The best way to gauge football teams going forward is to watch them play. When professional football bettors watch games, they don’t look at specific plays so much overall tendencies to give them an edge on whether to back them or fade them going forward.
This past Sunday night, the Minnesota Vikings beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 14-3 in the Hall of Fame Game to open the 2015 NFL Preseason. Both teams left points on the board, with the Steelers missing a sure touchdown on fourth-and-goal and the Vikings passing on an easy field goal attempt in the first quarter, plus missing a makeable field goal later on.
But in a general sense, you could see by watching the game that Minnesota was putting a heavier emphasis on the victory than Pittsburgh was.
Often times NFL teams won’t go far into their playbook, as they want to keep their more complicated plays off of film and save those plays and sets for the regular season. Minnesota threw that game plan out the window, especially on the defensive side of the ball and pressured Pittsburgh with a number of blitzes from all over the field. That is a perfect example of what professional NFL bettors want to see – an in-game tactic that isn’t often used.
Specific plays can also be helpful going forward. Minnesota had a touchdown set up by a long punt return – not something they will be able to rely on every game they play. And the Vikings were also beat a number of times in the secondary – sometimes being bailed out by Landry Jones unable to put the ball where it should have been. It’s not a surprise that Pittsburgh struggled early given the amount of starters the Steelers didn’t put on the field, but seeing Jones struggle in the second half against backups is certainly telling.
These plays can be used to judge Minnesota’s secondary as being susceptible to competent passing offenses going forward in the preseason, and looking to fade Pittsburgh if Jones is going to get the bulk of the playing time again.
It’s too hard to judge teams based on total rushing and passing offensive stats in the preseason as the quality of players on the field typically change from game-to-game. But by watching the games we can find matchup advantages and apply them in theory in the games upcoming.
Remember, that most online sportsbook don’t often have favorites of more than 3 points in the NFL Preseason, and picking spots where a line is not indicative of how the teams truly matchup can lead to a number of great wagering opportunities.
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