NFL Preseason Week 1 Betting Tip: 5 Over/Unders to Consider for Thursday Night

NFL Preseason Week 1 Betting Tip: 5 Over/Unders to Consider for Thursday Night article feature image

Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jacksonville Jaguars running back Chris Ivory

  • There are 11 games on Thursday's NFL preseason Week 1 slate and many feature low over/unders.
  • Using Bet Labs, we analyze how bettors should approach the these games with low totals.

Low-total (35 or fewer points) preseason games are rare. In the Bet Labs database less than 25% of exhibition games feature such a total. Casual bettors love wagering on the over, except in these games.

Often matchups featuring a small over/under involve poor offenses, great defenses or both.

There have been 238 preseason games with a total of 35 or fewer points since 2004. In only 109 (45.8%) games were a majority of tickets on the over.

With the public often on the under in low-total games, one contrarian strategy is to zig when the public zags and bet the over.

Historically, the over in low-total preseason games has been profitable.

One explanation is that it is just easier for the over to cash when fewer points are required to be scored. There is often a general lack of motivation among players in these exhibition games, like we see in All-Star games, which can promote a higher-scoring environment.

Motivation may be a true determining factor when we look at the splits by preseason weeks.

It has been profitable to bet the over regardless of week, but this strategy works best at the beginning of the preseason. In Weeks 1-2, counting the Hall of Fame games, the over in low-total games has gone 91-64-3 (58.7%).

A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $2,298 wagering on the over.

In Weeks 3-4, when starters play more and games are closer to regular season matchups, the over is 32-27-2 (54.2%) and a $100 bettor would be up only $347.

On Thursday’s slate there are five matches for this system. Since it is Week 1 of the preseason, this is the optimal time to wager on these overs.

Game Matches:

  • Buffalo Bills vs. Indianapolis Colts (7 p.m. ET)
  • New York Giants vs. New York Jets (7 p.m. ET)
  • Baltimore Ravens vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (7:30 p.m. ET)
  • Detroit Lions vs. New England Patriots 7:30 p.m. ET)
  • Miami Dolphins vs. Atlanta Falcons (7:30 p.m. ET)

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