NFL preseason betting is a very tough concept because you have to throw away your preconceived notions surrounding the teams you are betting on. The teams you expect to see on Sunday the next few months are NOT at all the teams you will see this weekend during Week 1 of the preseason.
The biggest thing that we are targeting here are the teams that are looking to play young but inexperienced players, and teams that have heavy competition for second- and third-string spots. In Week 1 of the preseason, we should expect to see very little of the veteran players that are guaranteed to have a major role in the team come next month.
This means that I want to target teams that lack clear options, as it would normally mean that we will see more competition throughout the preseason. Obviously, we should try to listen to coachspeak and determine which teams will give their better players more run, but this is my assumption until we do hear comments.
Washington Redskins (-1) at Cleveland Browns
I like the Redskins here because we have a decent amount of positive news on their usage in this game. We know that Colt McCoy will sit out Thursday’s game due to injury and precaution. This means that we SHOULD see a decent amount of Case Keenum and Dwayne Haskins in this game.
Now, maybe this means that we see a half of Josh Woodrum, but I don’t think that is the most likely outcome. I think that the Redskins have a three-man QB competition, and I think that allowing Haskins and Keenum to play a lot in the preseason will make the decision easier on the coaching staff before Week 1.
The Browns have a really steady depth chart, especially on the offensive end. I think that the Browns are more likely to use this game as a test for guys looking to make the roster. On the other hand, the Redskins should use more second- and third-string players to help out the new QBs on the roster. I think that the Redskins are much more motivated to put out better players in this game, which is the biggest factor in the preseason for me.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+4) at Baltimore Ravens
This is simply a spot where I see no reason that these teams are this far apart on the betting lines. Until we get major news about players playing or not playing. I expect both of these teams to sit most of their key players for this entire game.
Neither of these teams has truly inspiring QB play behind their top option, and that is why I want to stay away from a four-point favorite here. If we ever have a situation where we know one team is going to play a better QB than the other, I understand the line. That is simply not the case here.
I see Lamar Jackson as an injury risk and would be surprised if he played in this game. Even if he did, I would not expect him to play more than one drive that results in a score. With the injury to RGIII, the Ravens don’t have anyone capable of leading an offense at a high level on the roster.
I expect this to look like a sloppy game, just like you would expect if these two matched up in the regular season, but with less talent. The total in this game is just 31.5, meaning that Vegas has the Ravens second-fourth stringers as 25-30 percent better than the Jags?
I don’t see that being the case here. I love the Jaguars +4 in this spot.