One of the things that makes sports betting such a challenging endeavor is that things are constantly changing. Systems and methods that worked in the past will suddenly stop being successful. One of the best examples of this is the Monday Night home underdog, which was practically a license to steal in the 1970s and 80s, with a winning percentage in the 70% range, but now it has become a losing proposition over the past 10 seasons.
A similar type of reversal is taking place in the NFL preseason. In years past, the two teams that played in the Hall of Fame Game were excellent bets in their next game, as they had the advantage of having already played under their belt, which gave them a leg up over their competition, which was playing its first preseason contest. But in recent years, the two teams from the Hall of Fame Game have become a poor betting proposition. Since 2003, these teams are just 9-11 against the spread in their next game.
The team that won the Hall of Fame Game has gone just 3-7 against the spread in their next game and 3-7 in totals, while the losing team has posted a 6-4 record against the number and has also gone 6-4 in totals. Of the winning team’s three point spread covers, two of those came as an underdog, so the Hall of Fame winning team is just 1-6 if they are favored in their next game and 2-1 if they are underdogs. The losing team from the Hall of Fame Game has posted a 2-2 record as an underdog and a 4-2 record if they are favored.
Looking at the two Hall of Fame teams, Buffalo and the New York Giants this week, shows that the Bills are 1.5-point favorites at Carolina on Friday, making it the first time the Panthers have been a home underdog since 2003. The Panthers opened as 2-point favorites so there has been plenty of money coming in on Buffalo, which the trends would suggest is the right move.
The Giants are 2.5-point home favorites against Pittsburgh and the trends are a bit stronger in this game, as the Steelers would be the right side based on the dismal record of the winning Hall of Fame Game team next time out, especially if they are installed as a favorite. The Steelers have been nothing special in the preseason the past few years, but after missing the playoffs the past two seasons may make more of an effort to pick up a few wins.
As it is the preseason, don’t hesitate to make smaller-than-normal wagers, as a lot of games are going to be decided by players who won’t be on the roster in a few weeks when teams have the first mandatory roster cut date.
Allen Moody is a sports bettor and author who has been immersed in the betting scene for more than 30 years and has worked with some of the biggest names in sports handicapping. Using historical anaylsis and betting market trends, he is able to uncover solid value plays on a consistent basis.