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This will be a totally different preseason for every NFL head coach, both old and new alike. Usually head coaches will come into camp after a ton of organized team activities (OTA) and team meetings under their belt, and having a good idea which players will fill the majority of his 53-man roster.
NOT THIS SEASON!!!
With only around 10 days to prepare for their first preseason game the majority of the coaches I have heard from are saying "they are not getting a good feeling putting their top players on the field at all in this short a period of time to prepare.”
After hearing those words, it appears that the smart move is to take a step back and see how these teams approach their opening preseason games and handicap accordingly.
It’s extremely important this season to gather as much information as possible and listen to every sound byte or video clip that the head coaches make available. With those alone, you’re assured to get a huge edge over the oddsmakers and betting public.
I will be monitoring this closely and will release anything I come across that gives us a winning edge.
However I also feel once the preseason progresses things may return to some sort of familiarity for the teams and coaches.
Despite the uncertainty expected over the next four weeks, I have listed my top 10 Preseason Trends to keep an eye out for this year’s slate.
Top 10 Preseason Trends and Analysis
1) Kansas City Chiefs - Kansas City has been one of the best fade teams in the preseason going an incredible 2-15 against the spread over the past four years. I definitely look for more of the same this year especially in these early games after reading this quote from head coach Todd Haley. He said, "I don’t know if we want to shoot all our guns in the first team talk because we don’t have everybody.” He added about his veterans, “It was a skeleton crew, it didn’t feel like training camp.”
2) Indianapolis Colts - Indianapolis never cared about winning in the preseason with Tony Dungy as head coach. Well things have sure continued with Jim Caldwell leading the troops, as the Colts have gone 5-12 against the spread over the past four seasons while losing all of their preseason openers in this span. Plus throw in the fact that with Manning recovering from his second neck surgery, the Colts offense this preseason will be lead by backup Curtis Painter. A very scary thought!
3) Pittsburgh Steelers - This is one of my strongest preseason trends to watch for as the Steelers have seen the ‘under’ go an amazing 17-4 over the past five years in the preseason. With all the uncertainty coming into this year’s preseason I definitely can see this trend continuing.
4) Atlanta Falcons - One of my favorite preseason plays goes here on the Falcons as in their “Dress Rehearsal” game. The last seven years the Falcons have gone a perfect 7-0 outscoring their opposition 164-75. This year’s “Dress Rehearsal” game for the Falcons will be on Aug. 27 when they play Pittsburgh on the road.
5) Philadelphia Eagles - Another one of my favorite preseason plays is on the Eagles as Andy Reid doesn’t go all out in the first preseason game of the year going a perfect 0-7 in their opener not winning their first preseason game since 2003. The Eagles open up this year against Baltimore at home on Aug. 11.
6) Baltimore Ravens - In the past six preseason’s, the Ravens have played some really low-scoring games with the ‘under’ going a money making 17-6. This trend has continued with new head coach John Harbaugh playing it close to the vest as the Ravens have watched the under go 9-3 in his first three years has head coach.
7) Green Bay Packers - Under head coach Mike McCarthy a solid trend has developed that has seen the Packers incorporate a wide-open game plan over the past five years. During this stretch, the ‘over’ has posted an impressive 15-5 record in the preseason. After winning the Super Bowl, I can definitely see this trend playing out again this year as the Green Bay's intensity level can't be that high coming into camp.
8) Chicago/Cleveland - One scenario I always look forward to in the preseason is when the Bears and Browns matchup in their final preseason game. This has occurred the past eight years with the ‘under’ going an amazing 7-1. Both organizations just want to get through this game and run, run, and run the ball all game long. This year’s game will take place on Thursday Sept. 1 in Chicago.
9) San Diego Chargers - This will be Norv Turner’s fifth year as head coach of the Chargers. In Turner’s last head coaching job with the Raiders back in 2004, a solid trend can be taken away from it that can give us an edge for the Chargers’ preseason games. First of all, in both of his dress rehearsal games in Oakland the Raiders went 0-2 against the spread, this trend has continued as Turner has not covered his "Dress Rehearsal" game the first four years in San Diego, making him now a perfect 0-6 ATS. This year’s dress rehearsal game for the Chargers will be at Arizona on Saturday Aug. 27.
10) Jacksonville Jaguars - While it may look like all these early preseason games may just be low-scoring and nothing more than scrimmages. It appears that we might have a huge edge here with Jacksonville. Head coach Jack Del Rio has emphasized offense in his opening preseason game, with the Jaguars seeing the ‘over’ go 5-0 in their openers since 2006. This year, Jacksonville pays a visit to New England on Thursday Aug. 11 to start off the preseason.