I said this last week, but when you go to bet on the NFL preseason games you will notice that the maximum bet limits are much lower than in the regular season. This is because preseason games provide more value and have the potential to make sharp bettors lots of money.
Take this hint from Vegas and bet preseason games! With a bit of research and watching the line movements, you can determine the best plays and discover tons of value.
I will break down four matchups for this upcoming weekend’s games and explain why I believe they are all must-bet value picks.
Chicago Bears (+3 -110) @ Denver Broncos – 8/18/18 9:05 ET
If you read my column last week I already know what you are going to say. And yes, I am picking the Bears once again. I was expecting a first quarter full of Mitchell Trubisky last week but instead saw him throw four passes for four yards … disappointing.
This is the Bears’ third preseason game and normally teams play their starters a lot in game three. However, the Bears are different because they are one of two teams playing five preseason games this year. Even if he does not play as much as he will next week, I am going to go out on a limb and predict that Trubisky throws the ball more than four times in this one.
Even if Trubisky does not play much, the Bears are in capable hands with Tyler Bray who has looked very formidable through two games.
Remember, Head Coach Matt Nagy still has not won his first professional game. On the road in the third game of a five-game schedule, the Bears are not expected to play well. I believe they will come out loose and exceed expectations in this one. Their one extra game played will lead to a couple of big plays that will make the difference.
I’m picking the Bears to beat the Broncos..
Cleveland Browns @ Buffalo Bills (O/U 40.5) – 8/17/18 7:30 ET
Somebody forgot to tell Baker Mayfield that NFL defenses are tougher than those in the Big 12. The rookie looked great in his first professional action, tossing two touchdowns and leading the Browns to a 20-10 win.
The Bills’ offense also showed up in Week 1, scoring 23 points in a loss to the Panthers. The Bills’ defense appeared strong, too, until the fourth quarter when the floodgates opened for two touchdowns. You can bet that defense has been the focus this week in Buffalo’s practices.
Momentum is hard to carry over from week to week in the NFL regular season and it is downright impossible in the preseason. The fact that these teams combined for 43 points last week does not mean a thing for this matchup.
Forget the fact that Mayfield looked great and Josh Allen was decent last week. When I look at this matchup, I see two teams with strong defenses and weak offenses. I also see two rookie quarterbacks that stand to see a lot of playing time.
This is the Browns’ first home game and the Bills’ first road game. Each is trotting out a rookie quarterback into unfamiliar territory against a solid defense.
I really like the under in this one..
Baltimore Ravens @ Indianapolis Colts (-1 -105) 8/20/18 9:00 ET
Yes, I am picking the Colts again too. But at least I was right about them last week. I really like this matchup for three reasons. The first being that Andrew Luck is playing more than most starting quarterbacks this preseason because he has sat on the sidelines for the past two years. Having not played in so long, he will likely be amped for a Monday night game.
The Colts have a mess at the running back position, with no clear #1 option. Because of this position battle, the Colts’ best backs are getting more touches than other teams’ best backs who already have the starting job locked up. This is another reason I like the Colts here.
The third reason is that although Lamar Jackson was not highly sought after in this year’s draft, the Ravens insist on developing him as their quarterback of the future. He has been given his fair share of opportunities through two games and has failed to deliver, posting an underwhelming passer rating of 58.5.
Joe Flacco has looked good but will not play more than one or two series in this game. Jackson and Robert Griffin III should be taking the majority of the snaps for the Ravens, and I like the Colts’ chances against this duo.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Atlanta Falcons (-1 -115) 8/17/18 7:00 ET
After laying a goose egg against the Jets in Week 1, the Falcons return home to host a fellow 0-1 Chiefs team. We did not see Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, or Devonta Freeman last week. Dan Quinn is a veteran head coach who knows that losing a preseason game is not the end of the world, but no one wants to get shut out.
I do not expect Quinn to panic and play his stars already in Week 2. What I do expect is for Quinn to gameplan offensively a bit more than he normally would, just to put up a few points in front of the home crowd.
The Chiefs’ defense did not perform well against the Texans last week. They made Brandon Weeden look very good while allowing 17 points and failing to force a turnover. Getting takeaways was a major part of Kansas City’s defense in 2017. Perhaps the lower levels of intensity in the preseason take away their edge.
At home after being shut out, the Falcons have a bit of pressure to score. I believe that they will be able to move the ball effectively against this Chiefs defense that has yet to gel. I have confidence in the Falcons to win this one.