NFL Preseason Betting Tip: Profit by Following Reverse Line Movement

NFL Preseason Betting Tip: Profit by Following Reverse Line Movement article feature image
Credit:

Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: T.J. Jones

  • Reverse line movement is when the betting line moves in the opposite direction of the betting percentages.
  • Using Bet Labs, we analyze if following reverse line movement is a smart strategy in the NFL preseason.

NFL preseason games can be difficult to handicap with players and coaches have varying levels of motivation. However, there is a simple strategy that bettors can follow to profit on these televised scrimmages.

Lines for these exhibition games move a lot. In Week 1 of the 2019 preseason all 16 games saw the spread change by at least a half point. Most of this movement is driven by sharp money, which is perhaps why there is still value in chasing lines after they’ve moved.

Since 2004, teams that have seen the line move in their direction by a half point or more in the preseason have gone 372-351-19 (51.5%) against the spread (ATS) according to Bet Labs.

The optimal strategy is to follow reverse line movement (RLM). RLM is when the betting line moves in the opposite direction of the betting percentages (e.g., a team getting only 40% of spread tickets whose line moves from -3 to -4). This is often an indication of professional action.

In the NFL preseason, it has been profitable to wager on teams receiving less than 50% of spread tickets when they become either bigger favorites or smaller underdogs.

This strategy puts us on the same side as sharp bettors. Gamblers following reverse line movement in the preseason have gone 166-135-8 (55.1%) ATS since 2004, returning a profit of $2,331 for a $100 bettor.

There are currently five preseason Week 2 game matches for this strategy. Be sure check our live odds page, though,  as the betting percentages and spreads will change leading up to kickoff, which can cause games to fall out of the system.

Game Matches

  • Atlanta Falcons (-1 to -2) vs. New York Jets (7:30 p.m. ET, Thursday)
  • Cincinnati Bengals (+3 to +2.5) at Washington Redskins (7:30 p.m. ET, Thursday)
  • New York Giants (-1 to -1.5) vs. Chicago Bears (7:30 p.m. ET, Friday)
  • Tennessee Titans (+3 to pick’em) vs. New England Patriots (7 p.m. ET, Saturday)
  • Dallas Cowboys (+3 to -2) at Los Angeles Rams (10 p.m. ET, Saturday)

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