NFL Preseason Week 1 System Picks
The first real week of the preseason is here and Week 1 is often the most unpredictable, as starters will typically play one or two series, with the second unit playing the remainder of the half. The second half often consists of third-string players, along with a number of free agents and players unlikely to make the final roster.
Including Sunday’s game between Miami and Dallas, early season games, meaning the Hall of Fame Game and Week 1 contests, with a total of 34.5 or less, have gone 33-26 (56%) to the over, which is a small edge and nothing to bet the farm on. The one game that falls into this category this week is Friday’s game with Chicago at Carolina, where the total is 34.
Week 1 home favorites of 2.5 points or less have been decent wagers the past five years, going 13-9-1 (59%) against the spread. Teams that meet this criterion for the week are Tennessee -2 against Washington on Thursday, Carolina -2 against Chicago on Friday, Minnesota -1 versus Houston on Friday, and the Pittsburgh Steelers -2.5 against the New York Giants on Saturday.
The best Week 1 bet over the past five preseasons has been larger underdogs, as underdogs of 3.5 or more points are 11-6 against the number. It is a fairly small sample size, so some caution should be used, although the logic behind it makes sense. In a game that could go either way, taking 3.5 points or more is the wise thing to do.
There are five teams that fit the bill this week beginning with the St. Louis Rams +4 at Cleveland on Thursday. Friday night, there are the Jets +4.5 at Detroit, New England + 4.5 at Philadelphia, and Arizona +3.5 at Green Bay. The Bills +3.5 at Indianapolis are the final team that falls into the system.
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