NFL Preseason Week 2 best bets: Thursday and Friday night
It's the preseason for everyone. The idea is to get some early reps, don't extend yourself, and don't get hurt. This applies to both players on the field and bettors in the sportsbook. With three weeks of tuneups on the schedule, we'll proceed with extreme caution while we stretch ourselves out. Remember, these games don't count, but the bets definitely do.
A robust start to preseason betting saw us go 6-3 (+3.1 units) in Week 1, and it could have been even better. Our best result from a closing line value standpoint - Chiefs +3.5 (closed -1) - lost, while we had a teaser busted because the Cowboys could muster only 10 points against the Broncos.
There are just four games to work with on Thursday and Friday as we use point spreads, underdog moneylines, totals, and six-point teasers to find value bets.
Best spread bet
Texans (-3) over Rams
This one opened with the Rams favored, and sometimes a point-spread move tells you everything you need to know about a preseason game. Sean McVay has never cared about the scoreboard in these games, even though the Rams sometimes win them. If this was the regular season, there would be a two-touchdown swing on the point spread, but the Texans' status as favorites here indicates Lovie Smith cares about winning.
Davis Mills, Jeff Driskel, and a willing running game with Dameon Pierce and Royce Freeman give Houston a lead, and L.A. doesn't get the same explosiveness from Bryce Perkins that it did late against the Chargers last week.
Underdog moneyline bet
Bears (+160) over Seahawks
What did the Seahawks do to deserve being favored by more than a field goal in the coin-flip games of the preseason? It didn't matter which of their three quarterbacks the Steelers used; they all lit up Seattle's defense. This is a chance for Justin Fields and the Bears' offense to gain the confidence they couldn't have earned in last week's lazy win against the Chiefs.
Either way, we're getting +160 in a game between two equally bad teams, and it's possible Matt Eberflus has more upside to work with this week. This is a buy-low opportunity on Chicago.
Best total bet
Saints/Packers under 40 points
Week 1 of the preseason was an "over" festival, with points coming at a perplexingly high rate. One theory is that an increase in the depth of quality players in the league, offensive style evolution, and rule changes favoring scoring form a combination impervious to mediocre quarterback play.
It may also just be sample-size variance. If that's the case, league-wide oddsmaker adjustments of a touchdown or more from last week to this week are an overreaction.
Maybe Jameis Winston plays one drive and leads the Saints to a touchdown, but Andy Dalton just did that last week; New Orleans never saw the end zone again, scoring six points total after Ian Book took over.
It's doubtful Aaron Rodgers plays this week, which means more Jordan Love and Danny Etling for the Packers. Those two combined for three touchdowns last week, which seems like the production ceiling for them. It appears unlikely that either team cracks 20 points, so this is where we may capitalize on the total overreaction.
Best teaser legs
Patriots +8 / Colts +8
While the totals aren't last-week low, 40.5 points in New England and 39.5 in Indianapolis would still suggest a Stanford Wong teaser up over a touchdown on the Patriots and Colts if this was the regular season. Preseason or not, capturing key numbers in low-scoring matchups is still the name of this particular game.
Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.