By Steve Makinen  () 

Handicapping the NFL preseason is an entirely different animal from the regular season. In short, some teams and franchises care more about winning than others. Some want to establish a winning attitude, others just want to avoid injuries at all cost. Knowing the motivation of every team and coach is critical to success in betting exhibition games. In my opinion, there is no more important factor.

One of the easiest ways to show the difference between teams’ interest level in the preseason is to analyze their situational records. Of course, this can change -- sometimes quickly -- as coaching and personnel moves can have a great affect. But in general, knowing these performance records and employing them in your betting strategy works as a blueprint for exhibition success.

The difference in how franchises approach these games can be dramatic. The Cowboys, for example, have long been a team that could just as soon do without these games, while the Seahawks, on the other hand, try to maintain a winning culture in August.

Below this list of 15 top situational spots for NFL preseason teams over the L5 years, you will fnd the situational records and schedules for all 32 teams. This should prove to be a handy reference guide for betting games over the next four weeks. Enjoy the analysis and the action as we gear up for the games that truly count.

15 NFL Preseason Top Situational Spots to Look for in 2019

1. LA RAMS are 0-5 SU & ATS in Week 4

Jeff Fisher wasn’t shy about sharing his disdain for the preseason, and his strategy in the last game of each exhibition season was to simply avoid any catastrophe that would impact the beginning of the regular season. It may be early in Sean McVay’s coaching tenure there, but in his frst two week 4 games, his teams have been outscored 52-10.

2. GREEN BAY & PHILADELPHIA are 9-1 SU & ATS at home

The Packers and Eagles have been the league’s best home teams in the preseason over the L5 seasons. Both organizations have great home environments fueled by passionate fans, and it’s no mistake that the players get a boost from this even when the game stakes aren’t high.

3. INDIANAPOLIS is 1-6 SU & 0-7 ATS at favorite

The Colts are on a streak of seven straight ATS losses when favored. Expecting a team to win when it doesn’t really care all that much is dangerous.

4. BALTIMORE is 8-2 SU & 9-1 ATS as underdog/pick em

Coach John Harbaugh has seen consistent success in the preseason. One of the Ravens’ best spots has been in the underdog role, where they have won nine of their L10 against the spread. There’s a reasonable chance they will be underdogs in Weeks 3 and 4.

5. DENVER is 14-5 SU & 13-5 ATS vs. NFC foes

The Broncos won their 14th game in 19 tries versus NFC opponents in the Hall of Fame Game against Atlanta. The rest of the 2019 schedule includes the entire NFC West Division.

6. ATLANTA is 3-8 SU & 2-9 ATS after SU loss

Dan Quinn has demonstrated that he cares very little about the results in the preseason. Otherwise, you would expect to see a better reaction to losses. This trend will be in play already this week at Miami after Atlanta dropped the Hall of Fame Game to Denver last Thursday.

7. OAKLAND is 2-8 SU & 1-8-1 ATS in Weeks 2 & 3

The middle week games of the preseason are supposed to be the closest to “dress rehearsal” games, most closely resembling regular season effort, and Oakland has struggled in these contests.

8. SEATTLE is 7-3 SU & ATS in Weeks 3 & 4

Simply put, Pete Carroll takes the preseason seriously, particularly in the later weeks when he hopes the team will be trending in the right direction.

9. TAMPA BAY is 0-6 SU & ATS vs. NFC

This one is fairly hard to explain, but for whatever reason, the Bucs have struggle both SU & ATS versus NFC opponents. Tampa plays just one such game in 2019, in Week 4 on the road at Dallas, which is already a tough spot to begin with.

10. CAROLINA is 6-0 SU & 5-0 ATS after SU loss

It’s been incredibly predictable with the Panthers under Ron Rivera. When they win in the preseason, they usually follow it up with a stinker, and vice versa. Rivera doesn’t like to see the momentum go too far in either direction in the preseason

11. NEW ORLEANS is 3-7 SU & ATS in its L10 at home

As opposed to the regular season, the Saints’ home-feld advantage in the preseason is minimal. New Orleans’ two home games in 2019 are in Weeks 1 & 4.

12. DALLAS is 1-9 SU & 2-7-1 ATS in its L10 games away from home

The Cowboys only win of this group is when they beat the Cardinals in the 2017 HOF game. Otherwise this franchise doesn’t seem to give one iota about what happens when they hit the preseason road.

13. MINNESOTA is 9-2 SU & ATS and the NEW YORK GIANTS are 8-3 SU & ATS on the road

Both of these franchises have played their best exhibition football on the road, most often in the underdog role

14. CLEVELAND is 15-4 UNDER the total since 2014 in the exhibition season

This is going to be an interesting trend to watch in 2019, as the Browns’ offense looks to be much improved, and they are playing to lofty expectations. However, totals might also be higher than usual.

15. KANSAS CITY is 4-1 SU & ATS in Week 4

The Chiefs under Andy Reid have seemed to stress heading into the regular season with momentum and that includes winning in the exhibition fnale. This year’s fnal game is a tough task at Green Bay however.

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