to do is look at the sharps that are betting preseason games," said Jay Croucher, PointsBet's head of trading. "The sharps turn up when the markets are vulnerable and these markets definitely are."

Longtime bookmaker Jay Kornegay of the Superbook firmly agrees with Croucher.

"Preseason football is literally dominated by the sharps," Kornegay said. "They scour the information highways that will lead to an advantage. There's nothing wrong with it. On our side of the computer, we're doing the same thing to tighten up the lines."

Kornegay said the negative stigma of the NFL preseason supposedly only being bet by degenerates also gets its reputation because the line moves on factors that it won't move on during the regular season — like who is motivated to play and coaches trying out players in position battles.

"Coaches make statements concerning playing time leading to value in the betting line," Kornegay said. "Of course, there are other factors. Coaches with history — good or bad — in the preseason, coaches might be on the hot seat and might want to start off on a more positive note or maybe new coaches want to create a winning culture."

As far as numbers go, BetMGM's director of trading, Matt Cosgriff, said his book takes more action on an NFL preseason game than on an average regular season Major League Baseball game.

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