Week 3 of the NFL preseason is the closest we get to meaningful football until kickoff of the regular season. Many starters will play the entire first half and even into the third quarter.
This is great for fans wanting competitive games but bad for bettors.
This is likely a product of increased snaps for starters as many of these systems are based on contrarian philosophies. However, with players and coaches treating Week 3 more like a real game, there is one trend that works better late in the preseason.
Similar to betting overs in low-total games, it has been profitable to bet the under in high-total games.
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The more points expected to be scored, the easier it is for teams to go under the total. In the preseason, 40 or more points is considered a high total.
In these games, the under is 136-109-4 (56%). In Weeks 3-4, the under in this scenario is 84-57-3 (60%) since 2004.
This system works in Week 3 because games are more competitive with the starters playing and it is profitable in Week 4 as teams are more likely to run the ball — which shortens games — to prevent injuries.
In Week 1 of the 2018 preseason, overs went 11-5. Oddsmakers adjusted and increased the over/unders for Week 2.
As a result, overs were 6-10 last week. The lines are high again as all but one Week 3 game features an over/under of 40 or more points.
This is a great spot to be contrarian and bet the under with inflated lines and history on our side.