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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Wednesday, August 17, 2011 at 9:16 AM

The one uncontested fact about betting the National Football League pre-season is the fourth quarter in 99.44% of all these games is the longest and wildest 15 minutes in sports. Nobody, and that includes both coaches and players, has any idea what will happen when third and fourth-string quarterbacks playing behind marginal players with little chance to make a team are on the field.

This is not to suggest the drama of the fourth quarter does not have its rewards, because it is the period that is no respecter of any bettor and offers an equal chance to make winners losers and losers winners. For instance, the fourth quarter being played under the aforementioned circumstances gave me a 10-unit winner Monday night with the Houston Texans (-3) in their 20-16 victory over the New York Jets.

In that one Houston was up 13-3 at the half but went down 16-13 when the Jets kicked a field goal with 4:06 left in the fourth. But, fate rules fourth quarters and the Texans scored a touchdown with 1:06 left to get the win and the cover, 20-16.

The situation will confront and challenge bettors until the last pre-season game is played.

Many bettors consider the potential wildness of play in the fourth, and its accompanying unpredictability, the one single thing that keeps them away from betting the pre-season. Bettors want to be in control, or at least think they are, of as many elements of handicapping as is possible.

They just don't see that steady hand in play after three quarters are down the drain.

Some would say I am nuts for making the NFL pre-season a major profit center each season but I have successfully proved for at least the past decade one can make a fortune on these so-called meaningless games.

It certainly has its added hazards but the money is still there for the taking for those who do the work to find the edges-and I do just that. For the record I went 3-2 in Week One of this pre-season and intend to come out firing Thursday night when play resumes and runs for five consecutive days.

Review Of The First Week

  • Favorites went 12-4 against the number.

  • The"over" prevailed by a 9-7 margin.

  • Dogs covered on opening night by 3-2 margin.

  • Favorites went 10-1 the next three days.

  • Two teams looked terrible in their opening week games. Jacksonville lost 47-12 at New England and Kansas City lost at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 25-0.

  • Kansas City's third-year coach Todd Haley is now 1-8 in the pre-season

How Coaches Fare In Week II of Pre-Season

Last week, we pointed out bettors must take into consideration the pre-season coaching factor and noted some coaches try to win games while others can take it or leave it. But the cumulative pre-season record of coaches can give you some indication of whether they try to win. There were give coaches in action last week who had records of winning in week one, and here is how they fared.

  • Baltimore's John Harbaugh had gone 3-0 in week one of the pre-season and lost at Philadelphia, 13-6, as a 3-point underdog.

  • Denver's John Fox had gone 6-3 in game one of the pre-season when at Carolina and lost at Dallas, 25-24 and got the cover.

  • New England's Bill Belichick had gone 8-4 in game one and buried Jacksonville, 47-12, as a 3-point favorite.

  • Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin had gone 4-1 in game one but lost at Washington, 16-7, as a 2-point underdog.

  • Washington's Mike Shanahan had gone 11-5 in the pre-season at Oakland and Denver and beat the aforementioned Tomlin, 16-7, as a 2-point favorite.

The coaching factor is very much in play in week two, since coaches have established records as to how their teams have performed in the past.

Complete NFL Pre-Season Coaching Records

Team Coach Game II Records
Arizona Ken Whisenhunt 1-3
Atlanta Mike Smith 1-2
Baltimore John Harbaugh 2-1
Buffalo Chan Gailey 0-1
Charlotte Ron Rivera 0-0
Chicago Lovie Smith 5-2
Cincinnati Marvin Lewis 6-2
Cleveland Pat Shurmar 0-0
Dallas Jason Garrett 0-0
Denver John Fox 3-6
Detroit Jim Swartz 1-1
Green Bay Mike McCarthy 4-1
Houston Gary Kubiak 3-2
Indianapolis Jim Caldwell 1-1
Jacksonville Jack Del Rio 4-4
Kansas City Todd Haley 0-2
Miami Tony Sparano 3-0
Minnesota Leslie Frazier 0-0
New England Bill Belichick 5-6
New Orleans Sean Payton 3-2
N.Y. Giants Tom Coughlin 4-3
N. Y. Jets Rex Ryan 1-1
Oakland Hue Jackson 0-0
Philadelphia Andy Reid 5-6
Pittsburgh Mike Tomlin 2-2
San Diego Norv Turner 2-4
Seattle Pete Carroll 0-1
San Francisco Jim Harbaugh 0-0
St. Louis Steve Spagnuolo 1-1
Tampa Bay Raheem Morris 2-0
Tennessee Mike Munchuk 0-0
Washington Mike Shanahan 8-5

Obviously the coaching factor is but one element in handicapping the pre-season but in many cases it can signal the intent, supported by the past, and is not a bad place to begin handicapping each game.

At Least One 25-Unit, Three 10-Unit Plays This Week

This week's NFL schedule kicks off on Thursday night with two games-New England at Tampa Bay and Philadelphia at Pittsburgh (FOX)-and will offer games each night through Monday. I will be releasing another 25-unit Pre-Season Game of the Week and at least three more 10-unit plays (undefeated and 3-0 in these games thus far). I have again put together a tremendous Early Bird Football Package that is priced at just $199, and here is what it includes:

  • The entire NFL pre-season free, including three 50-unit games of the year plays.

  • The entire college football season that includes an average of 3 games each Saturday and many of the mid-week games.

  • The entire NFL season that includes an average of 3 games every Sunday and most of the Monday night and mid-week games

  • The rest of the baseball season right through the World Series in October. For the record those getting free baseball with their Early-Bird Package are 15-4 with my last 19 best bets.

Plus These Bonus Big Game Plays

  • My 100-unit College Kick-Off Blowout Game of the Year Sept. 1-just three weeks away.

  • At least two more 100-unit college winners

  • My 200-unit College Game of the Year

  • My 200-unit NFL Game of the Year

  • At least two 50-unit bonus plays

And just remember, all of this is years for just $199, charged to your major credit card. Sign up and win immediately in both the NFL pre-season and Major League Baseball.

Back to the coaching factor...In the second week of the pre-season...

  • Chicago coach Lovie Smith is 5-2

  • Cincinnati's Marvin Lewis is 6-2

  • Green Bay's Mike McCarthy is 4-1

  • Miami's Tony Sparano is 3-0

  • Tampa Bay's Raheem Morris is 2-0

That is all for today, folks. I will be right back here tomorrow afternoon and we're going to talk about college football, which begins in 16 days. We have a lot to talk about, so bring your pens, pencils and paper.

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