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Betting Pre-Season Football, Part II

15 August 2003

From time to time, if an author or writer has some relevant information to share, I'll ask him to write a guest column. This column by Andy Iskoe is the second installment of a two-part column about betting on NFL pre-season games. Iskoe, a noted handicapper, author and speaker about the game of football, addressed in Part I how a great many professional sports bettors in Nevada love wagering on the pre-season because they believe certain coaches exhibit predictable patterns of behavior in August. If you missed Part I of Iskoe's column in the July 22-Aug. 4 issue, read it online at ilovevegas.com. Just click on the Larry Grossman column archives. Here is Part II:

Many NFL coaches make a concerted effort to win their final pre-season game or the one that immediately precedes it. If you can find a coach making such a statement and the opposing team is more interested in evaluating talent or working on specific plays, you may have found an excellent wagering opportunity.

Many coaches have developed pre-season personalities over the years that give insight as to the approaches they take and the significance they place on pre-season games. These insights can often be found within the comments of the coaches themselves or by reviewing publications that highlight pre-season football, including The Gold Sheet that comes out each summer.

Keep in mind that just because a coach says his intention is to win, or that his main goal is to evaluate the running game, or to decide on which players will back up the back-ups, it does not mean that such a team will win or lose that game. It does mean that there are conditions that exist that strongly favor one team winning the game, having more success within the context of what is trying to be achieved.

As with all games there will always be bettors who will wager on emotion, taking a fan's approach about being optimistic about a new season after reading all the pre-season magazines and picking up on the quotes that spew forth optimism for their favorite team. Not everybody bets on the basis of information. So even though the popular side in a game may seem obvious there are always contrary opinions that tend to balance the action. Or, so you would think. In recent seasons there has been an increase in "one way action"-games in which the point spread just goes up and up and up without attracting much action on the opposing team. The lesson here is not to just find out the coach's intentions but to find them out early. Don't wait until 10 minutes before kickoff to get into action. You'll get the worst of the number.

Where can you get such information? Reading newspapers or searching the Internet is a good place to start. The more of an effort you put into finding out this information the greater will be your "edge." Of course, often bits and pieces of information can be gleaned from nightly TV reports on sports recap shows as interest in the upcoming season begins to build.

The best advice is to just not get carried away wagering on these pre-season games. After almost six months of inactivity it is only natural that there will be a desire to get into action. But keep in mind that although you might have edges working for you, the result might not be what you expect. The same footballs that bounce funny in the regular season also bounce funny in the pre-season and often are caused by players who will not be on the roster on opening day. There are always variables that come into play in football games, pre-season or otherwise, that can turn an expected performance into a random result. That's why they call it gambling.

But there's no reason why you can't sit back and enjoy these dress rehearsals on television while having a little "action." Just keep in mind that statistics and other forms of handicapping you will use in the regular season don't apply in August. It's the informed player, not the analyst, who stands a better chance of profiting. Good luck and enjoy those hot August days and nights following your favorite sport.

Andy Iskoe is a veteran of more than a dozen football seasons in Las Vegas and is a noted handicapper, author and speaker. He provides his insights and opinions on games to the public through a weekly column he writes for a Las Vegas newspaper and through appearances on several radio shows during the season. He operates a Web site dedicated to providing information on all sports from a wagering perspective, www.thelogicalapproach.com.

As always… good luck!

Larry Grossman

Larry Grossman is host and producer of Las Vegas' most popular gaming and handicapping radio show, "You Can Bet On It." Since 1989 he has interviewed World Champion poker players that include Amarillo Slim, Puggy Pearson, and Tom McEvoy. Regular guests during the football season include Lem Banker, Mike Lee, Mort Olshan, and Andy Iskoe.

During the 1997 and 1998 season, Grossman hosted a nationally televised show that featured many of the nations' top handicappers.

Larry Grossman is the author of two books, "You Can Bet On It" Volume 1 - Casino Games and Volume 2 - Sports Betting. He is a regular columnist for many gaming publications. Larry has hosted and produced handicapping seminars in Las Vegas. Visit AudioVegas.com to listen to archives of his "You Can Bet On it" radio show.

Larry Grossman Websites:

www.AudioVegas.com

Books by Larry Grossman:

You Can Bet On It! -- Volume 1: Casino Games
Larry Grossman
Larry Grossman is host and producer of Las Vegas' most popular gaming and handicapping radio show, "You Can Bet On It." Since 1989 he has interviewed World Champion poker players that include Amarillo Slim, Puggy Pearson, and Tom McEvoy. Regular guests during the football season include Lem Banker, Mike Lee, Mort Olshan, and Andy Iskoe.

During the 1997 and 1998 season, Grossman hosted a nationally televised show that featured many of the nations' top handicappers.

Larry Grossman is the author of two books, "You Can Bet On It" Volume 1 - Casino Games and Volume 2 - Sports Betting. He is a regular columnist for many gaming publications. Larry has hosted and produced handicapping seminars in Las Vegas. Visit AudioVegas.com to listen to archives of his "You Can Bet On it" radio show.

Larry Grossman Websites:

www.AudioVegas.com

Books by Larry Grossman:

You Can Bet On It! -- Volume 1: Casino Games