Why Missing The NFL Playoffs Can Create Preseason Betting Value

Aug 09, 2018 1:30 PM EDT
  • Since 2014, the under is 67-31-4 (68.4%) when two nonplayoff teams meet in the following preseason.
  • Preseason totals between nonplayoff teams have increased by 2.8 PPG since 2014 compared to the decade prior.
  • This system fits five games Thursday night.

This NFL season, we’ll see seven teams with new head coaches and five that changed all three chief coaching positions (head coach, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator).

Of those seven teams, only the Tennessee Titans made the playoffs.

But what does this have to do with preseason betting? Let’s dig into Bet Labs to find out how to take advantage.


>> All odds as of 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds.


Since 2014, when two teams that failed to make the playoffs the previous year meet in the preseason, the under has cashed at a clip of 68.4% (67-31-4). The under has finished below the closing total by more than a field goal per game (3.4 PPG), earning bettors a whopping 31.4 units in that span.

From 2004 to 2013, preseason matchups featuring teams in this spot only saw the under cash at a rate of 48.6%, losing bettors 13.4 units.

So what’s the cause? In my eyes, the constant turnover and pressure to succeed in the league cause growing pains in the preseason. That, mixed with higher totals and lower preseason scoring, has led to the recent uptick in unders.

Since 2014, the average over/under in a preseason game between two nonplayoff teams has been 39.3 (it was 36.5 between 2004 and 2013), while the total combined points scored by both teams was 35.9, exactly one point less than it was the decade prior (36.9).

So, to translate: The average over/under is up 2.8 PPG, but teams are scoring 1 PPG less.

On Thursday night, both the Chicago Bears-Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts-Seattle Seahawks matchups feature teams that missed the playoffs and are replacing both coordinators. These are two of the five games that fit this trend Thursday, and I’ll be closely watching it throughout the preseason.

Thursday, Aug. 9

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Miami Dolphins (O/U: 34 — 7 p.m. ET)
Cleveland Browns at New York Giants (O/U: 35 — 7 p.m. ET)
Chicago Bears at Cincinnati Bengals (O/U: 35.5 — 7 p.m. ET)
Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers (O/U: 35 — 10 p.m. ET)
Indianapolis Colts at Seattle Seahawks (O/U: 34.5 — 10 p.m. ET)

Friday, Aug. 10

Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders (O/U: 36.5 — 10:30 p.m. ET)

Saturday, Aug. 11

Los Angeles Chargers at Arizona Cardinals (O/U: 36 — 10 p.m. ET)

Credit:

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jon Gruden

Follow Evan Abrams on Twitter
@EvanHAbrams

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SCHEDULE
OPEN
CURR
# BETS
ATL
NYG
-4.5
54
-3.5
52.5
WAS
DAL
-1
42
+1.5
41
CHI
NE
+2.5
50
+2
49.5
TB
CLE
-3
49.5
-3.5
52.5
JAC
HOU
-3.5
44
-3.5
41.5
NYJ
MIN
+3
47
+3.5
45
SF
LA
+10.5
53
+9.5
52.5
IND
BUF
-7
42.5
-7
43.5
LAC
TEN
-7
45.5
-7
46
ARI
DEN
+1
41
+1
42
MIA
DET
+2.5
47
+3
47
KC
CIN
-6
58.5
-6
56.5
PHI
CAR
-4.5
45
-5
45
BAL
NO
-2.5
51
-2.5
49.5