2004 NFL Exhibition Games: The Power of Football

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2004 NFL Exhibition Games: The Power of Football
by Rob Gillespie of Bdg
Friday, August 27, 2004

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For bettors, handicappers and bookmakers, there are a number ofkey differences between NFL’s regular season and pre-seasonaction. But you know what? It’s football. It’s the NFLand it’s back!

It’s really just the power of football. Whenthe crowd is so loud the quarterback can’t even hear – that’sexcitement. Remember the 4th quarter of the final game of theseason for Minnesota and Arizona? Randy Moss and Daunte Culpeppercelebrated going up 17-6 on the sidelines. But the offense wouldnever return to the field again as Arizona rallied to win thegame 18-17. That’s the part of football you don’t getwith any other sport. You can go from hero to goat without evenleaving the sidelines, all in just five minutes. Plus, havinga bet on the game that you’re watching on TV makes it thatmuch more exciting to watch!

The 2004 NFL Exhibition season has been good.The interest level is definitely up over last year, but we haven’treally dealt with any pointspreads since last January’s SuperBowl, so it’s a bit of a warm-up for us, too.

Finding the Advantage

For bettors, you have to try and play psychologistat this time of the year. Try to get into the coach’s head.Look for teams that are having position battles – where thetop two quarterbacks are vying for a start (unlike teams likeGreen Bay or Seattle with quarterbacks like Brett Favre and MattHasselbeck who are cemented into the favorite).

Then you look at a team like the New York Giants.You’ve got three quarterbacks challenging for starting andback-up positions. Sometimes these players can put undue pressureon themselves.

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Other things to look for in the pre-season? Areal strong rally from teams that have had to face adversity.Take the Miami Dolphins and Ricky Williams. Yes, the Dolphinsare definitely a weaker team. But you have to look at whetherthere’s going to be a stronger team resolve, or whether they’regoing to band together. With Ricky Williams gone, you’vegot a motivating factor and the coaches have leverage on thoseplayers for the rest of the season.

Handicapping sports is about trying to give yourselfany kind of edge that you can get. Read the local papers and listento the late-night talk shows for interviews with players and coaches.It’s amazing the kind of insight you can get from a coach.Coaches will talk candidly about who they’re going to start– or not start – in the next game. (That said, a coachcan change his mind and you can end up being steered down a blindalley.)

Anything that you can use to get an advantageover what the bookmaker is doing is an advantage. It’s moreabout the psychology. Look for a situation where a team’sgot an incentive to win. If the coach is established, if the startingplayers are established, and the team’s got a winning tradition,if tickets are all sold out for the regular season – thenthere’s zero incentive to win.

If you’ve got a quarterback who’s battlingfor a one or a two spot, if you’ve got a new coach who’strying to impress ownership, if you’ve got new offensivecoordinators who are trying to impress his team, if you’vegot unsold season tickets – those are all situations wherethey’ve got an added motivation to go out and win. Look forthese things.

Pre-season vs. Regular Season

Some teams simply don’t have the same incentiveto win in the pre-season as they do in the regular season. Theregular season is only 16 games in 17 weeks, so playoff positionsare frequently determined by one or two games. Every game is reallyimportant; teams pull out any stop to win.

Also, you don’t get the same kind of one-sidednessin the pre-season that you get in the regular season. You geta game like Green Bay-Chicago last year where everyone in theworld thought Green Bay was going to win by more than four points.Four points for the road favorite is a lot – it’s likebeing an 11-point favorite at home. Then they go and win the gamefairly easily by seven points, and all of a sudden, you’vegot a game that’s super-one sided. You just don’t getthat in the pre-season. During this time of year, the games areunpredictable and bettors will look for value and take that extrahalf-point.

In the regular season, you can count on certainthings. You can count on teams making a concerted effort to win.You can count on teams playing their best players for every singleplay. You get week-to-week action and results are far more importantthan they are in the pre-season.

The pre-season is also a warm-up for “Fromthe Frontlines.” If you can believe it, this is my fourthseason of writing this regular column. The rush of an NFL Sundayin this business is unequalled and I hope to bring you some ofthat excitement each week.

The enjoyment of your wagering experience withus is my number one priority. Should you have any questions, concerns,or comments, I will personally ensure you are satisfied with yourBoDog experience.

Good luck with your wagers!

Rob Gillespie
President – Bdg and Casino

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Jay has been watching and following sports since he could walk and turned to betting in his late teens. His favorite sport is MLB and has been producing winners on UltimateCapper for almost 15 years. Follow Jay's free sports picks and enjoy the winners.