Week 2 of the NFL preseason is almost in the books as the Saints will take on the Jaguars in the 16th game of the week on Monday night. As we careen into the start of the NFL regular season, are there any preseason betting trends we can glean insight from? I will attempt to answer that question as I break down some of the most notable betting trends from the preseason.
Preseason Betting Statistics
The following are the betting results so far from the preseason games we’ve seen:
- Hall of Fame Game: Favorite 1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS, O/U 0-1
- Week 1: Favorites 9-7 SU, 8-7-1 ATS, O/U 3-12-1
- Week 2: Favorites 10-4 SU, 5-9 ATS, O/U 5-10
- Overall: Favorites 20-11 SU, 14-16-1 ATS, O/U 8-23-1
Unders Continue to Dominate
Perhaps the biggest betting trend to emerge from the preseason so far has been the continued success of bettors who have bet the under on the points total in games. In Week 1 of the preseason, the under hit in 14 of 17 games. Week 2 wasn’t as lopsided, but the under went 9-5-1 heading into the Saints-Jaguars game. Could this trend extend into the regular season?
I believe betting the under can be a promising strategy early on this NFL season. In 2020, we saw a total of 12,692 points scored, the most in NFL history. That shattered the previous record of 11,985 in 2013 and was the first season over 12,000 points in NFL history. Much of this can be attributed to the lack of fans in the stadiums and the benefit of road teams being more comfortable.
In the first three weeks of the 2020 season, the over went 29-19 as Vegas struggled to adjust to an influx of scoring. In Week 1 of 2020, the overs finished 9-7 with an average closing points total of 45.4 points per game. Now, Week 1 of 2021 has an average closing points total of 47.6 points per game. With many fans expected back in attendance, Vegas has over-reacted to last season’s oddities, and I’ll be backing the under in Week 1 to hopefully take advantage.
Big Week for Underdogs
In Week 2 of the preseason, favorites went 10-4 straight up – that pushes the record to 20-11 so far. However, underdogs were 9-5 ATS this week, pushing their record to 16-14-1 ATS for the preseason. The Bills beat the Bears 41-15 as 4-point underdogs while the Patriots crushed the Eagles 35-0 despite being 1-point underdogs. If dogs continue to succeed over the final two weeks of the preseason, it could impact my approach to betting on Week 1.
Patriots’ Line Moves vs. Dolphins
The Patriots have been one of the more impressive teams in the preseason so far as they’ve picked up a 2-0 record and beaten their opponents by a total of 44 points. Cam Newton and Mac Jones have impressed with a combined 70.3% passing rate for 385 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. New England opened as 2.5-point favorites vs. Miami and that has now moved to 3 points. 3 is the key number in NFL betting and it will be interesting to see if it shifts back to 2.5 points or pushes through to 3.5 points prior to the start of the season.
The following are some of the other betting observations I took away from Week 2 of the preseason:
- The Ravens are now 19-0 SU, 16-3 ATS in their last 19 preseason games
- The Vikings have now been outscored 45-16 through two preseason games, laying 3 or 3.5 points vs. Cincinnati in Week 1
- The impressive rookie QB performances (Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Zach Wilson) have not yet affected Week 1 spreads