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Get in the Game
Editor’s Note: VegasInsider.com expert Paul Bovi opened the preseason campaign with an easy winner and has more selections pending. Click to win!

The preseason schedule is in full swing and while the majority of pro football gamblers will sit on the sidelines until the Sept. 4 battle between the Giants and Saints, other serious players are already wagering – and winning too.

Squares, as unsophisticated bettors are often referred to, are the bookmakers version of Steve Urkel, only with a fat wallet that is ripe for the pickings.

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Known to shy away from football’s version of the grapefruit league, they interpret the practice aspect of the games as a risky wagering proposition.

Astute bettors, or ‘sharps’ as they’re known, understand that the preseason presents distinct advantages over the regular season when it comes to turning a profit, in large part due to the coaches overall attitude to balancing winning versus entering the regular season void of any serious injuries.

There are exceptions to every rule. During the nineties, Vikings head coach Dennis Green was notorious for placing a heavy emphasis on winning, while Super Bowl coaches Marv Levy and Jimmy Johnson were known to ‘mail it in’ during the preseason.

Sharps are able to exploit the coaching dynamics of the preseason to their advantage by understanding the factors that play essential roles in determining the outcome of these contests.

More importantly, sharp bettors study the depth chart, particularly at the quarterback position. Third and fourth-stringers routinely see action and a lot of it too, mainly because most coaches are overly protective of their main signal caller for regular season action.

The Saints enter the preseason with the immobile Mark Brunell backing up QB Drew Brees, followed by former Pittsburgh Panther Tyler Palko and undrafted Montana State product Travis Lulay, who managed a season on the bench with the Seahawks.

Coach Sean Peyton has compiled a mediocre preseason record of 4-5 in his first two seasons as Saints head coach, and it stands to reason that he will not be overly exposing his All Pro signal caller.

Considering Brees has sustained two devastating injuries during meaningless contests, the first a torn Labrum in his throwing shoulder as he dove for a fumble in a the season finale versus Broncos in 2005, and the second a dislocated elbow in the second series of the 2006 Pro Bowl. Figure owner Tom Benson not to do much boogeying this preseason, at least not on the strength of Brees’ performance.

The Browns are another squad that merit special consideration here as head coach Romeo Cornell is carrying only a trio of QBs into the season, his third stringer being journeyman, Ken Dorsey, who serves as understudy to Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn, both of whom promise to wage a spirited battle for the starting call on opening day.

Dorsey’s numbers have been less than stellar since he entered the league in 2001, but due to his experience rates a clear advantage over Erik Ainge, Brett Ratliff, Anthony Wright, and Andre Woodson, third and fourth string quarterbacks for the opposing Jets and Giants teams that the Browns face in the first two weeks of preseason.

In the NFC, the Buccaneers enter the preseason with the monster quartet of Jeff Garcia, Luke McCown, Brian Griese, and Chris Simms, all four who have been starters at one time or another in the league.

Compare that to Dolphin QBs Josh McCown, John Beck, Chad Henne, and the recently signed Quincy Carter as the Bucs visit Miami for their inaugural pre season clash.

Practice makes perfect but it also makes for profit.

Don’t be square. Get in the game.

  
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