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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, August 2, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Most of you who are longtime sports bettors know that “3” is a magic number in the NFL. It’s the most common final victory margin, and therefore the single number that has the most value when you’re trying to figure out how to bet a game.

We’ll talk more about that when the regular season arrives because those of you new to Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping need to know that the number “3” isn’t nearly as important in NFL Preseason action. Here’s why.

*In the regular season, home field advantage is worth three points. When even teams play each other (which is common in a league full of parity), then you’re likely to see the home team win by exactly three points quite a bit. In the Preseason, home field advantage is worth more like 1.5 to 2 points. There are some situations where it’s worth nothing because the head coach of the home team doesn’t care whether he wins the game or not. The laws of math aren’t driving final results to the magic number in the month of August.

*Three’s are a common result in the regular season if the trailing team rallies for a tie to force overtime. Most coaches don’t want to play overtime in August. They want to get the night over with and get everyone back to camp healthy. That means a late rally will see the trailing team go for two points and the immediate win if they score a touchdown. This takes three right out of the picture. One of the two teams is going to win by one point in a nailbiter finish.

*The number of non-efforts is so great in the Preseason that you’re prone to see more one-sided games. Even if those final scores are just 20-6 or 23-10 with limited offensive intensity…the team that falls behind early isn’t obsessed with trying to come back and win. Now, there are of course some head coaches who will be asking for intensity from his backups. And, there are a handful of third-string quarterbacks who can actually move the ball in August. But, in the big picture…fewer rallies means fewer games landing on the magic three.

Is there a magic number in the NFL Preseason. The Dean of Sports Handicapping says NO! You shouldn’t even be worrying about numbers for the most part. I outlined general strategies for you the last time we were together. You should be applying those general strategies to find GREAT situations where one-sided results are expected.

If you think the dog is going to win straight up by a comfortable margin, don’t worry that you’re only getting +1.5 or +2. If you’re analysis is right, the points won’t matter. If your analysis is off by a bit, you may still get a back door cover with a late TD that gets the money regardless of whether or not the two-pointer is converted.

If you think the favorite is going to win handily because your team has PLAYMAKERS and MOTIVATION while the other team is going through the motions, Vegas can’t make a Preseason pointspread high enough to matter. You’re going to win by double digits…and Vegas Preseason lines rarely even scoot past the number seven.

Now…I don’t mean to suggest that you can be reckless with your wagering. You should still be passing almost every game! My point is that you don’t have to worry about key numbers in the Preseason as long as your handicapping is on the money. You don’t have to worry about a “true” value for home field advantage either. When PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS along with THE MOTIVATION FACTOR are on your side, results are going to skew well beyond the value of a half a point here or there.

Or,

*Don’t just take a dog because you’re getting +3 or +3.5. A Preseason underdog has to be a pretty dicey side to begin with to be getting that many points in August.

*Don’t just take a favorite because he line is only -2.5 or -2. There’s no “hidden insurance” for those numbers in the Preseason because favorite wins by exactly a field goal are less common.

Don’t forget that the NFL Preseason begins this Sunday with the Hall of Fame Game. Miami is favored by -2.5 on a neutral field in Canton, Ohio over Dallas. If you’d like some help in that game, I’ll have a selection posted hours before kickoff here at the website. Be sure to check out my season rates online as well, so you can take advantage of early-bird prices.

We’ll see you again early next week for more coursework. The emphasis will definitely be on football from this point forward. But, I might be able to squeeze in some baseball if the pennant races warrant it. Remember that baseball is available seven days a week here at the website if you’re focused on building your bankroll for the Fall.

The doors are always open here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping. See you again next time.

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