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NFL PRESEASON IN FULL PADS THIS WEEK

Pro football’s preseason slate shifts into full gear this week with all 32 NFL teams in action.

National TV games for bettors to enjoy are limited to the NFL Network this week. Those telecasts: N.Y. Jets vs. N.Y. Giants (Thursday, 6 p.m. ET), Los Angeles Chargers at Arizona (Thursday, 9 p.m. ET), Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh (Friday, 6:30 p.m. ET) and Dallas at San Francisco (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET).

Is betting on the NFL preseason for sharp investors? Or only so-called gambling degenerates?

You’ll hear both points of view in this frst full week of exhibition action. Critics will say you’d have to be crazy to bet on games that will be decided by third- and fourth-teamers. Veteran bettors will say it’s crazy not to bet if you have a real edge.

Why do sharps believe they can fnd edges in games that don’t even count in the standings? Among the many reasons:

—There’s often an early-game mismatch in terms of how long high-impact players will be on the feld. That by itself can be worth a touchdown, which is signifcant with low point spreads.

—There’s often a mid-game mismatch where one team’s backup quarterback is an experienced hand who knows how to drive down the feld for points while his opposite is a frst- or second-year player who’s been instructed to play it safe. There are Augusts where this scenario by itself is worth two or three touchdowns in games for a team.

—There’s occasionally a fourth-quarter mismatch where one team using an up-and-coming playmaker at quarterback is trying to beat an opponent that wants to fnish the game and go home. It’s a nice ace to have up your sleeve.

—It’s not uncommon to see preseason games where both coaches just want to play it safe and get out of Dodge without their teams suffering injuries. Scoring sums in these matchups tend to stay well below posted Over/Unders.

Some coaches emphasize offensive execution in early action. That alone can result in Overs.

VSiN isn’t suggesting August is full of nothing but free money. Randomness does play a large role in determining outcomes, particularly with special teams or defensive touchdowns. You saw last Thursday that Denver needed a few breaks to sneak past Atlanta in the fnal moments of the Hall of Fame game. You’ll see a lot more of it soon.

Edges can be found by following online team coverage, listening to coaches in press conferences, researching coaching trends (while remembering to account for coaching changes), studying exhibition histories of veteran quarterbacks and looking for schedule quirks that give one team a preparation advantage over the other.

Bettors don’t have to win all of their plays to make money. They just have to hit better than 52.4 percent to beat the standard 11/10 vigorish on losses. NFL preseason dynamics make that achievable. 

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