The NFL preseason is simply exhibition, and football bettors should treat it that way. Don’t get sucked into the preseason results or which players made a name for themselves during the tune-up tilts. Chances are those guys are already cut or sitting third or fourth on the depth chart. However, there are some sports betting handicapping lessons the NFL preseason slate taught us that should carry over to your Week 1 handicapping and beyond:
Packers are hurting
Losing Jordy Nelson to a season-ending knee injury is crushing to the Packers’ Super Bowl hopes and puts a lot of pressure on fellow WR Randall Cobb to be the No. 1 guy in Green Bay this season. Thing is, Cobb is also hobbled and enters Week 1 with a sore shoulder. He’s planning to play in the season opener but Cheeseheads will be holding their breath each and every time he takes a lick.
Redskins are a mess
Forget the public relations nightmare that is the Redskins franchise, and things still don’t get much better on the field. Or more specifically in the locker room. Washington has all but washed its hands of Robert Griffin III and will start Kirk Cousins in Week 1 of the season. Griffin is in QB purgatory, not good enough to be a pocket passer and not durable enough to be a dual-threat quarterback. The Redskins brass want to see their “Franchise Player” under center but coach Jay Gruden seems to be holding his ground, going with Cousins who is turnover prone and lost his starting job to Colt McCoy last season.
Dallas will miss Murray
The Cowboys put their chips down on their offensive line when it came time to resign RB DeMarco Murray this offseason. Murray had a monster 2014, but a lot of that credit went to the blockers and Dallas didn’t think Murray was worth what he was asking. As a result, Murray bolted to Philadelphia and the Cowboys are left with a trio of so-so rushers who did little to impress in the preseason. Trade rumors are swirling in Big D, with the front office desperately on the hunt for some fresh young legs.
Is Garoppolo ready?
With Tom Brady’s suspension still up in the air and the Super Bowl winning QB likely to at least sit Week 1 against the Steelers, the Patriots have taken a good long look at backup Jimmy Garoppolo this preseason. In his first start, going up against the Panthers’ first teamers, he threw two interceptions. His results were a little tempered as the exhibition slate went on, still struggling with turnovers but orchestrating some late-game comebacks, albeit against opponents’ third and fourth string defenses. The Pats may be able to survive one or two games without Brady but any more than that and Garoppolo is in big trouble.